The Olive Garden's cooking school is real ... sort of

Olive Garden's culinary institute is sort of real
Olive Garden's culinary institute is sort of real

Advertising can be a murky world. It's hard to tell what's real, and what's not.

There really was a Chef Boyardee, for instance, although the inspiration behind Chef Boyardee spelled his last name in the more ethnically-correct manner: Boirdi.

The easier to pronouce Betty Crocker, however, was a complete invention by Madison Ave. Even though I'd like to think there's a tiger named Tony who really thinks Frosted Flakes are great, I'm pretty sure he isn't real either. Ditto for Ronald McDonald.

That's why it's kind of nice to know that Olive Garden, that most all-American of family-style Italian restaurants, isn't embellishing when it claims to have its own culinary institute. Those TV ads are apparently true. There really is an Olive Garden Culinary Institute of Tuscany.

Depending how you feel about the truth, you may feel that it's stretched slightly, though. Jaunted.com, a blog that focuses on popular culture and travel, recently "broke" the burning question as to whether the institute actually exists (thank God, because I had been up at night wondering).