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Learn more about Epicurean Institute through our recent Press Releases below:

#1 - Coconut Grove Arts Festival
#2 - Sommelier Program
#3 - Graduates of the Fall 2009

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Epicurean Institute is located in picturesque Perugia, Italy, which is the regional capital within the Province of Umbria.
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About Epicurean Institute : Certified by AIS Umbria AISLogo

Our Mission:

The Epicurean Institute supports research and educational projects devoted to promoting the pursuit of pleasure in food, wine, and comfort.

The Institute’s projects hold the promise of renewable interest in Culinary Arts.

Offering interactive educational experiences for students from diverse cultures, the Institute endeavors to promote worldwide acknowledgment of the need for professional training within the hospitality industry.

Industry leaders work closely with students to ensure an unparalleled educational experience.

With intensive full-day interactive lectures and weekly educational field trips, students are exposed to a truly unique experience in gastronomic-centered regions and countries.

Meet Our Faculty

Gabriele Ricci Alumni (Course Director of Sommelier Studies)
Professional Sommelier since 1986, Gabriele has served as a trustee for the Slow Food Movement of Umbria, technical expert and Regional President of AIS and owner of Beresapere in Perugia.

Michael Carroll (Course Director of Culinary Studies)
Executive Chef of the University Club at St. Georges University in Grenada, West Indies.

Claudia Cecchi (Professor, Sommelier).
Instructor at the University of Perugia and Master in “Chocolate” from the Perugia Professional School.

Romeo Mancini (Professor, Sommelier)
Member of AIS since 1992 and affiliated with the National Nutritional School. Romeo’s teaching focuses on Wine Tasting Theory and Viticulture.

Sandi Marques (Professor, Sommelier)
PFounder of Cork and Karma Inc., and a professional Sommelier, Sandi is a public speaker, wine writer, educator of wine, and member of the International Sommelier Guild. With over 14 years in the hospitality industry along with a business degree, Culinary diploma, and Sommelier accreditation, Sandi's wine expertise is well-founded and passionately shared with other enthusiasts through her company, Cork and Karma Inc.

Chef Shai (Instructor, Culinary Arts)
A graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) and an internationally renowned chef and author with her own television shows, Chef Shai specializes in fusion and international cuisine.

Claudia Cecchi (Professor, Sommelier)
Instructor at the University of Perugia and Master in “Chocolate” from the Perugia Professional School.

Cristano Cini (Professor, Sommelier)
Professional Sommelier since 1995 through AIS. In 2009, Cristano was named the “Best Sommelier in Tuscany” and won the Berlcucchi Cup as the Best Sommelier in 2006, 2007 and 2008.

Rossella Romani (Professor, Sommelier)
With a background in Science, Food and Technology at the University of Milano, Rossella brings the very important Communication Technique to the Epicurean Institute. Rossella’s vast background in Chemistry allows the student to understand the concept of wine, food and nutrition.

Our Team

Bob Lipinski, Principal Instructor
Bob Lipinski, a Certified Sommelier, is Dean of U.S. and International Studies for the Epicurean Institute. He is the author of four books—The International Beverage Dictionary, Professional Beverage Management, The Complete Beverage Dictionary, and Professional Guide to Alcoholic Beverages.
Bob was a college professor of Hotel, Restaurant Management and Culinary Arts at New York Institute of Technology, and a visiting professor at the Culinary Institute of America. As a professional speaker, entertainer, and educator, Bob has conducted seminars worldwide. He has given presentations to businesses, Fortune 500 corporations, trade shows, and conventions. He taught the Executive Staff at The White House "How-To Pair Wine with Food," "Proper Wine Service," and "Sensory Evaluation Skills." Bob has extensive television and radio experience as a host, writer, producer, and guest. He has also worked as a consulting enologist and viticulturist.

Mac Fadra, Senior Advisor
Mac Fadra is an international business entrepreneur, having developed, managed, advised and sold a number of international ventures both in developed and emerging markets including Puerto Rico, the U.K., Spain, Poland, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, India, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and other markets around the world.
He is an advisor in the areas of business planning, staff and student recruitment, marketing strategy, web site development, search engine optimization, targeting international markets for students, corporate and tax structure, and related issues.
Mac has acquired MBA and MPH degrees from Columbia University and has over 15 years of experience in international business, marketing, operations and related functions. He has lived, worked and studied in six countries and done business in many more.

Advisory Board

Gabriele Ricci Alunni – Sommelier
Gabriele Ricci Alunni, a native of Perugia and professional Sommelier since 1989, is the Regional President of the Italian Association of Sommeliers (AIS) in Umbria. Twenty years of experience as a Sommelier, Gabriele earned the title of official taster and technical expert on serving and tasting wine, including controlling the organoleptic qualities of DOC and DOCG wines. He has also served as a trustee for the Slow Food Movement in Umbria and has helped significantly in developing Umbria into an important wine region in Italy through numerous events, such as the Umbria Wine Festival. Since 2006, Gabriele has owned and operated the wine shop, Beresapere, in Perugia.

Giovanni Russo -- Hospitality and Hotel Tourism
Giovanni Russo is a well-established and successful Italian entrepreneur and owner of the 5-star Sorrento Palace and Bellevue Syrene hotels in southern Italy near the Almafi coast. Giovanni also owns the Li Galli Islands off of the coast of Italy. His knowledge and experience in the hotel industry is unparalleled and his association with the Epicurean Institute will help to make our hospitality program one of the best in the world.

Thomas LaBella -- International Wine Adviser

Sandi Marques -- Sommelier

Keri Kennedy - Morgan: International Wine Adviser


Orazio L. Gillberti, MD, Director and Co-Founder
Dr. Giliberti is an experienced educator and ophthalmologist, Board-certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology. He is a laser certified refractive surgeon with nearly 25 years of experience in eye care.
Dr. Giliberti has had a private practice in Totowa since 1988, in addition to being Professor and Chairman of Ophthalmology at St. George's University School of Medicine and at Seton Hall University in New Jersey.
He is also Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at UMDNJ, has received the Physician Recognition Award each year from the American Medical Association (AMA) and has an active role in developing St. George’s into a leading academic institution with worldwide recognition.

William J. Focazio, MD, Director and Co-Founder
Dr. Focazzio is a Board-certified gastroenterologist and successful, entrepreneur who has built a number of multi-million dollar businesses in the United States.
Dr. Focazio has pioneered a number of procedures and techniques in his field including advanced cryoscopy and has performed over 30,000 colonoscopy and endoscopy procedures over his 25 year career as a gastroenterologist.
In 1993, he founded the Endo Surgical Center in Clifton, New Jersey, that is a highly successful ambulatory surgical center (ASC) where over 24 surgeons perform a broad spectrum of surgical procedures. This was the first surgical center established by a gastroenterologist in the State of New Jersey.
Bill listed in the Guide to America’s Top Physicians by the Consumer Research Council of America, trained in internal medicine at St. Michael’s Hospital in New Jersey and completed residency in gastroenterology at St. Joe’s Hospital in Paterson, NJ.

Vincent P. Morano, Director of Operations and Co-Founder
Vincent Morano is the owner of Matthew's Seafood House, a family owned and operated restaurant in Ocean Beach, NY since 1974. Vincent has served as General Manager for the St. George's University Club in Grenada, West Indies and has been in the food, wine and restaurant business for over 25 years.

N. Isabella Tricomi, Head of Admissions

Our staff is available to answer questions and provide you with all of the necessary information to assist you in the decision-making process.

Office of Enrollment Services
Epicurean Institute
c/o The North American Correspondent
415 Totowa Road
Totowa, NJ, USA 07512

Toll Free: 888-983-3948
Skype: 631-983-3948
Fax: 914-713-3546

About AIS

Founded in 1965 and officially recognized by the Italian government in 1973, the AIS (Associazione of Italiana Sommelier) is the largest Sommelier Association in the world. It is a significant part of the W.S.A. (World Sommelier Association), one of the most important Sommelier Associations in the world that is recognized internationally.

Graduates of the Sommelier Program from the Epicurean Institute will not only possess a Sommelier Certificate with international experience, but will become members of a prestigious association and gain access to international seminars, dinners, tastings, and other events/activities that will continue to enhance their professional careers in the wine industry.

The goals and objectives of AIS are to qualify the character and profession of the Sommelier and add value to the culture of wine in the world and that of food and beverage as a whole.

Apart from conducting training, organizing events and providing consultations, AIS promotes the education and consumption of wine with a strong emphasis on food and pairing with beverages in order to heighten the quality of gastronomy in Italy and overseas through its Sommeliers and faculty.

Currently, the AIS has 32,000 thousand members in Italy alone, the largest in the world.

Membership in the AIS entitles participation in food and beverage related activities including, but not limited to, wine tastings, seminars, dinners, visits to vineyards and wineries as well as the opportunity to actively participate in official professional wine evaluations. Members also participate in conferences as well as national and international symposia for networking, continuing education and keeping abreast of developments in the field of food and wine.

“Combine your Italian Vacation with a Culinary Education” 888.983.3948