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A world-renowned chef is returning to Knoxville in July to prepare sumptuous food and raise money for a local foundation that helps people at the most vulnerable time in their lives.

Chef Luciano Parolari, best known for his work at Villa d’Este on beautiful Lake Como on the foothills of the Alps in Northern Italy, will be in town July 17 to 25 for Chef’s Week and Chef’s Dinner 2016, the events for which will raise money for the L5 Foundation.

The L5 Foundation works to meet the essential and basic needs of cancer patients and their families during treatment, which include providing food for families through the Mobile Meals program, The Caring Plate or buying food baskets during the holidays. L5 raises and distributes funds to organizations that help with gas cards, paying bills and other expenses cancer patients may have trouble affording during treatment. The foundation’s goals for 2016 include creation of The Pampered Patient, where cancer patients receive salon and spa services during treatment, and providing in-home sitters and counseling for patients who need such services.

“Cancer patients and their families should be focused on getting through cancer treatment and not worrying about where their next meal will come from, how they are going to afford gas to get to treatment, or if their power is going to be turned off because they used their money to pay for medication and co-pays,” says Susan Newman, oncologist and founder of L5 Foundation.

Chef’s Week Events include:

  • Wine Dinner at Bistro By The Tracks featuring Banfi Wines: Chef Luciano Parolari and his wife will be the honorary guests for the evening. Chef Parolari will prepare one risotto dish. The wine dinner is set for Tuesday, July 19. Tickets are $95 per person.
  • Cooking Class with Chef Parolari featuring Banfi and Antinori Wines: The chef will lead an exclusive cooking class at Bridgewater Place, 205 Bridgewater Road in Knoxville. Class begins at 6:30 pm on Wednesday, July 20, and cost is $300 per person.
  • Chef’s Dinner 2016 featuring Antinori Wines: Chef Parolari will prepare a complete dinner with the help of five well-known chefs from the region who will serve as his sous chefs. The dinner begins at 6:30 pm on Saturday, July 23, at Bella Notte al Lago del Gambuzza, the home of Belinda and Frank Gambuzza, 809 Emory Church Road in West Knoxville.

“Frank and I are excited to open our home to Chef Parolari, his sous chefs and supporters of the L5 Foundation,” says Belinda Gambuzza, who is a member of the L5 Foundation board of directors. “This is an important way we can support the cancer patients in our community.”

To register for any of the Chef’s Week and Chef’s Dinner events, visit

To prepare for the Chef’s Dinner, Parolari is teaming up with five regionally renowned chefs who will serve as his sous chefs at the dinner. Collectively the chefs will shop together to purchase locally sourced ingredients for the event.

The sous chefs are: Kevin Green, owner of Chef Kevin; David Pinckney, executive chef at Cherokee Country Club; Aaron Swerksy, fishmonger at Abundant Seafood in Charleston, S.C.; Michael Sullivan, butcher and regional sales manager at Creekstone Farms in Arkansas City, Kansas; and Danny Wilhoit, executive chef at Bistro By the Tracks.

In addition to the sous chefs, students from the University of Tennessee Culinary Institute will serve as hosts to the chefs and assist with the prep work for the Chef’s Dinner.

“Food is an integral part of everyone’s life. We celebrate, comfort ourselves, grieve and heal with food,” Newman says. “One bite of our favorite dish can transport us back to memories of our childhood, an important trip or a momentous occasion. Food is life, and it sustains us physically, emotionally and spiritually. What better way to acknowledge the importance of food and nourishment in the life of a cancer patient than to celebrate that life with some of the best Italian cuisine in the world?”

To learn more about the L5 Foundation as well as Chef’s Week and Chef’s Dinner 2016, visit