Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Top Chefs Unite to Make a Difference - Chefs Who Care event to benefit The Ashley Lauren Foundation

Chefs Who Care Ashley Lauren Foundation
Top Chefs Unite to Make a Difference

Chefs Who Care event to benefit The Ashley Lauren Foundation 

 Get ready to embark on a culinary journey through La Riviera D'Italia, accompanied by the finest Italian wine and spirits, at the highly anticipated Chefs Who Care event. Taking place on Monday, July 17, 2023 from 5-9pm at The English Manor in Ocean Township, NJ, this premiere gathering of renowned chefs from New York City and New Jersey aims to raise funds and awareness for The Ashley Lauren Foundation and honoring Sir Gary Kong. The Foundation provides much-needed hope, help, and support for children with cancer and their families throughout the State of New Jersey. 

Prepare to indulge your senses as the Chefs Who Care event brings together the mastery of top culinary artists. These talented chefs will showcase the exquisite cuisine of La Riviera D'Italia, offering guests an unparalleled gastronomic experience. Paired with premium Italian wine and spirits, this celebration of flavors will transport attendees to the heart of Italy. 

"We are very excited for this year's roster of industry veterans and Michelin star chefs. Some of the participating chefs will include Chef Jacques Torres, Chef Cesare Cassella, Chef Silvia Barban, Chef Ariane Duarte, Chef Jesse Jones, Chef Angelo Competiello, Chef Surbhi Sahni, Chef Joe Murphy, Chef Joe Settepani and Chef Fabrizio Facchini with more chefs coming on board each day,” said Gennaro Pecchia, Co-Chair of the event, Co-host of The Good Food Fellas on Spotify. “Additionally, we have partnered with Calvisius Caviar, Urbani Truffles, San Pellegrino and other luxury brands for the evening," added Eric Vitale, Co-Chair of the event, Eric Vitale Photography. 

As renowned chefs generously donate their time and talent to support a worthy cause, Chefs Who Care is a testament to the generosity and compassion of the culinary community. With their culinary prowess, they aim to make a positive impact on the lives of children battling cancer and their families. 

The Ashley Lauren Foundation, the beneficiary of this remarkable event, has been providing vital assistance to children with cancer and their families in New Jersey for almost two decades. “I founded this organization in 2005 based on my own experience when my daughter Ashley Lauren, was diagnosed with cancer at the age of three,” shared Monica Vermeulen, Founder and Executive Director of The Ashley Lauren Foundation. Through various programs and initiatives, the Foundation offers financial, emotional and material support, ensuring that families have the resources they need to navigate the challenges of pediatric cancer. “This event will strengthen our ability to bring much-needed resources and assistance to children and their families who are facing the horrific disease of pediatric cancer,” continued Vermeulen. All proceeds from the Chefs Who Care event will directly benefit The Ashley Lauren Foundation and its noble mission. 

“We are so honored to announce our Humanitarian Award Recipient for the event - Sir Gary Kong,” stated Vermeulen.  Sir Gary came to America at 16-years-old from China without family or a dollar to his name. He overcame adversity, learning the English language to pursue his lifelong passion - the American dream. 

With humble beginnings, he worked in the kitchens of 5-Star Restaurants, saving his money, buying a real estate property each year, and helping others. He ultimately became a Sous Chef. 

After his gratitude and experience that he acquired in the culinary industry, he pursued his lifelong goal of becoming a Chinese American entrepreneur. Today he is a self-made businessman & real estate developer, but his greatest passion is philanthropy. He believes in giving back through supporting his Flushing community & outside charity organizations fighting the good fight. His humanitarian efforts are beyond reproach & have been nationally recognized. “We would like to thank Sir Gary for the special donations from his winery and brewery, The 1 Wine and NY Classic Beer,” noted Vermeulen. 

"We are thrilled to host the Chefs Who Care event and bring together these incredible culinary talents for an evening of culinary delights," said Vitale. "By joining forces with The Ashley Lauren Foundation, we can make a significant difference in the lives of children with cancer and their families. This event is not just about enjoying exceptional cuisine; it's about coming together as a community to provide hope and help to those who need it most."

 Guests attending the Chefs Who Care event can anticipate an exceptional evening filled with unforgettable flavors, live entertainment, and the opportunity to bid on unique culinary experiences and exclusive items in the silent auction. It is a night that promises to inspire, uplift, and create lasting memories. 

Tickets for the Chefs Who Care event are $175 per person and are available for purchase at AshleyLaurenFoundation.org. The proceeds will go directly towards supporting the programs and services provided by The Ashley Lauren Foundation. 

For more information about the Chefs Who Care event, including sponsorship opportunities and media inquiries, please contact: Monica Vermeulen, Executive Director, 732.414.1625.

About The Ashley Lauren Foundation:

The Ashley Lauren Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing hope and help to children in New Jersey who are affected by cancer. The foundation offers direct financial assistance, emotional support, and various programs to improve the quality of life for children and their families as they undergo treatment. For more information, please visit AshleyLaurenFoundation.org.

 Note to editors: Press passes are available upon request. High-resolution images and interviews with chefs and foundation representatives can be arranged.


Saturday, May 13, 2023

Exciting new Italian films opening up across the United States

Over the next few months, Italian films will dominate the US film world, here are a few spectacular films out in theaters now and this summer.


a film by Felix van Groeningen and

Charlotte Vandermeersch


a film by Emanuele Crialese


a film by Mario Martone

For more on many Italian films, please visit  Cinema Made in Italy 

Monday, February 20, 2023

I'm the daughter of Italian immigrants, first generation Italian American


I’m the daughter of Italian immigrants, first generation in 🇺🇸. I’d like to bring awareness to all the accomplishments made by the Italians who emigrated to America and ultimately became the backbone of this country along with other immigrants from around the world. Immigrants have always been the backbone and by now most Italians have assimilated into American society. We are Italian Americans. It’s important to preserve and celebrate our history, accomplishments, contributions, culture, traditions and love for the American dream. 

If you would like to be featured or have an event, book, food product, story, film, PR etc, and you would Iike to be featured on my blog, social media, podcast or be a guest writer for the IAG site please send me an email for consideration.

Monday, October 17, 2022

Italian minestrone gluten free, vegan recipe

Italian minestrone gluten free, vegan recipe

  • Sautee onion, celery, carrots in large pot with olive oil. 
  • Add a few cups of water or vegetable broth depending on the size of your pot, don't put too much as this could water down the consistency.
  • Add tomatoes, cannellini or red kidney beans - I like to drain the beans first before adding.
  • Add your spices - oregano, salt to taste, garlic powder (you can put whatever you like)
  • Add your pasta - I cook my pasta first and then add to my soup mix for final boil. I make gluten free usually and it tastes just as amazing as regular.
  • I cook everything for about 30 minutes or till I feel all vegetables are soft, don't overcook if you've added pasta because then it can break apart. Just my suggestion.   Also I find with minestrone soup, I make it slightly different each time, because you can be creative with vegetables.   Happy soup season! 


Saturday, May 7, 2022

Italian Style: Vegan Gluten Free Dishes - Grilled Vegetables & Air Fried Sweet Potatoes

Here's another great couple of dishes I've perfected over the last year while we hunkered down during the pandemic.  I discovered that using an air fryer is actually very convenient and cooks so many meals in no time and in a healthier way.   Here's a great post about the benefits of using an air fryer: (Read here) 

This week I made a grilled vegetable  (zucchini and eggplant) for this I used my trusty old George Foreman grill, which I love.  I slice the vegetables on my cutting board usually in circle shape of the vegetable not long ways to get more onto the grill. I lay them onto the grill and drizzle a tad of olive oil, I only use extra virgin oil btw.  I also lay a few garlic slices across the layer of vegetables to give it an extra great taste, I love garlic. 

For the stuffed mushrooms, I combined my 4C Gluten Free bread crumbs with Kosher salt, garlic salt, dried basil, dried oregano, some slices of fresh garlic.  I then mix that and insert inside my cleaned mushrooms, I remove the stems and save those for an upcoming chicken dish or omelet contents.  I then drizzle olive oil onto the tops put into the air fryer at lower temp and for about 20 minutes.  You can add mozzarella cheese to the tops.  

My sweet potatoes are amazing! Let's just start there. I wash the potatoes first just to get any dirt off.  I think cut them into French fries shape, it took me a while to figure out to cut potatoes so they would be better in the air fryer.  

I then put them all cut into another dish and drizzle olive oil, garlic salt and dried basil.  I cover the dish and shake it making sure everything is coated.  I then put into the air fryer at a low temp for up to 25/ 30 minutes. I flip the potatoes often because I like them golden.   

Once all your dishes are done cooking I plate them and wow! Healthy, quick and very satisfying!  


Thursday, May 5, 2022

Italian Girls, Curly Hair! Part 3!

This topic is my most searched topic on my site, I believe our curly hair mystifies our cultural foundations.  Here's my story continued: my father had very tight curly hair and even as a man his hair even at 91 maintained its curly texture.  I definitely took after my father, and interestingly enough both my parents are direct from Reggio Calabria, Italy.  In my family, there a few of us with my type of hair and now with the newer generation, my niece has my hair, so its fascinating to understanding DNA and how it evolves over generations and lineage.   

Here's a link to the hair products I use and for me personally, its a full on task to take care of curly hair. Most days, I actually wear my hair up in a bun or braid.  I do get away with not washing hair for a few days because curly hair allows for it, just my preference.  You do have to comb out your hair though on wash days because any type of bun or braid seriously knots my hair.   The other element that I believe is the secret sauce for maintaining and getting my hair to look good is actually coloring my hair.  I get my hair highlighted and honestly when I do, it controls my hair even more.  

Let me know if you have more questions.