Learn to cook real Italian from a Food Network star coming to MN

He's an Iron Chef America judge and Italian culinary expert.

If you've ever wanted to learn how to cook from a professional chef, here's your chance.

Food Network star Mario Rizzotti is bringing his "4 the Love of Italian Food" tour to Minnesota this July. The Iron Chef America judge and Italian culinary expert is touring the country on a mission teach Americans how to eat healthy through authentic, Italian cuisine.

Healthy? Yes, apparently real Italian cuisine is more than carbs and cheese.

"Right now, Americans are in a love affair with Italian food which is great. I don't have to persuade them to embrace Italian cuisine, I just have to teach them how to select the right products for better health, and remind them to consume their authentic extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) every day," Rizzotti said in a news release.

The tour visits a different state every month, and within each state, tours through "4 cities, 4 restaurants, in 4 days." So far, there are two events scheduled for his stay in Minnesota.

Cooking classes

Rizzotti will give cooking demonstrations at Cook's Pantry in Rochester on Saturday, July 8. He'll be whipping up three Italian meals: homemade pasta with tomato sauce and summer vegetables, Italian stuffed tomatoes, and grilled pork chops with olive oil mashed potatoes.

It's $75 per person for each class, or you can attend all three for $200. For $20 more, you can go rub shoulders with the chefs at the meet-and-greet, where the Prosecco will be flowing.

To reserve a seat, call 507-258-4210.

Four-course Italian dinner

If you'd rather just stuff your face, Rizzotti's second stop in Mankato will be more your style. He's hosting a three hour long Italian dinner event at Axel's Bonfire on Wednesday, July 12 at 6 p.m.

While diners indulge in a four-course meal complete with wine pairings, Rizzotti will provide the entertainment, telling stories of growing up in Italy and teaching guests about basic Italian ingredients.

He'll also give a professional olive oil and balsamic tasting, to teach guests how to identify the good stuff.

"In some cases, Americas are getting completely ripped off. They think the extra virgin olive oil they use is good for them, where in reality, a large percentage of EVOO sold in the U.S. in not really extra virgin and may not even be made from olives," Rizzotti said in the release.

The dinner is $100 per guest – make a reservation by calling Bonfire 507-625-8443.

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