Loro is outdated in different sense. And that's when you refer to more people as "you". In Italian, in comparison to English you distinguish between formal and informal pronouns. You call friends, relatives and coworkers "tu" and others "Lei". The plural form of this (the formal pronoun) is "Loro" but is a bit outdated. You use voi in both cases. But when talking about "they", "loro" is actually on point and other pronouns (namely "esse" and "essi") are considered outdated. The same with "egli" = "lui" and "elle" = "lei". Duolingo actually does good job with teaching pronouns actually used in modern Italian.
I got it right because of what I suspected -- but on a desktop with decent speakers I find the "cuochi" something of a mumble -- and in this case both the "normal" speech and the "slow" speech was not intelligible. I don't know HOW to report this because "your computer program is screwing up" is not an option.
"Cuochi" means "cooks". In my understanding, "chef" is a cook of higher status who oversees the "cooks". The word "chef" is the same in English and Italian (http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090717115249AAteZFe).
that moment when you realise that English is so weird that it changes it's "people-who-does-something" rules with no apparent reason...
it would make more sense being "cooker" instead of "cook", i guess... even more because it's not the actual cooker that cooks the food, but it's the cook who cooks the food. the cooker should have another name...
Yes, "sono" is used for both "io sono" (I am) and "loro sono" (they are).
But given the nature of the verb "essere" (to be) and the rules of Italian grammar, there should never be any confusion.
"Sono un cuoco" can only mean "I am a cook".
"Sono cuochi" can only mean "They are cooks".
Do you see why that is?
"Cuochi" is a noun, not a verb. This is "They are cooks" as in "They are people-who-cook".
"He is a cook" = "Lui è un cuoco".
"They cook/they are cooking" would be "loro cucinano", or if you wanted to emphasize that it's in the middle of happening right now, "loro stanno cucinando".