Fluent Italian speaker
Non-Professional Experience – The fabulous Nonna’s of Italy. Thank you for sharing your generations of recipes.
Chef assistant: Albergo Ristorante Cane’ di Dozza – wine pairing experience.
Tutored and mentored by Claudio Degli Esposti, Modena on the science of food.
Chef assistant: Erba del re that has a Michelin star in Modena.
Chef assistant: Modena La Bianca – traditional Italian specialising in Zuppa Inglese, Gnocco Fritto
Stages in numerous schools and restaurants to develop skill in different areas of Italian food.
Director and Chef Proprietor Ama La Vita
Photograph by Tracey Tazzioli
I have lived in Italy for the past 27 years, I met my husband Marco there, and my son Oliver was born just outside Modena in a place called Correggio. All of my influential years were spent exploring the tradition, language, culture and food of Italy! I now split my life between the Wirral and my heartland of Emilia Romagna.
I am fascinated by the language and becoming as fluent as possible was key to my development both personally and professionally. So much so that I worked for Modena City Council as a second language teacher.
Throughout my twenties I wrote and created children’s books in Italian alongside Gerhard Taschner, whose books were then made into kid’s TV series!
What an adventure! However, FOOD was always my biggest passion and I was already passing a lot of my time away with Italian Nonna’s making Tortellini, Tortelloni, Lasagne and Tagliatelle. The parties I missed to prepare and shape pasta! Needless to say, I loved it!
Once Oliver went to nursery school something really exciting happened. I won the chance to go on an 8-month cooking programme for Italian Chefs who were already running their own restaurants.
Gosh I felt like I was punching above my weight but I had a good level of skill, a strong reputation and I was known to be extremely reliable. I started working in the Kitchens of Dozza to really learn my trade. I was the only non-Italian and I really had to prove myself. It was here that I started to understand and embrace the skill that it took to change simple ingredients to earth shatteringly
From the course, I went to work at the prestigious Albergo Ristorante Cane’ di Dozza – situated between Imola and Bologna in a beautiful medieval castle.
I worked alongside many chefs making a varied amount of different food cuisines from the Emilia Romagna but Chef Alberto Carnavaccio… was my favourite chef and the teacher on the cookery programme.
We had a sommelier on hand with his own canteen situated in Dozza so my knowledge on wine became quite vast over the years and wine pairing has become a skill of mine.
Whilst being a Chef in Italy I wanted to have the ability to teach so I studied at the regional school for Chefs and went on an adult course for running your own restaurant. I studied more and more refining my skill in the ‘science’ of cookery. I really loved it – the more I learned, the more I wanted to learn!
Claudio Degli Esposti was the main Chef and it was run on the outskirts of Modena. I was in charge of the risotto and this was A La Carte so quite a position to have in a good restaurant.
From then on, I worked at the outstanding Michelin starred Erba del Re in Modena.
I was lucky enough to be Chefs Help (Sous Chef) at the best traditional restaurant in Modena, La Bianca, famous for their Zuppa Inglese, Gnocco Fritto, Tortellini, Tortelloni and food the trolley of boiled meats and sauces – authentic and delicious! I promise…
I suppose I should call myself a Chef, with over three decades working in this business and after all my many years of study, but the journey of a Chef never ends, it is truly on going.
I have done a number of stages and over the years to extend my knowledge on how to dine and now I would love to bring that knowledge to you!
It was at this point that we, as a family, wanted to try living back where I am from (Wirral) and so here we are… But Italy… it’s not far away!