A surprising thing about the Olive Garden

Most people probably don’t associate the Olive Garden was authentic Italian cuisine. Yet according to this article in this month’s Fast Company, the company actually puts quite a bit of effort into trying to recreate an authentic Italian dining experience.

Eleven times a year, the company sends 14 top employees, many of whom have never set foot in Italy, to spend a week in an 11th-century village in Tuscany and learn from Sergio and Daniela Zingarelli, a husband and wife who operate a restaurant, winery, and inn. The couple and other local experts expose the Americans to everything from how olive oil gets pressed to how to layer flavors in a Bolognese sauce. The Olive Garden employees buy fresh vegetables at a market in Florence and prepare a multicourse Italian meal.

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