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Celebrity Chef Rossella Rago Returns to Festa Italiana; Festival Offers New Food Items and Popular Food Contests Return – Mangia!

June 28, 2017 | Uncategorized

Cannoli Eating Contest and Kids Pizza Making Competition Take Place July 22



MILWAUKEE – June 28, 2017 – Festa Italiana, presented by Calypso Lemonades, today announced  Celebrity Chef Rossella Rago will return for the festival’s 40th anniversary. Rago is known for hosting popular web cooking show “Cooking with Nonna.”  Other celebrity chefs headlining the festival this year include the “Filippo and the Chef Show,” featuring Italian chef Richard Lombardi.  Both performances take place July 22 and 23 in the Cucina Showcase.


Rossella Rago Returns to the Cucina Showcase

A Cucina favorite, Rossella Rago, host of online cooking show “Cooking with Nonna,” has delighted Festa attendees in years past. Rossella will be performing Saturday, July 22 and Sunday, July 23 in the Cucina Showcase and will be joined on stage wither her maternal grandmother, Nonna Romana.


In 2010, Rossella, mother Angela and her Nonna Romana emerged victorious in the “Italiano Battle” episode of the Food Network’s 24 Hour Restaurant Battle. This year Rossella has published her first cookbook and was an honoree at The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) New York Gala, which celebrated the very best in Italian food, beverage and cultural experiences.


In addition to inspiring grandmothers from around the world to pass down their sacred recipes, entertaining audiences with her show, and popularizing authentic Italian cuisine with Cooking with Nonna, Rossella raises awareness of healthy eating habits for young women everywhere. Rossella is sure to again delight audiences at the 40th anniversary of Festa on Saturday and Sunday!  For more information on Rossella, please visit:


Filippo and the Chef Join Celebrity Chef Line-Up

Richard Lombardi and Filippo Volagio will take the stage Saturday, July 22 and Sunday, July 23, performing “The Filippo and the Chef Show.” A professional chef for over 20 years, Chef Richard has spent a life time learning the art of entertaining guests. At Mama Rose Restaurant in California, Richard and his wife of 43 years, Elaine, served an abundant menu of “New Italian-American” food, earning many awards for excellence.  Chef Richard has written numerous articles for food publications and “The Mama Rose Cook Book,” containing recipes from Mama Rose Restaurant.  With the help of noted Italian singer, Filippo Voltaggio, he created “The Filippo and the Chef Show.” Chef Richard demonstrates Italian cooking while Filippo sings, interviews guests and adds fun to the cooking experience. After Chef Richard’s bout with cancer, he created a non-profit organization, “The Cancer Fighting Chef.” He is using his cooking experience along with his battle with cancer, to create tasty recipes that contain ingredients to help fight cancer.


Filippo Voltaggio, author, speaker, LIFECoach, and TV and radio host, has incorporated the years of experience from being in front of, behind and on the screen and live stages into everything he does.  From his singing, writing and hosting, Filippo brings it all together to create an energetic experience for audiences.  From his acclaimed radio shows and TV and film appearances and performances, to his experiences in the world of business, working for a Fortune Top 3 Company and later owning a boutique entertainment agency; to his study of human psychology and esoteric arts, Filippo has seen, experienced and learned so much about the human condition and the struggle to being our authentic selves.


Both celebrity chefs will be selling their cookbooks at Festa Italiana. For more information on Festa’s celebrity chefs, please visit:


Eat Your Way Through Italy

Aside from actually eating in Italy, Festa Italiana is the next best thing.  Festa-goers can enjoy Italian favorites including arancini, Italian sausage sandwiches, fried eggplant, calamari, panini, pasta, cannoli and more.  With nearly 30 food vendors, attendees can experience all the tastes of Italy right on Milwaukee’s lakefront!


A sample of new food items to try, include:

  • Alioto’s Mostaccioli in Red Sauce
  • Trattoria di Carlo’s Sfingi with Amaretto Sauce
  • Carini La Conca D’Oro’s Sicilian Steak Sandwich, Sicilian Steak & Pasta and Sicilian Lasagna (Anelletti al Forno)


A complete list of Festa food vendors and menus can be found by visiting:


Other Cucina Showcase Activities

Festa is ready to crown the 2017 Cannoli Eating Champion on Saturday, July 22!  Do you have what it takes in this stomach-to-stomach battle? The Cannoli Eating Contest will kick off at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 22. Everyone 18 years or older is welcome to register, simply visit the Cucina Showcase on Saturday to enter your name in the drawing before 3:00 p.m. Is your stomach up to the challenge? All cannoli is provided by the Vella family of Peter Sciortino Bakery on Brady Street.


The Kids Pizza Making Contest, sponsored by Divino Wine & Dine, returns on Saturday, July 22 at 4:15 p.m. Children ages 5-17 are encouraged to participate in making the best pizza creation! The annual contest is a fun way for children to create fresh, made-from-scratch pizza in front of the live Cucina Showcase audience. Winners for each age group will receive a commemorative t-shirt. For more information, please visit:


A full Cucina Showcase schedule can be found by visiting:

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