We’re all about having fun in the kitchen, and a big part of that is the passion and personality of the chefs, who lead our cooking classes. Many of our chefs have a love of local ingredients — in fact, that seems to be a prerequisite to being a chef — and Chef Paola has that passion, and more, in her classes hosted at Casa Ombuto, home to our Tuscookany: Italian Cooking trip. Learn about Chef Paola’s history with food, her cooking philosophy, and her wonderful humor in our latest chef interview.
What is your first memory of cooking?
Always around the “feet” of my Mom and Grandma when they were cooking great simple dishes. Then, watching my Mom making fresh pasta with a rolling pin when I was 12, I asked her “Can you teach me… please?” and from here it starts.
Where or from whom did you learn about cooking?
At home and at my aunt’s home. I had two aunts who were both professional cooks and one had a restaurant in Rome. I often went there with them during the summer holidays and I was always around in the kitchen, watching, tasting and smelling everything, and of course learning without thinking that one day I could be a chef… I had an interest very early on in my life. Then, I also have done more experience when I open my own Vegetarian Restaurant.
What is your favorite ingredient or food to cook with?
I love to cook vegetables in season, using of course the great Tuscan extra virgin olive oil, good local produce, the more local the better. I like to know from whom and where it came from. I don’t think that it’s important to care how they look, but how they taste. I do not like to cook tripe, intestines and that sort of thing, no no no… Apart from that I like cook and experiment with anything!
What’s your favorite dish?
I don’t have just one favorite, I have plenty of favorites, which also changes all the time, by the season. However I love using vegetables and cheese in dishes and E.V.O.
Read part 2 of our interview with chef Paola!
You can cook with Chef Paoloa during our Tuscookany culinary vacation, which includes 7 nights of accommodations, four hands-on cooking classes, and so much more.
Learn more about all of our culinary vacations.
By Liz Hall
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