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Hotel management prof is an expert in Italian cuisine

Angelo Camillo

Hall-of-fame chef Angelo Camillo is a professor in DU's School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management. Photo: Wayne Armstrong

Angelo Camillo has earned the right to be a food snob. The Italian native and professor at DU’s School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management has worked in hotels and restaurants around the world, including the German Presidential Palace, where he served dignitaries such as Queen Elizabeth and Presidents Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter.

Camillo is an expert in Italian cuisine, wine and coffee and a member of the Colorado Chefs Hall of Fame. In his personal kitchen, he makes 95 percent of his own food—hand-rolling pasta and cooking with olive oil from his family’s olive grove in Italy.

“Italian food is so simple; that’s why it’s the best in the world,” he says. “What you find here in America is not true Italian food. In Italy, we use six or seven spices—and oregano is only for pizza.”

Whether it’s in the classroom or the kitchen, Camillo takes time to educate those around him. For instance, he’ll tell you that a certain omnipresent coffee chain perpetuates an abomination that passes for espresso only in the United States.

From his humble beginnings in the small village of Sante Croce Di Magliano—located in one of Italy’s poorest regions—to his success in restaurants and hotels in the United Arab Emirates, England, New Zealand and elsewhere, Camillo brings a lifetime of experience into the classroom.

“Whether my experience was good or bad, the students will know what to do when it happens to them,” says Camillo, who also has taught at the California Culinary Academy and San Francisco State University.

Many of his lessons could only come from his years in the trenches. He can talk about dealing with the local media. He can talk about developing relationships with local police and fire departments. He can talk about what to do when someone dies in your hotel.

“He brought a lot of practical industry knowledge to the classroom,” says Josh Robbins (BA hospitality and finance ’08), who’s now the staff accountant for the Four Seasons Resort and Hotel in Jackson Hole, Wyo.

Brian Green (BS hospitality ’08) remembers Camillo’s senior restaurant class as a hands-on experience.

“It was common to discuss something in class and head down to the kitchen for the second half of class to put the theory into use,” says Green, now the bar manager for the Little Nell Hotel in Aspen, Colo.

Camillo seems to have found a place to finally settle down after a nomadic career. Though he traveled to China for research and to teach management classes at South China Normal University in Guangzhou this past July, he can’t wait to get back into his classroom at DU and teach.

“There’s no better reward than to walk in a classroom and see 30 faces waiting for you to tell them what they’re going to learn today,” Camillo says.

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