For 12 years, Сhef Bruno Serato has been gathering needy kids of Southern California and serving them with his best lunches. He cooked for Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush and Gwen Stefani, but his “most VIP” guests are dozens of boys and girls who are crazy about Serato’s signature spaghetti.
Bruno Serato does not like being called rich and famous. The Chef says it’s only a half-truth.
“I am famous, but I’m not rich,” Serato laughs. “My soul is rich.”
The Chef proved it last year, when a fire ruined his restaurant, White House in Anaheim. Bruno was devastated, for his lost what he’d been building for the last 30 years. He, however, did not forget his second creation — Caterina Club, a charity club named after Bruno’s mom. It serves thousands of meals daily to children from low-income families.
People of Anaheim did not forget what Serato did for the community and raised money to help the Chef rebuild his White House and donated space and supplies so the Caterina Club’s mission could go on.
In April, White House’s doors re-opened. Of course, the first clients were children, from the local Anaheim Boys & Girls Club. The Chef promised them he would make his restaurant more beautiful than it was, and they will be the first customers.
The Chef kept his word, and made a hell of pasta in addition.
The Chef’s Club story began more than a decade ago, when Bruno visited local Boys & Girls Club for the first time. He comes from a very poor family and was underfed every day, so when he spotted a 6-year-old boy eating potato chips for dinner, Bruno recalled his own struggle with hunger.
Serato was with his mother and remembered her words forever, “Mom jumped to say: ‘Bruno, why don’t we feed him pasta?'”
Still, Serato knew that that kid would be hungry again the next night.
“Then feed them again tomorrow,” his mother said. “No child should go hungry.”
This was on April 15, 2005. “I have not stopped since that!” Bruno proudly told TODAY.
It’s been 2,000,000 plates of pasta after that day, and Bruno Serato has finally met the boy that inspired his Caterina Club. The now grown up teenager saw the outcome of that chance meeting — the magnificent white restaurant and children shoveling down Bruno’s pasta.
Despite all the difficulties he’s came through, Bruno Serato is as happy as a man could be.
“I say to myself: ‘Bruno, you’re still a lucky man. Look what you have!’”
Featured Image: Bruno Serato/Facebook