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Top chefs use Italian Day to showcase multiculturalism

By Tyler Orton, 24 Hours Vancouver

Nevada Cope, executive chef at Italian Cultural Centre puts the finishing touches on a traditional italian pastry Zeppole during a demonstration in Vancouver, British Columbia, Wednesday June 5, 2013. Chef Nevada Cope will be doing cooking demonstrations at Italian Days on Sunday, June 9th. (CARMINE MARINELLI / 24 HOURS)

Nevada Cope, executive chef at Italian Cultural Centre puts the finishing touches on a traditional italian pastry Zeppole during a demonstration in Vancouver, British Columbia, Wednesday June 5, 2013. Chef Nevada Cope will be doing cooking demonstrations at Italian Days on Sunday, June 9th. (CARMINE MARINELLI / 24 HOURS)

Nevada Cope readily admits watching competitive cooking shows pushed her towards a career as a chef. But it was her mother’s influence that guided her to Italian cuisine.

“I remember actually making pasta when I was eight-years-old, and my mom would hang up rods in the walk-in pantry and I would dry my own,” the Italian Cultural Centre’s executive chef recalled with a chuckle.

“My mom was really encouraging of me becoming a chef even at a young age.”

The 24-year-old gastronomic wizard, who now oversees a 15-person staff after getting her start as a teen cook at an Abbotsford White Spot, is among a host of top chefs showing off their culinary skills at cooking demonstrations this Sunday on Commercial Drive and Gravely Street for Italian Day.

“It’s important that we continue with our tradition and culture to make sure that our second and third generations know what their roots are,” said ICC president Michael Cuccione, one of the event’s co-organizers.

Even though the ethnic background of Vancouver’s Little Italy has shifted significantly in recent years, Cuccione said everyone still knows to go to Commercial Drive if they want to watch soccer games or drink the best coffee.

About 100,000 people are expected this year to witness the Drive’s transformation into Carnivale Di Venezia. Traditional Venetian carnival decorations and costumes will adorn the streets, while chefs and performers take to various stages to showcase their talents.

Veteran chef Peppe Gioe, who’s known for serenading diners’ food as he cooks, is joining Cope during the demo to show off both his singing and cooking skills.

“I do some operatic songs, that’s my style,” he said. “(Diners) love it.”

 

 

 

 

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