'Our chefs were trained in Italy'

Olive Garden restaurants, best known to casual American diners for bottomless bowls of salad and all-you-can-eat bread sticks, are going Tuscan.

In a move to give the mid-priced Italian food chain more cachet, hundreds of chefs and staff members will be sent for a week's training in Italy, to attend the company's new Culinary Institute of Tuscany.

The company hopes this will raise its profile above other national-chain eateries such as Chili's and TGI Friday's.

Few changes are expected in the menu right away, but the more than 400 Olive Garden restaurants will undergo some remodeling. Hand-painted ceramics and rustic wooden beams will suggest Italian villages to diners who may never have heard of Tuscany.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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