Miami, March 24, 2015 – World-renowned chef Lidia Bastianich, recipient of the Food for Life Award and a key to the City of Miami, was among the renowned celebrity chefs, restaurateurs, dignitaries, authors, and food experts who participated in “America and the Old World: Food, Health and Culture,” the official pre-launch conference in celebration of the World’s Fair, Expo Milano 2015. The Expo’s theme is “Feeding the Planet: Energy for Life.”
Shutts & Bowen Partner Arthur J. Furia chaired the all-day March 12 conference and luncheon at the Miami Dade College (MDC) Wolfson Campus in downtown Miami. The event, of which Shutts & Bowen was a sponsor, included panels and discussions about food ranging from feeding the Earth in a sustainable way to discoveries in health and nutrition.
“So many ties connect our community to Italy, and I could not think of a better location to launch the upcoming Expo,” said Mr. Furia, who is also an MDC Foundation board member and general counsel and board member of the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF), a conference sponsor. “Hosting Lidia in receiving her award was particularly special. I know the students at MDC will treasure this experience a long time. This event was a terrific success, thanks to all our partners, sponsors, volunteers and the college team.”
The awards and luncheon took place at the National Historic Landmark Freedom Tower, the 1925 Miami News building that became a center for Cubans fleeing communism in the early 1960s.
Corporation for Public Broadcasting President and CEO Patricia de Stacy Harrison, who is also an NIAF board member, presented the Food for Life award.
Ms. Bastianich, accepting the award, thanked MDC Wolfson Campus President Jose A. Vicente and Mr. Furia, and spoke of her years in a refugee camp after her Italian family fled communist Yugoslavia, which had annexed her Istrian birthplace after World War II.
“It is fitting that today, we are celebrating the correlation between America and Italy in talking about feeding the planet,” she said. “When I was a little girl, I was in the line with my little plate, waiting to eat. So I really understand the need to respect food, to divide it evenly, and to be sure there will be enough for all of us.”
She also spoke of her mission to educate the world through her books and PBS program.
“It’s about the future, it’s about children, education, getting the young to understand how food grows, and how to nurture themselves. And also, if they understand that, they will be in synch with the world and protecting our world. That has to remain if we are going to live in it.”
Mr. Furia recalled growing up in his Italian-American household in eastern Pennsylvania. He has parlayed that background into a thriving career in international corporate law, with close personal and business bonds with Italy. He is equally passionate about the conference’s mission of finding sustainable ways to feed the planet.
Said Mr. Furia: “I look back on my Italian American heritage with great pride. Food is our life.”
Special guests at the conference included Scott Conant, celebrity chef, restaurateur, and author; Dorothy Cann Hamilton, founder and CEO of the International Culinary Center and President of the U.S. Expo Milano Pavilion; Mitchell Davis, executive vice president of the James Beard Foundation;Richard Ingraham, CEO of Chef RLI and private chef to Miami Heat’s Dwayne Wade; Maricel Presilla, chef, culinary historian and author of Gran Cocina Latina: The Food of Latin America; Tony May, renowned Italian restaurateur and author of Italian Cuisine: Basic Cooking Techniques; Alessandro Mancini, ticketing and tourism director for Expo Milano 2015; Paolo Cuccia, president/CEO of the Gambero Rosso Foundation; Eugenio Magnani, director of the Italian National Tourist Board; Dr. Sergio Peccorelli, president of theItalian Pharmaceutical Association; and Philip T. Reeker, U.S. Consul General in Milan.
About Expo Milano
Expo Milano 2015 will take place May 1-Oct. 31 in Milan, Italy, offering a plethora of events and exhibitions around the theme “Feeding the Planet: Energy for Life.” Expo Milan 2015 is a non-commercial Universal Exposition with some unique and innovative features. The Expo will host more than 130 countries, including the USA Pavilion, themed “American Food 2.0.” Running for 184 days, this giant exhibition site, covering one million square meters, is expected to welcome more than 20 million visitors. To learn more, visit www.expo2015.org.
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