with Tony May

Tony May wants you to COOK like an ITALIAN!


Tony May founded the Italian Culinary Foundation (ICF) to elevate the standards and understanding of Italian cuisine through education. As a result, ICF offers two programs specially designed for professional chefs, culinary students and food enthusiasts to study and work in Italy:  BASIC STUDY COURSE and STAGE EXPERIENCE.

Studying and working in Italy has enabled chefs to think about food the way an Italian does. Some of the most highly regarded American chefs – Paul Bartolotta, Andrew Carmellini, Mark Vetri, Marc Bianchini, Odette Fada, Theo Schoenegger, Scott Conant, Matteo Bergamini and Mitchell Davis – who studied and worked in Italy, have contributed immeasurably to Italian cuisine building it into the number one ethnic cuisine in America.

These programs can also be adapted as an incentive or training initiative for the staff of restaurants, hospitality groups and hotel chains. They promise authentic taste memories to bring home. Companies can also use their staff’s involvement in these programs as an effective marketing tool.



Five-day intensive course conducted in various cooking schools throughout Italy coupled with visits to food and wine producers for a better understanding of authentic Italian products.


theo© Laila Pozzo-4.jpg

Six internship days at the prestigious restaurant PIERINO PENATI in the beautiful countryside of Viganò Brianza in the Lombardy region under the instruction of chef Theo Penati.

I plan to send (he sent his executives first) our young chefs to Italy, not just to learn, but to experience how to prepare authentic Italian recipes. The May-Mei Italian Culinary Academy program is short, intensive, contemporary, and a great opportunity for our culinary employees.

Wolfgang Puck

 I was unsure what more there was to learn, boy was I wrong. Tony and his partner chef Sergio Mei provided an indepth and exciting program that not only taught the skills and methods of classic Italian cuisine but also inspired me through historical cuisine theory.

Susan Terry

Vice President of Food & Beverage Operations

Marcus Hotels and Resorts, Milwaukee

Tony May is a living legend in the hospitality community; a leader in the field and an advocate for all those in our profession. His decades of experience make him the Senator of the restaurant business ...

Daniel Boulud

I personally took away some cool pointers and tips, especially when it came to classic Italian techniques … If we were to send staff from our company, I think line cooks and junior sous chefs would benefit most. It would give them some great perspective into traditional Italian cuisine and knowledge of ingredients.

Jason Heiselman

Executive Dining Chef, Hearst Publications, New York

This program was a great way to understand and feel true Italian cuisine … from field trips to practical hands-on cooking … you always feel like you’re learning, even at a simple family meal.

Kelly Armata

Executive Chef and Food & Beverage Director, Hyatt Regency Boston

I had the best time which I will cherish forever. It was an honor being with Tony, Marisa, and Sergio … I loved the classes in the mornings, the visits to producers and cooking in the evenings.

Dickie Brennan

Owner, Dickie Brennan & Co. Restaurant Group, New Orleans