Pasta Immersion: Culinary series serves up hands-on training and experiential dinner

Yale Hospitality culinarians with La Molisana pasta
August 10, 2022

New Haven, Conn. — A pasta immersion has been in full force on Yale’s campus this week. The Yale Hospitality team embarked on a culinary series in collaboration with La Molisana, an award-winning pasta factory and the university’s current supplier of pasta, and the Mediterranean Diet Roundtable (MDR). Yale Hospitality is the first-ever university dining program to serve La Molisana on campus menus.  

The culinary series kicked off with engaging training and development sessions in the Presidents Room at Yale Schwarzman Center, led by MDR founder Daniela Puglielli and Damiano Piccirillo, La Molisana’s export area manager. “It was a pleasure to share MDR’s mission to provide cultural context to ingredients and health aspects around the Mediterranean diet with the amazing team of cooks here at Yale. It is an honor to continue our relationship with Yale Hospitality, an integral part of a leading academic institution in the world and a beacon of culinary excellence,” shares Puglielli. The group of over 50 Yale Hospitality cooks took a deep dive into the history of pasta, which cuisines truly encompass the Mediterranean region, and what it takes to farm, mill and produce superb pasta products.

“We were able to take so much away from the training sessions. From learning about the high nutritional content pasta really has, the full process of farming the durum semolina grain to how it reaches our tables, and how to tell the difference in quality levels of La Molisana compared to other brands,” states Alexandra Romeos-Wood, culinary excellence manager. “It was all insight that I know we’ll all be keeping in mind professionally as we craft nutritious meals for our students, but also personally for ourselves and our families”

Around noontime, the group headed over to the Saybrook dining hall kitchen for technical training and hands-on pasta cooking – and tasting – alongside La Molisana’s Chef Giuseppe Angino and Chef James Benson, director of culinary excellence. “During the academic year, our events are highly targeted to food literacy for our students. It’s so critical for us to continuously invest in our culinary team’s literacy as well to further enrich the culturally-based, ‘better for you’ menus we pride ourselves on,” says Benson. Major takeaways from in-kitchen training sessions have been how to handle the pasta with care, respecting cooking techniques and timing, and how to use pasta water as the base to create silky, luxurious sauces.

This pasta-filled experience was not limited to the Yale Hospitality team alone. Yale leaders, students, community-members, media, local restaurateurs, operators, and more were invited to take part in the evening activities. Amid the iconic setting of Commons dining room at the Yale Schwarzman Center, the Immersive Dining Experience kicked off with a pasta making class and cocktail hour, building the anticipation for the dinner. Guests enjoyed a delectable four-course menu crafted by executive chef David Kuzma featuring: Stonington scallops crudo with Calabrian chili oil and kaffir lime sorbetto; grilled peach and tomato salad, cacio e pepe with La Molisana’s bucatini corti, summer’s harvest ragu with La Molisana’s garganelli; black sea bass in blue crab saffron cioppino with La Molisana’s cous cous; and stone fruit and local berry crostata.

“The smiling faces and clean plates after each course spoke volumes to our culinary team!  Our menus are always focused on the freshest and best ingredients we can get our hands on. The high-quality pasta was a great inspiration and foundation to build this menu around and we’re glad it resonated with our guests,” says Kuzma. Dinner concluded with the culinary team of chefs and cooks receiving an enthusiastic standing ovation from guests in attendance.


Among those guests was Rostacia Lewis, GSAS ’25 a PhD candidate in chemical engineering at Yale. She shared her thoughts: “I would sincerely like to thank the entire team responsible for the preparation, staging and execution of the Immersive Dining Experience. It was thoughtfully curated, and its execution was flawless to the point where it surpassed and exceeded my most optimistic expectations. I garnered a newfound appreciation for [Mediterranean] cuisine and in particular pasta and will relive the memories when I attempt to recreate dishes with Molisana’s pasta in my kitchen.”

Rafi Taherian, associate vice president of Yale Hospitality adds “This has been a true celebratory event to introduce La Molisana to the Yale community. This is an opportunity for food literacy, community, and unforgettable memories made in Commons today. As we prepare for our students to return to campus, we can’t wait to share more experiences like this with them – it’s bigger than food. During their four years with us, it’s more important that they create these micro-communities in and around breaking bread and learning about where their food comes from.”

Additional experiential pasta training continues on Thursday, Aug. 10 at Saybrook College. Yale Hospitality will continue the celebration and deepened food literacy opportunities for Yale students and community members leading up to World Pasta Day on October 25.

For media inquiries, please contact: Christelle Ramos,

About La Molisana

With “A Spirit of Tenacity” since 1912, La Molisana has been led by the Ferro family for more than four generations. With their silos, mill, and pasta factory operations, they control the entire life cycle of pasta to assure high food safety standards and promote social and economic growth for their community. The La Molisana factory produces 600 tons of pasta daily, serving up a range of products including durum wheat semolina, classic, whole wheat, gluten-free, gnocchi and more.

About Mediterranean Diet Roundtable (MDR)

he Mediterranean Diet Roundtable (MDR) is a thought leadership event series, designed to inform, inspire and promote the appreciation of ingredients and food practices distinctive of the Mediterranean cuisine. translating the benefits of the Mediterranean Diet into commercial opportunities in the United States. The Mediterranean Diet is recognized by UNESCO as a Global Intangible Cultural Heritage (2010), symbol of a unique synergy between nature and culture distinctive of the Mediterranean countries and regarded as a universal value worldwide. 

About Yale Hospitality

Located in New Haven, CT – Yale Hospitality has been awarded and recognized numerous times for leading and implementing innovative concepts in collegial dining focused on health, wellness, and food system resiliencies. Yale Hospitality is a transformational organization with a passionate team of 800 supporting over 23 residential and retail dining operations, dedicated catering services, as well as a full-service Bakery and Culinary Support Center at Yale University in New Haven. Providing an average of 15,000 meals a day, the ultimate goal is to provide food experiences which are ‘good for people and good for the planet.’