Interview: Chef Flavio on his passion for food, Norcia's cooking vacation
Our chefs, and their passion for cooking, are the heart of all of our vacations. In this series of blog posts, hear the chefs in their own words as they talk about their background, their love of food, and what they hope you gain from your next culinary vacation.
Chef Flavio, of our cooking vacation "A Culinary Adventure in Umbria," has worked in variety of Michelin-rated restaurants making both traditional and creative Italian cuisine. But it's his memories of learning to cook with his family that he remembers the most fondly. In this interview with Flavio, he talks about his passion for cooking and food, and why he thinks you should come visit him in Norcia.
When did you first start cooking? What's your first cooking memory?
I started about 20 years ago with my family, and also went to cooking school for a few years while I worked in a Michelin restaurant. My first memory is my grandmother rolling by hand the fresh pasta for lasagna. She stopped in the middle of making it to watch the Eucharist on TV.
Where, and from who, did you learn about cooking?
I had a lot of experience in my house with my family. Later, I worked with many chefs in restaurants in Italy. In a small city like Norcia, it's difficult to run a big restaurant. I like my job very much, but it is not possible to do big steps. I started with traditional meals before becoming more creative. Now, guests want new and fresh modern cuisine, but I always start traditional.
What's the best piece of advice you'd give to someone just starting to cook?
It's a difficult job. People need to be sure of their choice. And when you choose, make sure to learn from many, many people!
What do you hope people gain from your cooking vacation and cooking classes?
I think people like that we have two very different spaces, both friendly classes in the family kitchen and more professional in the restaurant, so I can show the different technology we use to cook. The home kitchen is very good for family and friends, and I enjoying teaching classic Italian recipes. I like having The International Kitchen clients because it is fun to show the simplicity of Italian cuisine to them, and the philosophy of our restaurant. True Italian food is light, not heavy.
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In addition to cooking with Chef Flavio during "A Culinary Adventure in Umbria," you'll also get to experience the Umbrian countryside, including visits to Assisi, local producers, and a Montefalco winery, as well as a truffle hunt.