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Thread: What Actually Goes On at Olive Garden's 'Culinary Institute' in Tuscany?

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    Elite Member celeb_2006's Avatar
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    Default What Actually Goes On at Olive Garden's 'Culinary Institute' in Tuscany?

    What Actually Goes On at Olive Garden's 'Culinary Institute' in Tuscany? - Yahoo! News

    It's not a good week to be Olive Garden. First, a parent spoke out about her child accidentally being served sangria. Now, the Internet is buzzing about the restaurant's famed Tuscan cooking school.

    Olive Garden, the Italian food chain, claims to have a Culinary Institute of Tuscany, located in a charming 11th century hamlet of Riserva di Fizzano, in the world-class foodie area of Chianti, Tuscany.

    An anonymous poster on Reddit claims that she has been a manager for the popular Italian restaurant chain, and that the "cooking school" where chefs allegedly go to learn the secrets of of mastering Italian food isn't quite as advertised.

    She writes that Olive Garden does not own the place and that, when she went there in 2007, they just booked the whole rustic hotel for the Olive Garden management and chefs. The visitors "could use the restaurant (closed to the public-again off season) as a classroom for maybe an hour here or there and talk about spices or fresh produce for a minute before going sightseeing all day," she wrote. "The only time we saw the 'chef" was when she made a bolognese sauce while taking pictures with each of us to send to our local newspapers."

    NewsFeed took the trouble to fact check the claims. Yes, there is a a beautifully restored rustic farmhouse - a common occurrence in a region that lives off high end gourmet tourism - located in an 11th century hamlet. There's a restaurant, but there's no school, per se.

    A spokesperson for the hotel confirmed that there's an agreement in place between them and Olive Garden. Olive Garden sends about a dozen people each week in the off-season between November and March. Their chef spends some time with them in the kitchen, but there's no school and the restaurant does not own anything there. The house and the restaurant belong, in fact, to a local wine label.

    Perhaps the institute isn't an intense cooking academy. But even Olive Garden's web site points out that the managers who travel to the institute take time to visit a winery and a fresh food market, as well as partake in some delicious Italian eats. And a free trip to Italy is certainly a great incentive program for Olive Garden managers, who we're sure pick up some tips on authentic Italian ambiance while they relax in Italy.

    NewsFeed can't really take one side or another, but honestly: If you thought unlimited soup, salad and breadsticks was authentic Italian cuisine, then maybe it's time to step out of your culinary comfort zone. (Though those breadsticks are delicious.)

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    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    are there people out there who actually think olive garden is italian food?
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    Elite Member sprynkles's Avatar
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    I figure the only thing you have to know is how to operate a microwave oven and make salad. I love the soup salad bread stick lunch. Mmmm.

    "A massive penis means never having to say you're sorry". Mo

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    Elite Member NoNoRehab's Avatar
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    I'm impressed that they actually send their people to place in Italy that looks like the farmhouse in the ads! The fact that that the chefs and managers spend a bunch of time sightseeing while there really does not bother me. I just assumed the whole thing was a crock: that it's a real place and Olive Garden actually sends its people there and they get some lessons in wine and cooking, no matter how rudimentary, is surprising to me.

    And yes, Olive Garden salad is one of my favorite things ever.
    "Don't trust nobody, and 'nobody' meaning Jay Leno in particular." -Chris Rock

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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    Hey-a free trip to Italy??
    I didn't start out to collect diamonds, but somehow they just kept piling up.-Mae West

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    Elite Member Brookie's Avatar
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    ^ Yeah, no shit! Where do I sign?
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    Elite Member Mel1973's Avatar
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    yeah, quit your bitchin', ya fucking crybaby!

    And Olive Garden is to Italian food what Taco Bell is to Mexican food.
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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    And Olive Garden is to Italian food what Taco Bell is to Mexican food.
    There's no rustic farmhouse in Mexico where Taco Bell chefs learn how to pull pre-mixed items out of a freezer, microwave them, and then haphazardly drizzle them onto pre-packaged tortillas?

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    Elite Member hustle4alivin's Avatar
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    What did people expect from a restaurant that was developed via test marketing by General Mills and started in Orlando?

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    Elite Member LynnieD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sputnik View Post
    are there people out there who actually think olive garden is italian food?
    Kendra Wilkinson. Points if you don't know her off the top of your head (lucky actually). She was one of Hugh Hefners former tricks and is now on DWTS. She is as dumb as my dining room table and publically declared that she LOVED The Olive Garden. If I remember correctly, the restaurant wasn't exactly thrilled by the endorsement, seeing as she is a complete dipshit.

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    Elite Member Lily Bleu's Avatar
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    I have never eaten at The Olive Garden, I hear the food is not very good.

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    Elite Member VenusInFauxFurs's Avatar
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    I like the salad.
    When your daughter plays "House," she pretends to be an annoying doctor with a pill-addiction and a limp.

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    Elite Member Lobelia's Avatar
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    Ditto on the salad/breadstick thing, it's sooo good. I like Olive Garden, whatever it classified, but I always get one of two things & don't know about the rest of the menu. The "institute" thing always looked hokey to me because chain restaurants all prepare everything the same way anyway, so why send all these people to Italy? It's not like they're going to be in their restaurant kitchens experimenting and changing up the recipes.
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