SC: Chef launches fundraiser for Italian earthquake aid

Chuck Bennett

Chef launches fundraiser for Italian earthquake aid

When award-winning chef Luciano DelSignore (he owns Bacco Ristorante and the Bigalora restaurants) put out a call to action last week to his fellow Metro Detroit chefs to support the small Italian town of Amatrice, which was hit by a devastating earthquake, he was amazed by the response.

Friday on social media, Luciano sent out this message: “CALLING ALL CHEFS! As many of you are aware, there was a massive earthquake on Wednesday in central Italy, and the epicenter was under the town of Amatrice. With this city being the birthplace of the famous pasta dish, Spaghetti all’Amatriciana, and set to host its “50th Festival of the Spaghetti all’Amatriciana” on Aug. 27 & 28, I’m calling on area chefs to join me, Chef Anthony Lombardo, and our restaurants in putting this dish on your menu during the month of September, offer it for $15, and then collectively donate 100% of sales of each order to a fund that will benefit the city and surrounding area. The goal is to raise at least $50,000, and I believe we can do it — who’s in?!”

“I’m totally blown away,” says Luciano. “I knew some would step up right away, but I had no idea we’d end up with nearly 50 restaurants and chefs participating.”

Because of the 50th Festival celebration that was to take place in Amatrice last week, there were extra visitors to the town. At this point, the death count from the earthquake is around 300 people. On Monday, there will be a GoFundMe page (Michigan Chefs for Amatrice) where the restaurants and the public can donate. In addition to Luciano’s five restaurants, other participating restaurants include Bella Piatti; Andiamo (all locations) Tre Monti; Bucci; Selden Standard; Cuisine; the Stand; as well as, Il Posto Ristorante in Hollywood, Florida; La Vita Bistro in Pinckney; and Trattoria Stella in Traverse City; to mention a few.

Flip a coin, decide your vote

Well, it seems that the folks at are at it again. They’ve come up with some more out-of-the-box thinking that could add even more digits to their bank accounts — at least temporarily. About four years ago, they created the ultra-popular website,, selling intentionally hideous holiday sweaters. Now, the brothers and sister team of Fred, Mark and Vanessa Hajjar have created the “Presidential Flip-A-Coin,” for all those baffled by a presidential choice.

“We thought it would be a fun product for people that might be undecided on who they are going to vote for,” says Fred. “A lot of people don’t know who they want as next president, so we thought let’s give the undecided voters a coin to flip.”

The metal coin, a little bigger than a U.S. quarter, has Hillary Clinton on one side and Donald Trump on the other. It is available at and costs $7.95. And we’d be remiss to not mention there’s also an adult version for the not-so-faint-at-heart.

Taystee’s Burgers tops Detroit Burger Brawl

Recapping last weekend’s festive “Burger Brawl” at Fairway Packing in Eastern Market, after consuming 1,300 pounds of custom ground beef (and who knows how many barrels of beer), 1,700 votes were cast by guests naming Taystee’s Burgers in Dearborn as the 2016 Burger Brawl champs.

“The culinary scene in Detroit and throughout Michigan is the hottest in the country, right now,” says Emmet Baratta of Fairway Packing, who co-sponsored the event.


Brothers Gino, left, and Emmet Baratta of Fairway Packing.

Chuck Bennett is the creator of and is the Fox 2 News Style Ambassador.