Chef Bruno Serato serves spaghetti to children.
For thousands of poor or homeless children in California, you could say that Chef Bruno Serato is a real super-hero, vanquishing hunger by the plateful -- three million meals in 14 years, to be exact.
His powers lie in the pasta topped with tomato sauce that he prepares on weekdays for some 5,000 underprivileged kids living in the region of Anaheim, in southern California.
"With the pasta, I can win the war against hunger," jokes the 62-year-old during a recent interview at his famed restaurant "The White House," located some 25 miles (40 kilometers) south of Los Angeles.
"I don't need missiles, I don't need guns, I don't need stuff like that," he adds. "I just need pasta to win the war."
Every week, from Monday through Friday, Serato faithfully boils nearly 800 pounds (350 kilograms) of spaghetti and potfuls of sauce to feed hungry children through his Caterina's Club foundation, named after his mother.
The genesis for his project dates to April 18, 2005, when Serato, who was born in France to Italian parents and who moved to the United States in 1980, toured a children's center near his restaurant.
He was accompanied by his mother, who was visiting from Italy and who was horrified by what some of the children were eating for dinner because their families couldn't afford a proper meal.
One six-year-old boy, who lived in a motel and whose parents had no money or even a kitchen in which to cook, was munching on chips.
"Like all Italian mothers, she said: 'If he's hungry, he can eat pasta' and we immediately headed to the restaurant kitchen to make him some," recalled Serato.
"I haven't stopped making pasta since," he added.
Serato has since served three million meals to hungry children in nearly 90 sites, including schools and community centers, throughout Los Angeles and Orange counties.
He and his foundation are celebrating that milestone Thursday with 200 children invited to his restaurant.
He recently decided to shut down his upscale restaurant at lunch to focus on the meals for the children.
"We were busy at lunch before but never fully booked," he said. "So I made a choice."
"Just start with one small thing, You can start with a 'hello,' a 'good morning.' Do one plate of pasta, give a hug, give a little jacket that you don't use to someone who needs it.
Giving little by little
Giving has become a way of life for Serato.
Born in 1956 in Laon, in northern France, he fondly recalls his bucolic childhood with six brothers and sisters.
His parents were agricultural workers, and though they were poor and he often wore hand-me-downs, Serato says he never lacked for anything.
"I ate spaghetti with marinara sauce every day because it didn't cost anything, and I never went hungry!"
He says people love to help others, but often don't know how to get started.
"Start low-key, don't start with a big deal. I mean, I didn't start with 5,000 pasta (meals). Start very low-key," he said.
The fungus known locally as "Terfas" is the only thing, besides some wild grass, that grows under the desert sands nurtured by the combined effect of rain and cold temperatures at night.
The various types of flours available in the market are bound to confuse anyone who wanders down that particular supermarket aisle. Read on to find out the healthiest to pick.
Even though water is best for quenching thirst at Iftar but it can get quite boring. Instead, try these tasty and healthy alternatives to hydrate yourself.
As our lives fall out of gear, the secret to remaining indomitable lies in finding intrinsic motivation, which involves partaking in altruistic acts of kindness or participating in an enjoyable sport or subject.
An Indian yogi whose claims he spent decades without food or water earned him a band of devotees and the scepticism of doctors died Tuesday, his neighbour told a section of the media.
Cloth masks, particularly those with several layers of cotton cloth, can reduce transmission of Covid-19 by blocking up to 99 per cent of infectious particles, say researchers.