Chef Franco Lania is a classically-trained chef, who for the past 25 years has devoted his life to the art of cooking while traveling the world. He is not only gifted in the kitchen, but has received an exceptional education in the culinary arts, including the esteemed Grand Diplôme from Le Cordon Bleu in London and a Master Chef Certification from the Italian Culinary Institute in Costigliole d’Asti, Italy. Franco’s journey has brought him to the kitchens of some of the most highly-acclaimed restaurants in the United States as well as Europe: La Grenouille in New York City and the River Café, Brooklyn; Pinot Bistro in Studio City, California and Blue Door in Miami. He has been with the exclusive Dorchester Hotel in London and the Michelin two-star Sadler in Milan, Italy. His love for travel and cuisine lured him onto luxury cruise lines. On Oceania Cruises, whose culinary department is headed by the world-renowned Jacques Pepin, Franco was the first American to hold the Italian Chef position. He frequently appears as a guest chef on Celebrity Cruises’ transatlantic crossings. Through his unique experiences, Franco has attained the “marquee level” of a Certified Culinary Professional on land and at sea.
As a Celebrity Chef, Franco headlines conferences and private events for universities, corporations and private events. Whether the size of the group is 10 or 3,000, Franco has a gift for engaging everyone with his infectious wit and exceptional style. On television, Chef Franco explores New Jersey’s diverse food culture through his show, Jersey Gems, airing on HomeTowne Television (HTTV). He is often the “Green Grocer” for their evening news and is a member of the Culinary Advisory Board for ConAgra Foods and was twice on the winning team for Food Network’s “24-Hour Restaurant Battle.” As a writer, he contributes content for the TASTE section of The Huffington Post and he is currently working on an inspirational travel cookbook.
Having traveled the world several times over, to Chef Franco, nothing has ever come close to the allure, beauty, culture and gastronomic experience of Italy. Due to his great love for the country, Franco, along with his team of culinary and travel experts, created TAVOLA TOURS, a boutique travel company that creates hand-crafted adventures specifically tailored for foodies and lovers of “la dolce vita.”
Realizing that seasoned travelers to Italy place a great emphasis on the culinary experience, Franco realized that building trips that are focused on the culinary masterpieces of Italy would be enriching and satisfying for travelers and a wonderfully creative exercise for the Chef and his team of experts. The results have exceeded everyone’s expectations. Franco continually collaborates with other chefs to create these unique culinary tours, allowing travelers to experience the finest dishes and wines prepared by those who specialize in the gastronomic creations.
In his recent “Adventure to Campania,” travelers visited historic temples one day and attended a mozzarella making class the next. Guests enjoyed cuisine based on the “piatti poveri” of the area and for many, it is a way of connecting with their family’s culinary roots, while experiencing the history and culture of the region, as well as basking in the luxury of the Amalfi Coast.
TAVOLA TOURS will next conduct “Explore Calabria” featuring hands-on cooking classes with local food specialties, wine tastings and food pairings, beautiful sightseeing tours and visits to award-winning wineries in southern Italy.
When Chef Franco shares his passion for cooking, he does so with unbridled passion. Teaching others about the culture and cuisine in Italy is a joy for both the chef and everyone who joins him on these journeys. For everyone with a culinary sense of adventure, get your camera, bring your appetite and call TAVOLA TOURS to set up a thrilling trip for the mind, soul and spirit and experience the flavors of Italy like never before.