(See Cook Like an Italian featured in the media!)
Eat. Teach. Travel.
Growing up in an Italian-American family, Monica was cooking by the age of 12, and it was her father (raised in an immigrant household) who taught her how to cook pasta perfectly “al dente”! She had a number of Old World family recipes under her belt long before she began cooking for her own kids.
The first cooking instruction she gave was to her own 3 children, who helped out in the kitchen virtually every evening. While raising them in Houston, she got to know a large Italian expat community, which helped expand her repertoire (One of the highlights of those years was being the only US-born participant in a meatball-making contest, and beating out all the native-born Italians to win 1st place!). During that same period she taught Italian language & culture courses at a local high school, which included food sections (featuring picnics with panini & affettati misti, pizza-making, home-made gnocchi dinners, and even Nutella parties), as well as guided trips in Italy. Those early tours for students expanded to include parents of students, as well as other clients, leading to what is now Travel Like an Italian.
During her trips and summers in Italy she observed and experienced differences in regional cuisine, recipe variations among families, and authentic ingredients first hand. But it was while hosting a regular “Sunday Dinner” event in her home that friends began asking her to show them how to cook the dishes she prepared. Those pre-meal demonstrations and post-meal explanations are what led her to develop the classes she calls Cook Like an Italian.
Monica holds a BA in Italian Studies, a BA in Spanish, and an MA in education; has lived in Italy, South America and Texas; and is a citizen of both Italy & the U.S.