I’ve been cooking since before I was 8 years old. It started in my mom’s Italian-American kitchen. The first food memories I have are of making chocolate chip cookies, watching my grandmother roll pasta dough out the length of a table, and gazing from a kitchen stool as my mom worked magic with flour, sugar, eggs and butter. Even back then, I would constantly change recipes until I got them to taste exactly how I wanted. At that time, this meant adding my favorite food, chocolate, to everything and taking out walnuts. My mom indulged me except when I wanted to add chocolate to the ravioli and take the walnuts out of rocky road.
Cooking, and especially baking, have always been my passions. I would gawk at pastry shop windows like most other girls do at Tiffany’s window. I was dazed and amazed at those edible jewels in the window, and always wanted to be the one to create them.
After a few years as an English teacher, and some say during a quarter-life crisis, I decided to make my passion my profession. I went to Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and received a “Grande Diplome” in both savory cooking and pastry arts. I chose Le Cordon Bleu Paris because I was head over heels in love with the city and its patisseries. I interned at a patisserie in Paris (yelled at daily in French by my chef). After Paris, I returned to California and worked in the pastry department at Julia’s Kitchen in Napa and as a culinary instructor for COPIA. Currently I work mainly as a personal chef and culinary instructor.
I love Italy and France. You could say, I grew up in an Italian kitchen but trained in a French one. Both countries and cuisines have a lot of similarities (neither will admit to it), but also a lot of differences.
I still have family in Italy, and have traveled extensively throughout the “boot” and Sicily over the last 15 years. I lived in Paris for almost 2 years while attending Cordon Bleu and while completing my internship. I continue to travel to both countries every year.