Mr. Chiavaroli’s Homemade Hospitality

A+dinner+in+2018.+Credit%3A+Chiavaroli
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Mr. Chiavaroli’s Homemade Hospitality

A dinner in 2018. Credit: Chiavaroli

A dinner in 2018. Credit: Chiavaroli

A dinner in 2018. Credit: Chiavaroli

A dinner in 2018. Credit: Chiavaroli

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Williston students have off-campus options every weekend, from trips to the movies, the mall, Northampton, and any number of other exciting places. There’s one destination, however, that serves up a whole different, and tastier, experience.

Mr. Chiavaroli has been hosting dinners for nearly all of his professional teaching career. Twice every term, about six boarding students sign up, head out to Chiavaroli’s house in Hatfield, and eat a delicious, homemade Italian meal. [Dinners previous years took place at his former home, in Northampton.]

The informal get togethers take place at the history teacher’s house, located on a 10-acre farm complete with cows and chickens. The location is pastoral, the food is fantastic, and the whole experience gives students a taste of home.

“It was the best food I’ve ever had,” Campbell Nyarady, senior, said. “We had carbonara and other kinds of pasta. It was also fun to have a lively conversation about many topics, like soccer.” [Chiavaroli is the Boys Varsity Soccer coach.]

Sophomore Anne-Valerie Clitus, from Irvington, N.J., enjoyed the dinner she went to. She felt, for the night, part of Chiavaroli’s warm family, which includes his wife, Kathryn, and three-year-old son, Stefan.

“I absolutely loved the food, his family, and his farm, everything,” Anne-Valerie said.

Mr. Chiavaroli started to make delicious dishes for students because he wanted the kids, many of whom live far away from home, to get a break from their routine and get a taste of homemade food.

He was a boarding student at Choate Rosemary Hall and attended Kenyon College, in Gambier, Ohio. He remembers being a student, and “missing food at my house badly, so I want boarding students to feel relaxed by eating homemade food.”

Also, he said his dinners are a way for students to get out of the typical high school experience. “Visiting a teacher’s house and socializing with me as a person, not a teacher, is special,” he said. “It helps them to reset their mind and gives them energy.”

Chiavaroli said hosting these dinners is just another way, besides teaching and coaching, that he can reach out and make the boarding school experience unique for students. “The most important thing about teaching is the relationship with students,” he said. “Hosting them can show that I want to do something extra for them.”

Chiavaroli first got the cooking bug while studying abroad in Italy in college. He started out cooking Italian food, and now he can tackle cuisine from all over the world, including French, Mexican, Chinese, Moroccan, Indian, and African dishes.

“Food is one of the best ways to sense different aspects of culture,” Chiavaroli said. “Students can ultimately live the lifestyle a little bit.”

In Italian and history classes while teaching at Choate, Chiavaroli would cook Italian food from a region where students were studying; as a treat, he gave his students food from a different region after every test.

His homemade dinners aren’t Chiavaroli’s only food-related trips; in World Civilization, he’s taken two classes on restaurant trips, one to Moti, a Persian restaurant in Amherst, and another to Glory of India, an Indian restaurant in Easthampton. Also, after the Africa unit, he cooked African food in the class and served it to students.

There’s more to the meals than just the food, however. When he was still living at home, Chiavaroli said his parents instilled in him a strong “table culture,” one in which his family always sat down to dinner together and proper manners and conversation were stressed.

“Table culture in my house was incredibly strong,” he said. “Even if we were fighting each other, we sat at a table together.”

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