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Be a Chef for a Day = National Children's Culinary Arts Festival


PRESS CONTACT: Monica Lapenta, 410-547-9934

[email protected]

Italian Cultural Center of Maryland Announces Be a Chef for a Day

National Children’s Culinary Arts Festival 3

on October 29th 2017.

Baltimore, MD: Italian Cultural Center of Maryland presents Be a Chef for a Day, the National Children’s Culinary Arts Festival.

Matt and Sphen will turn Baltimore into an open-air kitchen!

Making pasta, turning a bunch of vegetables into a wonderful sauce, making pizza or a super cake and learning from real chefs their secrets-in-the-kitchen!

Recipes from all over the world are waiting for you.

So, what are you waiting for? With an apron and a chef’s hat, Matt and Sphen will turn you into a super-chef!

Oh... don’t forget to bring your family (your dog can come too, we will have a special area just for him!)

Date: Sunday, October 29, 2017, 10:30am – 5:45pm

Location: AMERICAN LEGION Post 22 (125 York Rd – Baltimore, MD 21204)

To participate you must register online. Only visitor tickets can be purchased at the event. All other tickets must be pre-purchased.


• Each session: $15

• Accompanying adult: $5

• (no more than 2 adults are admitted with one child)

• Visitors: $5 donation.

Only 25 children per sessions. All minors must be accompanied by a parent or an adult.

A Pasta Making Station will be available for the entire festival thanks to Marcato.


These days having quality family time can be difficult due to work, school, sports, and busy schedules. While eating out can save time in the short term, the long term effects may not be the healthiest option for your family.

Fast food is usually high in salt, sugar and unhealthy fats and may lead to one of the greatest epidemics among adolescents – childhood obesity.

It has been proven that learning habits developed during childhood impact the youngster throughout life.

At Be a Chef for a Day, we believe in inspiring children to explore the world of food in a healthy way through the art of cooking.

Learning to cook, allows children to discover foods that contribute to their health, to make healthy food choices, and to experience the joy and creativity of cooking.

The benefit of knowing the origin of each ingredient as well as how each meal is prepared provides an awesome learning experience that will last a lifetime.

Are the idyllic memories of our grandmothers’ kitchen art? Well the answer is simple. YES! Art is simply something that deeply moves you, touches your emotions and stimulates the senses. This is exactly what culinary arts do. And the Italian Culinary Arts specifically have so much to offer all five of our senses.


Hands-on learning – this is the basis for BACFAD, which is the acronym for Be A Chef For A Day.

This is what we do: we use our Italian culinary history and art and deliciousness to teach children the skills of cooking and confidence. Our approach is unique in that it emphasizes cooking in the Italian style.

Yet once we have performed our culinary magic and cooked our many “piatti”, it is the children who we consider our greatest creation. We welcome them. We cook with them. We joke and laugh with them. But most importantly, we LISTEN to them. We listen to them while taking care of one of their most basic needs - access to food. And they, in turn, feel heard. We know that the overall goal of the BACFAD program – to provide and promote access to food to all the children of Maryland – is very ambitious.

We are well aware of the obstacles and difficulties of the deeper socio-economic issues at play in industrialized cities like Baltimore. We know that we cannot ‘fix’ the world. But we refuse to turn our backs on this issue. We will use our skills, our resources, and our kitchen to be a part of the solution. We are here to make a difference. We are here to use our Italian heritage for the community at large. Because, after all, we are more than just spaghetti and meatballs.

What are you waiting for? Beat Hunger! Cook with us!


Matt ‘s name is the short version of the Italian word Matterello, in English: rolling pin.

Sphen is the ancient Greek word for the English word spoon.

Matt&Sphen, created by award winning children’s book author Monica E. Lapenta and illustrated marvelously by the Italian- Venezuelan artist Valeria Molinari, are 8 and 12 years old. Born and raised in Baltimore, they love to cook and they dream of the day they can open their own Japanese-Italian restaurant.

Italian Cultural Center of Maryland

The Italian Cultural Center of Maryland incorporates two Italian cultural associations very active in Maryland: ItalCultura founded by Hon. Francesco Legaluppi in 1988 and Circolo Culturale Italiano founded in 1955 by Professor Regina Soria, Dr. Raffaele Canevaro and Mrs Helen Knipp.

Professor Soria moved to the U.S. in 1940 and joined the Notre Dame college faculty in 1942, teaching Italian. A 1979 article in The Sun described her as a "a sturdy woman with a big smile, a living room populated principally with books and overstuffed furniture, a dedication to Italy and Italian culture, and a husky voice that gets a lot of exercise."

Prof. Soria was the first to point out what Italians have done in Baltimore when she organized in 1979, "The Marble Door," a conference about the influence of Italians in early Baltimore. In it, she discussed Enrico Causici, sculptor of the George Washington statue atop Baltimore's monument to the first president in Mount Vernon Place. She said she wanted the lectures to offset the negative image of Italians brought by The Godfather novel and films.

Every day the Italian Cultural Center and its volunteers work to continue Prof. Soria’ s dream pointing out what Italians are doing here in Maryland. A memento of Professor Soria, the Center established THE REGINA LEVI BIANCHINI SORIA AWARD that recognizes excellence in Philanthropy.

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