Italian American Club of Jacksonville
Cooking with Jim
CLICK ON THE VIDEO TO SEE THE AUGUST 20TH "COOKING WITH JIM' CLASS HELD AT THE ITALIAN AMERICAN CLUB!!!
Follow along as four members from the IAC had a hands on lesson from Chef Jim Ranieri to make these wonderful dishes! The class started out with a fun little quiz testing the knowledge of the students on the Italian words for foods. Moving on to the menu, Jim started with a Shrimp Bruschetta Appetizer. The main dish was Pollo Saltimbocca (Chicken that jumps off the mouth) with a side of Orzo Pasta w/ Spinach and Tomatoes. Delish!
About Jim Ranieri:
I was born James A. Ranieri on Dec 20, 1961 in Smithtown N.Y. to Mario and Dora Ranieri. Mario was the middle child of 5 boys. He was the first one born in the US in 1918. My Grandparents came here from Italy in 1916. Dora was a WWII bride who met my Dad during the war and came to the US from Wales 1946. I graduated from Hauppauge High in 1979. That is where I met and dated my high school sweetheart and future wife Doreena.
I grew up around small restaurants, luncheonettes and delis as a kid. I loved to eat and was always watching my mom and grandmother, sisters and friends in the kitchen. Both of my grandmothers were excellent cooks. My Mom’s mom cooked for royalty in Wales and my mother learned Italian cooking from my Dad’s mom here in the states when she arrived. I worked in the racehorse business also and joined the US Navy in 1981. I served my country for 20 years and retired in 2001 as a senior Chief Electronic Technician. While in the Navy, I went back to school and earned my AS Degree in Culinary Management where I graduated with honors and made the Dean’s list.
I became a partner in a restaurant in 2001 which was a good learning experience and later was recruited to Re-Open the Chief Petty Officers’ Club at Mayport. I re-designed the entire menu with my own flair and soon had the place packed daily for lunch and catered affairs. After a disagreement with management, I decided to go back to work in the electronic field and took a job at Fleet Readiness Center South East at NAS Jacksonville. I worked as a calibrator, production supervisor and now as a Fleet scheduler for 13 years. My wife Doreena and I were married on April 8, 1984 and have 3 sons, Keith, James and Daniel.
My love for food has taken me all around the world. My travels in the Navy always made me look for the different cuisines in the numerous places I visited around the world and in the United States. I worked in several food establishments while I was in the Navy in Charleston SC and in Jacksonville FL all with different types of cuisines, styles and methods. I collect cook books for a hobby and have close to 1000. I love to share with people what I know and that is why I volunteer my services at the club. I tell people all the time that I’m just a good cook who is passionate for food and remember that there are no “rules” in cooking. Don’t ever be afraid to try to do it! After all, it's not brain surgery, it's just cooking. Last but not least, do not ever be afraid to ask, you might just be surprised what you learn when you get the answer. And to quote one of my cooking idols ( Lidia Bastianich) I like to tell people “Tutti a Tavola a Mangiare”