Conference to Explore Nutritional Implications of Quality Ingredients through Panel Discussions, Tastings, Field Trip

New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, in partnership with the James Beard Foundation, will present Mediterranean Diet: Food Culture, Nutrition, and the Question of Quality, a two-day conference to be held at NYU’s Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò and the James Beard House on Friday, October 19, and Saturday, October 20, 2007.

Food enthusiasts, academics, nutritionists, and food industry professionals will join industry leaders in addressing fundamental questions about the Mediterranean Diet as a nutritional ideology, marketing tool, cultural marker, and gastronomic paradigm. The conference will include a series of panel discussions, product tastings, field trips, and a dinner at the historic James Beard House in Greenwich Village prepared by Giordano Monni of Buca dell’Orafo restaurant in Florence, Italy.

“When the public thinks Mediterranean Diet, they think wine, olive oil, pasta,” says Lisa Sasson, associate professor of nutrition at NYU Steinhardt’s Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health. “The term ‘Mediterranean Diet’ has been the focus of great interest and research in both the medical and nutrition community, with purported benefits ranging from reduced incidence of heart disease to decreased risk of cancer. This conference will focus on foods rather than nutrients, as well as the larger context of the diet as a lifestyle.”

“Over the last few years the Mediterranean Diet has captured the American imagination as both an approach to nutrition and a fantasy lifestyle,” says Mitchell Davis, vice president of the James Beard Foundation and co-director of the conference. “When we think Mediterranean, we think Italy, but we don’t always think about the reality of what’s happening there. By investigating trends in Italian nutrition and food culture, by learning how to recognize and appreciate quality ingredients, and by understanding the cultural mechanisms behind the choices we make about what we eat, we believe we can improve the quality, healthfulness, and deliciousness of our own diet.”

Scheduled participants include: Marion Nestle, author of What to Eat; Lidia Bastianich of Felidia Ristorante, author of several cookbooks and television host; Dr. Vincenzo Bacci of Umberto I University Hospital in Rome; Ian D’Agata of the International Wine Academy of Rome; Dr. Ernesto Illy, founder of illy caffè; Gianluigi Zenti of the Academia Barilla in Parma; and other food, wine, and nutrition experts from Italy and the United States. Product tastings will be conducted by Louie DiPalo of DiPalo’s in Manhattan’s Little Italy. Cooking demonstrations will be led by instructors from Apicius, The Culinary Institute of Florence, and Anthony Mangieri of Una Pizza Napoletana in the East Village.

The registration fee of $200 for students, $250 for James Beard Foundation members and NYU faculty and staff, and $295 for the general public includes a day of panel discussions, a dinner at the James Beard House, and a day of tastings, workshops, and field trip.

Visit, or call 212.992.9380 to register.

About the James Beard Foundation
Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, the James Beard Foundation is dedicated to celebrating, preserving, and nurturing America’s culinary heritage and diversity in order to elevate the appreciation of our culinary excellence. A cookbook author and teacher with an encyclopedic knowledge about food, James Beard, who died in 1985, was a champion of American cuisine. He helped educate and mentor generations of professional chefs and food enthusiasts. Today, the Beard Foundation continues in the same spirit by administering a number of diverse programs that include educational initiatives, food industry awards, scholarships to culinary schools, and publications, and by maintaining the historic James Beard House in New York City’s Greenwich Village as a “performance space” for visiting chefs. For more information, please visit

About the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development
Founded in 1890 as the School of Pedagogy, the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at New York University today offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate programs to nearly 7,000 students. Faculty and programs in NYU Steinhardt are organized into 11 academic departments in the areas of education and applied psychology, the arts, communications, and health. Throughout its remarkable evolution, Steinhardt has maintained a singular focus: to research and serve the pressing needs of children, families, schools, and communities in an increasingly complex and interconnected world.

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