CIAO Takes Win in Duello ai Fornelli

In its first year back on campus, the Italian RSO brought home the top prize in the Chicago cooking competition.

By Veronica Chang, Arts Editor

In collaboration with the Italian Language Program in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, the Chicago Italian Appreciation Organization (CIAO), UChicago’s Italian culture RSO, swept the competition for a win in Duello ai Fornelli, an annual cooking competition among various Chicago universities. 

Organized by the Italian international school Scuola Italiana Enrico Fermi, Duello took place on Friday, November 8 in Wicker Park. The UChicago team—composed of students Luna Splendori, Alicia Haydon, Madeline Gedvila, and Kavitya Sarma—took first place in the junior category for their take on risotto al prosecco. A traditional northern Italian rice dish, risotto is cooked to a creamy consistency in prosecco, an Italian wine. The team put a clever twist on the dish by adding mushrooms, asparagus, and lemon zest, using creativity, teamwork, and great cooking to clinch the win.  

Duello was CIAO’s first major event of the year. In a statement to The Maroon, team captain and CIAO president Luna Splendori expressed interest and enthusiasm in CIAO’s activities for the remainder of the quarter. Third-year Splendori decided to rebuild CIAO this year following a long stretch of inactivity, working closely with UChicago’s Italian Language Department to engage students with Italian culture and build a sense of community. Upcoming events and opportunities include visits to the Chicago Lyric Opera, Commedia dell’Arte workshops on campus, film screenings, and more.  

Veronica Vegna, director of the Italian Language Program, shares Splendori’s excitement and wishes to foster further interest in UChicago’s Italian Program through cultural activities. “We’re hoping to expand our students’ interaction with the Italian community in Chicago by exploring service-learning opportunities and increasing collaboration with educational institutions,” Vegna said in a statement to The Maroon. “We have a long-standing collaboration with [the Italian Cultural Institute of Chicago, the cultural office of the Consulate General of Italy in Chicago], and I am hoping to increase participation of the Italian students in the Institute’s activities.”  

For those interested in learning more, the Italian Language Program’s activities are posted on their Facebook page