By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Guests will be able to “mangia” to their hearts’ content, enjoying linguine, lasagna, chicken Francese, and other tasty dishes at an “Italian Sunday Feast” fundraiser for a children’s cancer charity to take place in one of Bay Ridge’s most popular restaurants on April 27.
The owners of Yellow Hook Grille at 7003 Third Ave. are turning over their kitchen for the day to Camille Orrichio Loccisano, a well known cook and cookbook author, who will create dishes for the fundraiser for the Francesco Loccisano Memorial Foundation. Orrichio Loccisano started the organization following the death of her teenage son Francesco “Frankie” Loccisano in 2007.
Frankie, a junior at Xaverian High School in Bay Ridge, died of a form of pediatric cancer at the age of 17. He had battled cancer for three years.
The foundation that bears his name helps children with cancer and their families cope with the stress of the life-threatening illness by providing practical assistance and emotional support, according to Orrichio Loccisano. The group has provided transportation to and from chemotherapy treatments, paid a family’s mortgage for a month so that the family could pay medical bills, and counseled distraught parents of cancer-stricken children.
The foundation also goes by the name Frankie’s Mission.
Frankie Loccisano inspired all those around him with his determination to make a difference in the childhood cancer community, according to his mother, who said he visited with children in hospitals and contacted elected officials to request federal funding for research into pediatric cancers.
Orrichio Loccisano presides over the daily operations of the foundation. A former restaurant owner and culinary instructor, she is also a published author. Her first cookbook, “Foodships: Living Life, One Recipe at a Time,” was published last year.
The April 27 fundraiser will take place from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.
“I’m so excited! The Yellow Hook Grille owners are letting me take over their kitchen for the day and they’re having their staff help me,” Orrichio Loccisano told the Brooklyn Eagle.
Orrichio Loccisano, who said she’ll probably start cooking a day ahead, offered a preview her menu. The appetizers will include prosciutto with baked mushroom caps, basil and coconut shrimp with balsamic apricot sauce, broccoli rabe and pancetta, and tomato and fish-smoked mozzarella.
For the entrée, guests will have a choice of several dishes, including linguine, Neapolitan lasagna with mini- sausage meatballs, chicken Francese served with an arugula salad splashed with champagne dressing, and gnocchi with gorgonzola sauce.
The desserts include fresh strawberries with mascarpone amaretto sauce and chocolate espresso cake with whipped cream.
“I wanted the menu to have diversity,” Orrichio Loccisano said. “I’m making traditional Italian dishes but with a twist. For example, Italians eat gnocchi. It’s a very popular pasta. But we usually don’t eat it with gorgonzola sauce.”
The fundraiser is the brain child of the Yellow Hook Grille’s owners, Robert Long, Jim Long, and Steve Jackson. The trio has been serving a lunch and dinner menu and an exciting array of craft beers for more than five years.
Eager to find a way to support Frankie’s Mission, they saw an opportunity to combine the spirit of food, fun, feasting and community to help the cause and invited Orrichio Loccisano to visit Yellow Hook Grille as their guest chef.
Italian music, performed by musician Sal Casta, will fill the air as Camille serves her specially prepared menu.
"When an opportunity comes along to do something for an organization like Frankie's Mission, it is a no-brainer,” Long said. “Yellow Hook Grille is happy to open its kitchen for such a unique dining experience and to help carry on Frankie's Mission. Camille's reputation and dedication is such that it is an honor to assist in any way possible.”
Attendance at the fundraiser is by reservation only. For more information, call 718-238-1089.