Giovanni Lavorato presented with Italian Heritage Award

Giovanni Lavorato, owner of Ill Amici Ristorante in Linden, was honored during The Italian Tribune’s 47th annual Columbus Day Awards Gala, held on Friday, October 6th, 2017,
One of New Jersey’s finest Italian chefs, Giovanni Lavorato was the recipient of this year’s Italian Heritage Award. Born in Calabria, Italy, Mr. Lavorato began his culinary studies at the young age of 14 at the prestigious Scuola Alberghiera at Senigallia, near the capital city of Ancona, in the Marche region of Italy. He then went to Jesolo, near Venice, where he received his diploma. It was the ambition of young Giovanni to learn, understand and be able to create the specialties from many of the regions of Italy, so he traveled and he learned. He traveled extensively and brought his culinary skills to restaurants in France, Switzerland and Germany.
In 1967, Mr. Lavorato was offered the elite position at one of Canada’s most revered Italian restaurants – Bianco Franco, in Montreal. He came to the U.S. one year later and in 1975, established the Appian Way Restaurant in Orange, New Jersey.
Mr. Lavorato received significant exposure and recognition for his incomparable kitchen skills. Favorable reviews and write-ups followed from the New York Times, Gourmet Magazine and even from the Italian government. After eight years, he purchased Bel’Vedere Ristorante in Clifton, which would duplicate the recognition and acclaim of the Appian Way. An exclusive restaurant offering finest in dining and service. Mr. Lavorato received numerous awards while owning the Clifton establishment, including one by Il Messaggero Mondiale. It was during this period that he was granted the title of Il Cavaliere of the Order of Saint George.
In 1990, he opened III Amici Ristorante in Linden, and once again, culinary enthusiasts found his specialties to be extraordinary and the restaurant was greeted with rave reviews. His menu features an extensive array of northern and southern Italian specialties, set within a classic Italian décor, including a Roman lounge. Mr. Lavorato is assisted by his son Dante, who is the restaurant’s general manager and his daughter Teresa, who is the office manager. He feels nothing can make him prouder than partnering with his children in his restaurant.
He was awarded Man of the Year by Il Ponte Italo-Americano International Cultural Magazine in 1995, commending him for his achievements and leadership within the restaurant and food service industry. Other awards followed, including an award from the Italian Council of New York and in 2006, Giovanni was honored as Business of the Year by the Union County Chamber of Commerce. And was named the Linden Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year 2016.

(above) Giovanni Lavorato with daughters Alexandra and Teresa.