A CNN Hero Making a Difference
The preceding quote is how Academy Award-winning actress and cinema legend Sophia Loren, described Bruno Serato’s book, The Power Of Pasta, A celebrity chef’s mission to feeding America’s Hungry Children.
Bruno’s newly released book is both an inspirational story about his amazing journey from humble beginnings in the tiny town of San Bonifacio, Italy, to his very successful career as a celebrity chef in the United States, and also includes 43 scrumptious Italian recipes from Bruno’s award-winning Anaheim White House Restaurant.
To say that Bruno has a “big heart” is an understatement. The world has certainly taken note of this and of his many contributions over the years and bestowed upon him some very prestigious accolades and awards. People Magazine named him a Hero Among Us; CNN recognized him as a CNN Hero, he was awarded the Pope John XXIII Award for Outstanding Achievement Towards Humanity, and knighted by the Italian Consulate and given the title, “Sir” Bruno Serato. These are just a select few of his countless awards and achievements.
Bruno’s Anaheim White House Restaurant, in Anaheim, California, which featured dining rooms like, The Abraham Lincoln Room and The George Washington Room, welcomed many prominent names over the last thirty years. Guests from the world of entertainment, politics, and the business sector graced the elegant space. There were past presidents, Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush, celebrities like Danny DeVito, Doris Roberts, and Janet Leigh, sports stars, Dan Marino, Derek Jeter and Martina Navratilova, singers like Gwen Stefani and Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, and even astronaut Alan Shepard, and so many more names, too many to list here. The restaurant ran successfully thanks to Bruno’s talents in the kitchen but also because he’s a really likable caring person and it comes across to his guests from the moment they walk through the doors. When you eat food that Bruno prepares for you, you’re not just a guest, you are family and Bruno loves his family. In fact, he has taken to heart his beloved mother’s words that “food is love.”
His restaurant, however, is just a fraction where and how Bruno spends his time. Twelve years ago he founded Caterina’s Club, a Foundation that got its name from his beloved mother, Caterina. While she was in town visiting, he took her down to the Boys and Girls Club in Anaheim, to play with the children. His mother looked around at all the children eating poor snacks so close to dinnertime and she was heartbroken. She knew that this was probably the only meal they were going to have for dinner. She knew it was not right. She turned to her son and demanded that he have his restaurant cook up dinner for all of the children right away. Bruno obediently obeyed his mother and Caterina’s Club was born. Since that day Bruno has dedicated himself to this mission. He prepares 4,000 meals a day, five days a week for hungry children. He’s not only satisfying their need for food but is also filling and nourishing their hearts with hope and love.
On February 4th, 2017 Bruno’s cherished restaurant, caught fire in the middle of the night due to an electrical fire and destroyed the entire structure. There was nothing the firefighters could do to save it. Bruno was shocked and heartbroken as he watched in horror. The building had been there since 1909. He reflected on all the memories, the years of love and devotion he had poured into it, the employees, and the memorabilia. His tears consumed him but Bruno didn’t let it break him. He immediately turned his focus to the hungry children. How was he going to feed them and where was he going to cook the pasta?
Fortunately, he received five calls from people offering up their kitchen. Then a call came from Italian pasta maker Barilla who donated Barilla pasta and tomato sauce.
Bruno never stopped feeding the children and made it his priority to search for a permanent place he could set up shop to cook for them. His prayers were answered when
he received a call from the Christ Cathedral. They offered him their own kitchen and rooms indefinitely. The church is a new spiritual center for the more than 1.3 million Roman Catholics in Orange County. It is made entirely of glass and surrounded by a beautiful arboretum. Bruno feels that this new space is truly a gift from God. But he also knows that his dear mamma Caterina, who has since passed away, was most certainly looking down on him and the children.
With the restaurant in the rebuilding phase, (it is scheduled to reopen December 2017 or January 2018), Bruno took the time to sit down with Lori Hetherington and write his book. He not only shares his stories and life experiences but he also shares 43 delicious recipes from his award-winning restaurant. Dishes like Prawns and Scallops, Poached Salmon au Chocolat, Penne alla Vodka, Pappardelle Bolognese, and his scrumptious Italian desserts like Tiramisu and Dolce Zabaglione, to name just a few. Am I making your mouth water?
Bruno has shared these recipes with his heart and welcomes you to try them at home. They have taken years to perfect and it’s the biggest gift Bruno can give back to you, his readers, and to this country that has been so wonderful to him… to leave a little bit of himself with you and to share his love through food.
We asked Bruno to share one message with our readers that he felt was very important to him. He thought about it and then said, “Stop talking about it and do something about it.” A wonderful message to leave you with because in this case, it can also apply to his cookbook … let’s stop talking about it and get cooking some of his delicious, mouth-watering, delectable, recipes! Mangia! Mangia!
Where can one buy a copy of your book, The Power of Pasta?
My book can be purchased on AMAZON.COM or at Barnes and Noble. 100% of the proceeds from the sale of the book will go to Caterina’s Club.
Who is your role model and why?
My role model is and has always been my mother and for so many reasons - too many to list here. But I will say that the most important reason would have to be for all the love she showed me and taught me my whole life. Mother Teresa is another role model because she helps the poor.
You’ve been invited to be a guest-speaker in Brazil where you will be speaking about your new book, tell us how this came about?
I have been inspiring people all around the globe for many years with my Charity, Caterina’s Club. Over the years I have been invited to speak for the Global Peace Foundation,
Humanity Rights at the United Nations, and so many others. And now on October 25th, in Brazil, I will be named Barilla Ambassador of Pasta at the World Pasta Day. is an immense privilege and I would like to thank Barilla
Pasta for the honor.
Besides your restaurant and feeding the children, what else are you involved in?
Well, I’m very busy. Besides my restaurant and feeding the children, I also have extended my mission to a new venture called Welcome Home which helps hundreds of motel families find permanent housing. It has already helped hundreds of families escape motel living by finding them apartments of their own. I also started Chef Bruno’s Hospitality Academy, which teaches local underprivileged youth how to prepare for a job in the hospitality industry. It’s a result of a collaboration between my non-profit
Caterina’s Club and a program established by the Anaheim High School district called AIME, (Anaheim Innovative Mentoring Experience)
How can people help give to Caterina’s Club?
People can help Caterina’s Club by donating and supporting our Annual Gala by donating directly on our website WWW.CATERINASCLUB.ORG or by starting a Caterina’s Club of your own.
Can anyone be involved with Caterina’s Club?
Caterina’s Club is a Not-For-Profit Organization and everyone can be involved because being involved means you will be helping to change the world to end hunger. No donation is too small, and no amount of time you give is too short. Everything little bit helps.
Photography by Thierry Brouard | Prémium Paris
Location: Huntington Beach
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