Someone who claims to have penetrated the hallowed halls of Olive Garden's Culinary Institute of Tuscany says the school is hardly the MIT of Ravioli Sciences touted in commercials. In fact, there's no school at all.
An anonymous Reddit user who says she was a former Olive Garden manager wrote that the chain owns no cooking schools in Italy. Rather, they fill a Tuscan hotel with employees in the off-season:
"[We] could use the restaurant (closed to the public-again off season) as a classroom for maybe an hour here or there and talk about spices or fresh produce for a minute before going sightseeing all day. The only time we saw the 'chef' was when she made a bolognese sauce while taking pictures with each of us to send to our local newspapers."
No less than Time magazine checked into these outrageous claims, and found them to be accurate.
A spokesperson for the hotel confirmed that there's an agreement in place between them and Olive Garden. Olive Garden sends about a dozen people each week in the off-season between November and March. Their chef spends some time with them in the kitchen, but there's no school and the restaurant does not own anything there. The house and the restaurant belong, in fact, to a local wine label.
This public shaming couldn't come at a worse moment for the bottomless-pasta-bowl emporium, so soon after having gotten a baby pants-wettingly drunk on sangria. We'd therefore encourage those of you looking to develop a career in the food services industry to instead direct your applications to the wholly legitimate McDonald's Center of Training Excellence, better known as Hamburger U. [Time, photo via OliveGarden.com]