Novel Partnership Between Charity, Restaurant & Specialty Olive Oil Importer Brings “Taste for Health” To Upscale Diners

January XX, 2005 - The Breast Cancer Alliance, the fourth largest private non-profit organization funding breast cancer research in the United States, has launched a unique, multi-faceted health education initiative.
This initiative, styled Taste for Health and underwritten by the upscale Ramze Zakka Restaurant Group, operating in Westchester County, New York and Fairfield County, Connecticut, and specialty olive oil importer/distributor Monini North America, promotes the benefits of a healthy “Mediterranean” diet in preventing cancer and other diseases. The Mediterranean diet tends to be high in Omega 3 fatty acids, rich in anti-oxidants, high in protein, low in fat and saturated fat, high in fiber, and foods not overly processed or preserved. It is widely noted by doctors and nutritionists as beneficial in preventing cancer and other diseases, including breast cancer.
Zakka Restaurant Group Executive Chef DeAngelis and Dr. Barry Boyd, Director of Integrated Medicine at Greenwich Hospital and author of the upcoming book “The Missing Link: Obesity, Insulin, and the Cancer Connection – The True Basis for Integrative Cancer Care collaboratively reviewed menus at all five of the Zakka restaurants to identify items and ingredients proven beneficial in assisting cancer prevention and treatment. These items were then listed on stylishly designed table tent cards prepared for each restaurant, featuring on one side Mediterranean-style menu items, including known “cancer-preventive” ingredients, with Dr. Boyd’s statement that they are beneficial in assisting cancer prevention.
On the opposite side, logos of all the Zakka restaurants – Mediterraneo and Terra of Greenwich, Solé of New Canaan, Acqua of Westport and Aurora, in Rye, New York — appeared with the logo for Monini Olive Oil (identified as the olive oil of choice at Ramze Zakka’s fine restaurants) and the Breast Cancer Alliance’s logo along with an invitation to diners to contact the Breast Cancer Alliance for more information concerning the topic of healthy eating.

Mark Murphy, General Manager at Mediterraneo, whose own mother is a breast cancer survivor, says the Taste for Health tent card promotion was a big hit with restaurant patrons and generated a lot of interest in the Breast Cancer Alliance. “We had to buy plastic holders for the tent cards in all of our restaurants because diners couldn’t keep their hands off of them and they started to show wear and tear after only a few days,” he said. All costs associated with preparing, printing and displaying these insightful cards generously were underwritten 100% by the Ramze Zakka Restaurants for the benefit of the Breast Cancer Alliance.

The tent cards were only the beginning. On the weekend of January 7-9, all five of the Zakka Restaurants made a donation to the Breast Cancer Alliance for every meal served. This resulted in a banner weekend where more than 180 diners ate healthy meals, including Carpaccio of yellow fin tuna, grilled yellow wild striped bass and grilled organic chicken paillard. Their patronage resulted in a donation of $7,000 to the Breast Cancer Alliance by the restaurants’ generous owner, Ramze Zakka.

“This promotion was a novel way to better establish our restaurants by involving them in a community effort focused on health education. We were pleased to be able to benefit the Breast Cancer Alliance, a local, niche charity that has done a great deal for our customers and our communities,” said Executive Chef DeAngelis. “This was the perfect opportunity for us to market our product in a constructive way, focusing attention on the health benefits we bring to everyone’s table,” added Petrini, who graciously sent diners home with a gift bag containing an olive oil tasting guide, menu tips, a sample bottle of extra virgin olive oil, and a Breast Cancer Alliance brochure.

Even more, diners got the message, too. “It’s nice to know that eating a healthy meal can be so tasty. It inspires me to look for simple, healthier solutions when I cook at home,” said Solé diner Madeleine Winkles. “I’m very pleased to see this,” commented Patricia Valenti while dining at Aurora in Rye. “I lost my mom to breast cancer so this means a lot to me. I love this restaurant, but this effort makes it go up even more in my book.”

Tracy Holton, Alliance Board member and champion of this initiative, said: “A significant part of our mission is to educate people about breast cancer. Not only will the money raised this weekend help us fund important research projects, A Taste for Health provided us an excellent forum to educate the public about specific ingredients they can incorporate into their daily meals.” Mary Ann Henry, Executive Director of the Breast Cancer Alliance observed: “Taste for Health is a novel partnership between a successful restaurant group and a specialty olive oil importer that shows clever marketing and health education can be perfectly mated to do a lot of good.”

Founded in Greenwich in 1996, the Breast Cancer Alliance is the fourth largest private non-corporate organization providing funds for breast cancer research in the United States. We raise over $1,200,000 annually for research, education and outreach programs.

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