GINO CAMPAGNA: The Italian Chef Who is changing the Way American Kids Eat.

Chef Gino, as Americans call him, is an Italian chef born and raised in Parma. He’s now co-Founder of the non-profit Piccolo Chef Foundation and Master Chef at Piccolo Chef Culinary School, one of the best children’s cooking school in Los Angeles. He also works as event organizer for Whole Foods Market and is culinary instructor for Michelle Obama’s program “Chefs Moves To School”.

 But, most importantly, he’s inspiring generations of kids to learn how to cook and eat healthy.


gc1How has it all started?

Since he was very little he has been in close contact with food. Indeed, his mother used to be a cook at the local school, which also Gino attended as a child. After many years, Gino became a teacher for little kids at that school and in the meanwhile he started to work at local cafés.

After having spent a couple of years in London within the International Coffee Organization, Gino moved to Los Angeles in the nineties. He soon realized that American kids were extremely different from Italian ones when it comes to food. Back then, they were mainly eating unhealthy food and parents seemed not to be bothered to feed their children with healthier food options.


So, Gino started to fill this gap in the American market using his passion for cooking and teaching and his contagious energy. Basically, his goal was and still is teaching children how to cook and appreciate great food. But Chef Gino is not a traditional boring serious teacher, his motto is “learning while having fun”. He thinks this approach is essential to make kids associate positive feelings and vibes to cooking. He believes in cheerfulness, enthusiasm, good energy and engagement.


Where is this “teaching method” coming from?

Most Americans prefer to buy prepackaged or ready-made foods, so it mustn’t surprise that children aren’t familiar with cooking their meals from scratch at home. On top of that, many campaigns portray food as a medicine or a therapy, instead of promoting cooking as a moment to enjoy together with family. That’s exactly what Chef Gino wants to communicate: he wants kids to understand that food is not mere food but a way to share something with others and a way to promote a healthy lifestyle.

Apart from teaching at various LA cooking classes, Chef Gino has worked on many cooking shows, both Italian (Prova del Cuoco) and American (Disney Channel Gino’s Kitchen, Let’s Cook with Gino, Kitchen Kids, Down but not under, among others). He used to be a consultant for food giants (like Ferrero and Barilla), he took part in several live events on the West Coast and he’s now a blogger for Huffington Post too.


Chef Gino’s story is truly inspiring for everyone of us. It all started with a big passion in a small Italian town and it turned not only into an impressive career but also in the opportunity to teach and inspire million of kids everyday. He would like children to understand that the real food is not prepackaged, but instead that they can easily prepare their own food and this is gonna be extremely helpful for their personal and professional growth. In other words, Gino instills his passion and his enthusiasm for cooking and inspires kids to share these precious teachings with their families.

Francesca Freschi


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