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Chef Luigi Diotaiuti Of DC's Al Tiramisu 'Runs His Talk''Teaching Children, Adults Joys Of Authentic Italian Cooking, Healthy Eating While Preparing For 11th Full Marathon

WASHINGTON, June 14, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- You've heard of people who "walk their talk" by practicing what they preach.   Chef/owner Luigi Diotaiuti of Al Tiramisu, the most authentic Italian restaurant in the nation's capital, "runs his talk." The marathon-running chef is preparing for his 11th full marathon, the off-road Australian Outback Marathon in July, while running a restaurant that's open seven days a week plus teaching children and adults the joys of authentic Italian cooking and healthy eating.

Like a poster child for First Lady Michelle Obama's healthy eating and exercise "Let's Move" campaign, Diotaiuti jogs regularly and five years ago added running marathons—10 full marathons and 15 half marathons to date. It's his secret to remaining fit and trim while surrounded by pasta and decadent desserts daily. As part of his goal to run marathons on every continent, he ran a marathon in China, is heading to Australia this summer, and then Africa. And, no surprise, he plans to run a marathon in his beloved Italy.

Al Tiramisu's regional Italian cooking classes for adults and new cooking classes for elementary school children are part of the restaurant's year-long celebration of Italy's 150th and its 15th anniversaries. The celebration culminates later in the year with a multicourse 15th anniversary feast with wine pairings.

To give a "flavor" of each region, cooking classes go well beyond food. Chef Luigi delves into the history, culture, people, food, and wine of each region before stepping into the kitchen and preparing three courses. In the dining room, each course is paired with three wines, with toasts to the many chefs. "It's like taking a trip throughout Italy without the cost of going abroad," smiles Chef Luigi, who is known for his good cheer and authentic Italian cooking and wine mastery.  

Moving from south to north, Sicily ( photos of food and blog) and Sardinia have been featured. Upcoming June 25: Puglia, the "heel of Italy's boot," noted for olive oil production and the famed Orecchiette pasta from durum wheat, $75 all inclusive. Reservations: 202-467-4466. By popular demand, the July 16 class will feature Italian dessert wines.

In his engaging, entertaining style, Chef Luigi treats third to fifth graders from nearby Hyde-Addison Elementary School's new Cooking Club as he does adults in his cooking classes—first hand washing, then donning Al Tiramisu-branded aprons with the infamous jester, reviewing recipes, discussing food/ingredients, and then hands-on cooking experience.

They cooked gnocchi (recipe and video) alongside Chef Luigi who closed Al Tiramisu for lunch to practice what he preaches:  teaching the importance of preparing good food using healthy, fresh ingredients—plus adding movement for health.  And then, at the table, they toasted the many chefs with lemonade.

Creating an Italian cooking week focus at the school for the 150th anniversary of Italy, Diotaiuti then went to the school cafeteria kitchen and taught the students how to make bruschetta and profiteroles. The teacher, cooking club students, and chef marched to each classroom to share the delicacies. The cooking club was the envy of the school.

Other recent and upcoming events: Chef Luigi recently demonstrated making tiramisu on NBC4. He will be speaking at a panel at the Food Show in July. And he has been invited as a guest chef at the famed Rancho La Puerta, the world's first eco-resort. The "Ranch" has a million-dollar cooking school and culinary center, La Cocina Que Canta ("The Kitchen That Sings") with organic vegetable and fruit gardens outside its doors.

Dining at Al Tiramisu where she issued the guest chef invitation, founder and owner of Rancho La Puerta Deborah Szekely described her tagliarini with black truffles as "the single best pasta dish I have had anywhere." She also inscribed that to him in her cookbook, "Cooking with the Seasons at Rancho La Puerta."

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