In a Tough Economy, Michigan Businesses Band Together for Success


ROCHESTER, Mich., July 1, 2009 — Ah! Toscana!, Piadina Mia, and Il Fornaio Bakery are using their complementary products and skills to create unique cooking events aimed at people who appreciate great food that is also healthy and authentic. Ah! Toscana! ( of Rochester sells quality, artisanal Tuscan products through home parties and personal consultations. Piadina Mia ( of Shelby Township is the sole American producer of piadina, – the regional flatbread favored by Italians for centuries. Il Fornaio Bakery of Shelby Twp. bakes a variety of Italian breads, cakes, and pastries for the commercial market and catered events.

When asked how they got together, Paige Lilienfeld, President of Ah! Toscana!, stated, “When I met Gloriana Casadei, owner of Piadina Mia, I realized that one of the best ways to taste and serve my products is by putting them on her products.” Ms. Casadei added that, “With my connections in the food service industry, the idea of joining forces to promote our products while entertaining our customers just seemed like a natural idea.”

The first event is “An Evening in Toscana”, a dinner to be prepared by Chef Varinia Cappelletti, co-owner of Giglio Bianco, the top-rated Bed & Breakfast in Florence, Italy. Varinia will prepare 3 dinners for up to 30 guests each, on the evenings of August 9-11. The meals will be served restaurant style at the Il Fornaio Bakery facilities in Shelby Township, and will feature products imported by Ah! Toscana! and produced locally by Piadina Mia and Il Fornaio Bakery.

The second event is “The 3 Chefs Present…The Best of Tuscany, The Best of North America”, a cooking demonstration that blends the styles of two Italian and one American chef with traditional Tuscan cuisine and locally grown Michigan produce and dairy products. Many of the featured ingredients are the products of Ah! Toscana!, Piadina Mia and Il Fornaio Bakery.

The first featured Chef is Domenico Casagrande Bei (Chef Mimmo) of the Koolini Italian Eatery in Windsor. Raised and trained in Italy, Mimmo catered the NFL’s 2006 Super Bowl VIP parties in Detroit, and catered to the likes of Vladimir Putin and Giorgio Armani while serving as Resident Chef at the Italian Embassy in Moscow.

The second Chef is Italian cook Varinia Cappelletti, fresh from her three-day American debut at “An Evening in Toscana”, as described above. Varinia is famous for finding new ways to prepare Tuscany’s oldest and most traditional ingredients. (Her parmigiano gelato is to die for!)

The third is Chef Lynn Miller, a private chef, cooking instructor and recipe consultant from Bloomfield Hills. Lynn graduated from the Culinary School at Schoolcraft College in Livonia and attended both Ritz Escoffier and Cordon Bleu in Paris, France.

The event will be held on August 12, 2009 at Trevarrow, Inc. in Auburn Hills. Trevarrow’s unique cooking stadium includes a huge open, semi-circular kitchen with seating for 85 people.

When asked about the benefits of these events, Casadei stated that, “Combining our foods and facilities with professional preparation makes our products taste even better.” Lilienfeld added that, “This is a terrific way for people to try great food, in a great setting, and learn from great chefs. They’ll also go home with some fabulous recipes.

Giovanni LoIacono, owner of Il Fornaio Bakery, got in the last word. “In this economy, we all need to work together and help one another. Having people learn about and experience our products is obviously great for us, too.”

For more information and to make reservations, visit or call 248-726-7691. Reservations for all events are $45.00 per person in advance and seating is limited.

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