Immaculata De Vivo | Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical SchoolOctober 27, 2016
Dino Borri | EatalyOctober 27, 2016
There are several reasons why chef Gino Campagna is the authority when it comes to the issue of food and children.
Born in Italy, Gino is a native of Parma, in a region that Forbes magazine describes as “Italy’s Greatest Gastronomic Treasure”.
Parma is where the famous cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano, is made, and ditto for everyone’s favorite deluxe ham, Prosciutto di Parma. It is also home to two of Europe’s largest food producers, agri-giant Parmalat and Barilla, the pasta and sauce king. Every two years CIBUS, the largest food convention in Europe takes place in this wonderful city and Parma is the official capital of food in the European market.
Growing up in Parma, Gino’s food IQ was raised by the finest ingredients and refined by the rich local culinary traditions.
Chef Gino’s mom was not only a wonderful home cook who taught Gino the basics of Italian cooking but she was also the chef at the nursery school Gino attended as a child and where he also worked after he received his teaching degree for early education at the Istituto Magistrale San Vitale in Parma.
Cooking for an Italian school is like cooking for the finest restaurant, as Italians pride themselves in making sure that their children receive ONLY the best when it comes to food. It’s easy to see why fighting for better cafeteria food in the USA, thanks to Gino’s mom, is in his DNA.
As he was working as an educator in Italy for more than 10 years, Gino still found time to work in local Cafes and became the to-go guy for dinner parties when he moved for 2 years to London while working for the International Coffee organization.
In the mid-nineties, as Gino arrived in Los Angeles, a city he now calls home, he immediately noticed that American children lacked the sophistication of their Italian counterparts when it came to food. At that time, Americans seemed content to feed kids a steady diet of hamburgers, chicken nuggets, pizza and grilled cheese sandwiches.
Gino started teaching cooking classes for children at Creative Space Hollywood and Storyopolis in Beverly Hills. Both places were very popular in the entertainment community, so it’s no surprise that when Gino produced a pilot for a cooking show for children it immediately was picked up by the Disney Channel. Gino’s Kitchen, a series of interstitials aimed at teaching kids a creative and engaging attitude towards food (an attitude that is Chef Gino’s trademark style) aired on Disney channel for a year and became a revolutionary show way ahead of its time.
From that moment Chef Gino’s career started to grow on two parallel tracks:
In a time where celebrity chefs, stay-at-home parents, failed caterers all jumped on the bandwagon of kids and food, Chef Gino is proud of being first and foremost a teacher with a long successful career in early education.
His method is original and effective, the opposite of a Laboratory-based method, Chef Gino’s method is based on the creation of enthusiasm and engagements as Chef Gino knows very well the lessons kids learn best are the ones taught through fun and play.
Express Yourself, Long Beach Blues Festival, LA Kings Camp, Ciclavia LA, Taste of Venice, The Arc Desert Italian Festival and moreTV/Web/ mixed Media work.
- Co-Founder of Piccolo Chef Foundation a nonprofit dedicated to teaching children healthy eating habits
- Master Chef at Piccolo Chef Culinary School for Children in charge of organizing and hosting cooking parties, classes and events (since 2009)
- Event organizer for Whole Foods Markets in Venice, West Los Angeles and Playa Vista (since 2011)
- “Make Your Lunch” event organizer at Grant Elementary School in Santa Monica (since 2011)
- Culinary Instructor for Michelle Obama’s program Chef Moves to School
- Culinary Instructor for the Garden School Foundation (since 2009)
- Culinary Instructor for Authentically Eatalian. A program aimed to raise children’s food IQ in schools
- Host and culinary instructor for a multitude of live events: Abbott Kinney festivals, Doofapalooza food festival in San Francisco, Westfield mall holidays cooking classes for children, PS Arts
Chef Gino’s bigger-than-life personality makes him the perfect face for all food related media content.
After his show on Disney, Gino was a
- Regular Guest at “la Prova del Cuoco” Italy’s top rated morning cooking show
- Content developer for RAI SAT Ragazzi, an Italian network devoted to kids’ programming
- Creator of a promotional TV food -related quiz for Canale 5 (Italy) titled: Squiz (2010)
- Director of Development for Simple Srl., an Italian company specializing in television
Chef Gino created and hosted 50 episodes of JUNIOR CHEF for the upcoming international channel JUNIOR TV.
- Producer, writer, director, editor of Let’s Cook with Gino (web episodes)
- Host of Kitchen Kids a cooking show for children on AOL’s Kitchendaily.com (also writer)
- Regular host on NBC.com’s Garden Party a web show hosted by Jenny Garth
- Blogger for Rachaelray.com and the Huffington post
- Facebook organizer for Jamie Oliver’s Food revolution, in charge of organizing events Involving chefs in Southern California
- Special Guest on VH1 Basketball wives
- Spokesperson for several Got Milk? Media campaigns as Live TV guest on dozens of local English and Spanish TV stations
- Consultant for Barilla and Ferrero (both large Italian food companies) to help in developing products and new marketing strategies (2004-2010)
Chef Gino is also proud to have participated at the reality show “Down But Not Under” for A&E Network, about young adults effected by Down Syndrome.