#SundaySpotlight: United in Passion

LONG BEACH – When you dine at a Chef Gino Angelini restaurant, you can see and taste the amount of passion and pride he puts into his food and its presentation. It is who he is. Why shouldn’t it be, since he has devoted his life to it since he was 14?

With that passion for his craft, it is no wonder he fell in love with the passion of the Special Olympics Southern California athlete.

“It’s very emotional for me to see what these athletes do and that they are so proud of what they do. It’s beautiful. It’s an example for all of us,” said Gino. “We love being at Pier del Sol. We have a wonderful view of the ocean, and we have a lot of fun. It’s a happy reunion for the chefs.”

Thus, it has been a perfect match with the annual Pier del Sol fundraising event benefiting SOSC athletes. Gino Angelini and his restaurant Angelini Osteria will be making its 14th appearance at Pier del Sol this Oct. 8, and he will be doing so as this year’s honorary chef.

“Special Olympics does incredible work. I respect that 89-percent of the money raised goes directly to provide activities for the athletes,” said Gino. “I am not an athlete, but being honored by Special Olympics is similar to winning an Olympic gold medal. I am very honored.”

For Gino, friends invited him to Pier del Sol in 2002. However, he has not missed this event since because of the SOSC athletes.

“Lucy and Ivy Chu are wonderful friends, and they invited us to attend in 2002 and we have been coming back every year since,” said Gino. “Seeing all the athletes smiling and having a good time is very touching. It gives me inspiration to do my best.”

Photo by: World Threw My Eyes Photography (www.wtmephotog.com)

Gino Angelini, 2017 Pier del Sol Honorary Chef

For Gino, his best has been significant.

He was near the seaside city of Rimini in Italy’s richest food region, Emilia Romagna. Fe has devoted his life to food and its preparation. He became the youngest chef at the age of 23 of a five-star hotel restaurant, and he has not stopped since.

In 1995, Chef Angelini came to the U.S. as chef of Rex Il Ristorante in Los Angeles, where he received acclaim for both his innovative and traditional Italian cuisine. In late 1997, Chef Angelini opened Vincenti Restaurant in Brentwood, where it promptly became a critical smash. Then, he followed with his own restaurant, Angelini Osteria, in 2001. It has become one of LA’s most celebrated restaurants, and was voted the Best Italian Restaurant in Los Angeles by Zagat in 2012.

Chef Angelini has received numerous honors for his significant work in the culinary arts from around the world including the 2007 Artusi Award; the 2011 Galvanina Trophy for “Best Chef of the Year;” and the 2011 Sigismondo Malatesta d’Oro, Rimini’s highest civilian award.

Those attending Pier del Sol will get to taste why his food has been honored so much.

And here is a sneak peek. “This is a morning event, so we will be serving two items. The first will be crostino with smoked salmon and avocado. The other will be Prosciutto di Parma with burrata and aged balsamic vinegar.”

The event has given him many memories over the years. His favorite dish? “Our porchetta – leg of pork, wood oven roasted with aromatic herbs.”

And his favorite moment?

“I love Eddie Mack, the Special Olympic Global Messenger. Every year Eddie gives me a big warm hug and thanks me for coming again. I admire Eddie for winning his medals and for working so hard for Special Olympics,” said Gino.

And that is a big reason why Gino is serving as honorary chef for Pier del Sol.


Tickets for the 21st annual Pier del Sol on Sunday, Oct. 8 are on sale NOW. This is an exciting and unique day of fun on the historic Santa Monica Pier and Pacific Park. At the only food & spirit festival fused with a backyard private amusement park experience, attendees will enjoy an exclusive VIP brunch featuring mouthwatering tastings from over 35 of L.A.’s top chefs and restaurants, complete with a beach top beer & wine garden, entertainment, music, arts & crafts, games, and unlimited rides.

The VIP Brunch includes unlimited rides to Pacific Park and 12 game booth tickets. The special VIP Brunch will feature amazing food from L.A.’s top chefs and restaurants. This year’s theme is “Oktoberfest,” where a beach top Beer & Wine Garden will enhance your culinary palette.

Admission to the VIP Brunch is $175 per adult ticket and $75 for children (ages 5 to 12 – available at the door day of event only). Children under five are free, but will not receive a meal/beverage coupon nor game tickets.

General admission to the event is $75 per ticket and includes unlimited ride wristband (valid all day after event is over until park closes), eight game booth tickets, and a meal/beverage coupon to be redeemed at the Pacific Park Food Plaza.

To purchase tickets, visit https://sosc.org/pierdelsol/tickets.


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