National Italian American Foundation Gala Celebrates Culture, Presents Honors
The National Italian American Foundation hosted its annual Arizona Regional Gala on Jan. 27, 2024, at the Arizona Biltmore. The mission of the foundation is to celebrate and advance the inspiring achievements and uplifting values of the Italian culture and presence in America, and to strengthen and empower ties between the United States and Italy.
Presenting Sponsor: The Maggiore Group
Gala Co-Chairs: Pete Melucci, Massimo Sommacampagna & Mike Farrar
Honorees: Paul Penzone & Carla A. Consoli, Esq.
Al Carfora Italian Heritage Award Recipient: Sal DiCiccio
Chef Tomaso Culinary Excellence Award: Chef Gio Osso of Virtù Honest Craft
Benefiting Charities: National Italian American Foundation | First Place AZ | Boys Hope Girls Hope Arizona
Emcee: Dame Clarissa Burt
Entertainment: DJ Paul Amendola | Gooch Big Band | Opera singer Sedona Libero
Notable Moments: The celebratory evening kicked off on the Biltmore Spire Bar lawn under the stars with an extensive signed memorabilia silent auction. As guests entered the Grand Ballroom, they enjoyed the sounds from the Gooch Big Band while being seated for the four-course dinner. Presentations from Italian dignitaries intermixed with the service of a fabulous menu curated by chef Joey Maggiore, including burrata, prosciutto and melon as the antipasti, cannelloni Florentina for the first course, braised short rib and chicken cacciatore for the second course and a trio of beautiful desserts to end the meal. Following the honoree presentations, the live auction and paddle raise benefitted two local nonprofits: First Place AZ and Boys Hope Girls Hope Arizona, as well as the National Italian American Foundation. The generosity was abundant and all enjoyed the wonderful Italian cultural experience.
Photos courtesy of Rudy Ramirez