Prosciutto, culatello, coppa, bresaola, chorizo, jambon – the list of amazing cured meats you can experience during a cooking vacation with The International Kitchen. But if you really want to experience cured meats from the master himself, take a visit to Emilia-Romagna to meet the King of Parma Hams, Chef Massimo Spigaroli.
Massimo’s workshop is the 700-year-old cellar below the Antica Corte Pallavicina, and his passion is pork. His culatelli are so famous that he has hocks hanging to cure for such personages as the Prince of Monaco. To continue our series of chef interviews, we’ve asked Chef Massimo to talk about his love for cooking.
When did you first start cooking? What’s your first cooking memory?
I think always! I didn’t realize it.. at the beginning it was just a game since I grow up in the kitchen of my parents’ restaurant.. and in a blink of an eye it turned to be a profession..
Where (and from whom) did you learn about cooking?
As I said, when I was a kid, until 13 years old in the kitchen of the family restaurant, then at the hospitality school in Salsomaggiore and after with different practical experiences in Italy and abroad.
What’s your favorite ingredient or food to cook with? Favorite dish to make?
Pasta! You can prepare so many different dishes that you have only let your imagination fly…
What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to someone just starting to cook?
A great passion and an even deeper respect of the territory that surrounds you.. these are the keys of everything.
What do you hope people gain from your cooking programs/classes?
My philosophy in the kitchen: healthy, natural, flavors of my territory, everything with a respect for the environment.
Anything else you’d like to share with clients of The International Kitchen? Are there any other questions you’d like to answer?
I really wish you can come to see and live our “little world”… I’m sure it will be a once in a life experience that a food lover will never forget!
To learn more about Italian food from the King himself, check out our cooking vacation in Emilia-Romagna, Flavors of the Real Italian Countryside.
By Peg Kern
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