Testimonials

Here’s what people are saying about Like an Italian:

This was our first trip to Italy and we are so happy we chose to make it with Monica!  We saw the REAL Italy, not the touristy Italy.  The trip was well paced and totally stress-free and well as lots of fun.  The accommodations were comfortable and there was time for exploring on your own.  We highly recommend traveling with Monica!!  She is a terrific leader, well organized and extremely well versed on all things Italian:  language, customs, food, wine, history and driving! – Mary Ellen C  

Monica is wonderful! Our week at the beach could have been a disappointment due to an unexpected cold front, but her quick thinking and connections in the area turned it into an adventure as good or even better than the one originally planned! She is a consummate host and works diligently to make sure everyone is comfortable and happy. – Wendi W

The trip was very enjoyable.  I liked learning about pasta-making and loved the cheese shop, as well as the tour of the winery.  The food was great and I also enjoyed seeing the beautiful countryside.  Overall, an excellent trip. – Fred C.

I am already looking forward to our next trip with Moncia back to Italy. – Dolores D.

This was my first trip abroad, but it will not be my last, and it will definitely be with Monica.  She is the consummate tour guide! She knows Italy very well, and was a wealth of information.  She had a variety of great activities planned, but also left enough free time for us to explore on our own.  She was available to her travelers at all time.  One afternoon I wanted to go back to one of the small towns we stopped at on the ferry tour.  She was so helpful in giving me information about the various options for getting to the town, and what there was to do there.  It was the most relaxing trip I have ever been on.  Monica took care of all the details, I didn’t have to worry about a thing.  The accommodations were lovely and charming.  I can’t even begin to describe the food.  And when Monica tells you that a shop has the best gelato you’ve ever tasted, know that you are in for a treat! – Brenda F.

We hired Monica to teach a cooking class at a corporate retreat we were hosting outside of Austin. The stakes were high and we had several senior members of the team there. Monica and Mark exceeded all expectations. Not only was the cooking class fun and informative, but Monica communicated well leading up to it which made things so much easier for me when managing logistics for the event as a whole. She was particularly helpful in walking me through the menu options, and tailoring it to fit our budget and the dietary needs of our group. On the day of the event, Monica showed up early to prepare the space, kept everyone engaged with a demonstration that was both fun and informative, and left the kitchen sparkling clean. The food was delicious, and our group went on to have one of the best team dinners any of us had ever experienced. Would 100% percent recommend, and will definitely hire again for future events. Thank you so much for making that night special! – Ethan B.

My wife and I recently went on a group trip to Italy with Monica.  We had a great time because Monica did a fantastic job organizing shuttles, hotels, restaurants and wineries.  She has exceptional people skills and knows how make you feel comfortable in every situation.  Monica is easy to be with, has a wonderful sense of humor and gracefully navigated any bumps in our itinerary.  She speaks fluent Italian and Spanish,is highly intelligent and understands Italian culture.  We highly recommend her as a tour guide and look forward to our next trip with her.  5 stars!Joe B.

Traveling with Monica is the only way to go to Italy!  She took care of everything from her itinerary, knowledge of locations, suggestions and recommendations, communicating with guides, and on and on.  The trip was so well curated and thoughtfully executed.  Talk about a stress free vacation!  We definitely have more trips with Monica in our future! – Melissa J.

I went on the Prosecco trip with a great group of women, and learned the difference in a DOC and DOCG wines (I now look for DOCG!!).  The B &B where we stayed was beautiful and the owner very gracious. Monica did an excellent job of organizing the trip and getting us from place to place. I would definitely travel with Monica again! – Toni O.

At Montebello we stayed at the former monastery, founded in the 1300s and nestled in nature with a spectacular panoramic view of the hills of the Marche region.  We learned the story of the family that revived the entire area in the 1970s; restoring the buildings, and bringing the surrounding fields, woods and hills back to life.  We toured the pastificcio, the monastery, a cheese shop, and the museum to farming.  It’s a special place run by special people who treated us like personal guests, not like tourists. Bellisimo! – Rose P.

Monica’s knowledge of Italy is impressive, and more importantly, the passion she has and the ability to share it. I learned so much about this beautiful country from a talented person. – Molly S.

The trip to Italy with Monica was a trip of a lifetime for me. Monica planned this trip impeccably. She chose the most gorgeous B&B, and the tours to the vineyards were so enlightening. – Glenda W

Even though I consider myself a proficient cook, I learned so much from Monica. – Carolyn A.

Monica is engaging, talented and makes cooking interesting and enjoyable. She has a wealth of knowledge with which to provide numerous helpful tips and tricks, resulting in mouthwatering food and a delightful evening. One feels as if one is taking part in a family dinner versus a cooking class. Need I say that the food is fresh and delicious! Buon appetito!  – Ersilia A.

So many things to mention!!  I loved listening to you and your guest chef speaking Italian.  I loved meeting interesting folks.  I loved feeling welcomed into your home.  I loved trying to make meatballs with spoons, who knew!  It was a fabulous experience all the way around, and I hope to join you many more times!! – Fran A.

We took Monica’s Cook Like an Italian Class to celebrate a friend’s birthday. While sipping on wine and laughing with friends, Monica took us through each step of making our own gnocchi.  The end product was amazing!  What a fun and delicious way to spend the evening! We highly recommend Monica’s class for your next friendly get together! – Susan A.

An evening spent learning to cook like an Italian is an evening well spent!  Cooking like an Italian is more than your run of the mill cooking class, not only did we learn to cook authentic Italian dishes under the tutelage of the gracious and charming Pesolis, but we also got to sit down in their cozy home and enjoy a lovely multi-course dinner and meet our classmates.  This is a much more personable class then anything else you will find out there, and much more delicious!  – Alex B.

Cook Like An Italian” classes are like an evening’s trip to Italy.  I have attended four of the classes and each one was a lively evening of excellent food, engaging company, and a better understanding of what an authentic Italian meal is all about. As students take turns at different tasks to create the meal, Professor Pesoli (a natural story teller) educates us on every aspect of the meal from ingredients to techniques. We are introduced to the renovated monastery in Italy that  produces the olive oil we use for sauteing garlic.  As a student stirs the spaghetti into boiling water, she provides a brief history of the ancient grains that make Italian pastas significantly different from and superior to American produced pastas. What is the proper way to slice a tomato? What are the major wine regions of Italy? How to store pesto? What is the best ratio of alcohol to lemon rind to create a perfect limoncello? There is a story, an explanation, and an education behind all the components of a “Cook Like An Italian” class. I look forward to attending many more. – Margaret B.

Monica cultivated relationships with our hosts that allowed us to see Italy as a welcomed friend. We traveled as a small group and were able to experience wine and food tastings in family-operated businesses. We were welcomed into small businesses and treated as their personal guests. And not only were we able to experience all the sensual splendors of Italy, but Monica enabled us to do so among friends. To see Italy with Monica Pesoli of Cook/Travel Like an Italian was a fantastic experience. I can’t imagine traveling with any different group. – Claire C.

Dear Monica, I have so loved the cooking classes.  Thank you! – Claire C.

My daughter and I had a blast at Monica’s Cook Like Italian class! Every detail of the class was perfectly planned, easy to prepare, and delicious!! Now that I have cooked with my 8 year old daughter, I am eager to take another class with friends! – Mary C.

My daughter and I absolutely loved your class on cooking polenta!  The wine of course was wonderful…but your explanation and direction of how the product pairs with different toppings and wines, as well as how to prepare it was outstanding!  We are looking forward to your next session Monica! – Todd C.

I attended the “Cook Like an Italian” class that taught a luscious carbonara and had so much fun! It was like going to see a really good friend who also happens to be an amazing cook and, best of all, she was willing to share her secrets. Monica’s a funny and approachable teacher; I have some experience already, but I could see an absolute beginner having no problem at all. My favorite chunk of the evening was sitting down with the class to enjoy our home-cooked Italian food (after taking pretty food photos!). Second best part – getting the recipe so I can make this yummy dish at home. We enjoyed to heck out of it, and can’t wait to do it again soon!  – Sarah E.

I initially learned how to be more “Like an Italian” through Monica’s cooking courses, which are intimate, informative, and authentic. When I heard about the opportunity to take part in one of the Travel Like an Italian trips, I just said yes – I’d figure out the details later! I’m so glad I did – the transfers were painless, the property was breathtaking, and the food (and wine!) were magical. And of course, Monica was there every step of the way to make sure I had a wonderful time. The group was small so I really got to know my traveling companions, some of whom I now consider real friends. There were enough scheduled outings to keep me occupied but also enough downtime to really relax and take in the beautiful country, a characteristic I think is really unique in group tours and the direct result of Monica’s careful planning and warm, attentive personality. I’m already thinking about my next trip! – Sarah E.

I went with Monica from Travel Like an Italian to the Lake Garda region of Italy.  We spent 4 wonderful nights just steps from the shore of Lake Garda.  The bed and breakfast Monica booked was incredible.  The rooms were modern, spacious and clean.  Did I mention that our private patio was steps from the shore?  The view was amazing.  We ate breakfast every morning at the attached restaurant.  I have never had a breakfast as good as the ones I had those 4 days.  I am still dreaming about them.  We took a ferry ride across the lake, stopping in several villages.  Each one had their own personality and specialties.  We visited an incredible villa, and had a chef come present a cooking lesson.  Not only did I learn to make pasta, visiting with her gave me real insight to life as a native Italian.  On the fifth day I reluctantly got on the van to head to Verona, stopping at the most charming winery on the way.  We stayed at a lovely hotel right in the heart of Verona.  The next day Monica provided us with a fun and comprehensive walking tour of Verona.  The history of the area left me speechless.  After our tour Monica pointed us towards the shopping areas we were dying to explore. – Brenda F.

Monica’s cooking class is so much more than a mechanical walk though recipes.  It is a cultural introduction to, if not immersion in, the background and preparation of authentic Italian dishes.  I can’t imagine a more fun evening — and knowing the secrets for Italian dishes you will want to prepare again and again.  – Jeff H.

Monica is a fabulous teacher and even better hostess! Her classes have the feel of a dinner party, but you leave with new skills: I’ve successfully made the Italian-language recipes of our class at home! Monica’s classes are a wonderful way to spend an evening with friends and I’ll definitely be signing up for more!  – Patti H.

The Cook Like an Italian class is such a wonderful excuse to enjoy good food and company! Monica is a great teacher and let’s people participate as much or as little as they are comfortable with. We had the pleasure of meeting some great new people and eating truly delicious food! Definitely recommend her class for people who like to cook… or for people who just like to eat! – Alyssa K.

I think you are responsible for the bonding that happens in your classes—it’s so lovely coming to your house to not only cook and learn about Italian food, but get to know you and the others in the class. The structure of the classes makes it all possible.   It’s interesting for us as your students to be able to meet such a diverse group of people. And, as Emeril Lagasse says, “Food is Love”, so I think the whole experience of communal cooking brings out the best in people.  – Jana K.

Have you ever wanted to know the real secrets of cooking Italian food?  Monica Pesoli, instructor for “Cook Like an Italian” cooking classes is the person you need!  Monica puts together the most amazing cooking classes, and she can teach them in either English or Italian!  Her approach is hands on, with small enough classes that everyone can participate fully, and she hosts the classes in her lovely home, which is tailor-made for communal cooking, eating, and enjoying new friends.  I have taken three classes with Monica, all of which I have thoroughly enjoyed!  I think Monica is a very gifted cooking instructor for three reasons:  Firstly, she was a teacher of Italian language at the high school level, so she knows how to get students motivated and inspired.  Secondly, not only is she of Italian descent, but she has also traveled extensively in Italy in order to become very proficient in making and teaching authentic Italian recipes.  Finally, the teaching technique she has perfected is absolutely perfect for cooking instruction.  While some teachers might spend a cooking class trying to fit in instruction on how to prepare several dishes, Monica does a very smart thing and focuses only on one dish. This way, all of the students learn detailed information and techniques for creating a truly authentic and delicious Italian dish.  Monica shares small tips that can really make a big difference in the outcome of a dish.  Whether it be how to remove stems from basil leaves so that the tough part doesn’t end up in your dish, or how to warm olive oil for toasting crushed black pepper until it releases the most gorgeous fragrance, or even how to place pasta into its cooking pot so that it cooks perfectly, Monica has the knowledge to really share the true methods of Italian cooking.   Now, that doesn’t mean that you only get to eat one dish—Monica’s classes are taught in the evenings, and she always provides a complete Italian meal, served in courses (the Italian way), so that you leave totally satisfied.  She also serves carefully chosen wines, and encourages her students to share their wine choices with her meals as well.  Once you have taken one class, you will be ready to learn more—Italian food is truly addictive, and being able to learn to prepare it for yourself, your family, and your friends, with wonderful and perfect results, is an accomplishment that Monica clearly wants to share in the very best way possible!  – Jana K.

As a European I really enjoyed Monica’s truly Italian ‘Capellini ai pomodorini’ class. The class was fun, easy and delicious. Monica has a lot of knowledge of the Italian cooking traditions and the ingredients she uses (she visited the producer of the pasta she uses in Italy! How awesome is that!?). From the teacher to the kitchen to the dish I really enjoyed the whole experience. Thanks Monica!  – Tiffany L.

Monica’s cooking class provided me with the most hands-on experience and more fun than any cooking class that I have ever taken. And having the class at her home reminds me more of going over to a friend’s home to cook a meal together rather than taking a cooking class. I will definitely be back to learn more dishes! – Amy M.

Monica’s “Cook Like an Italian” class was a great mix of hands-on cooking and cultural study. She does not only show you how a dish is made in Italy, but she explains why the dish is made differently than what you may be familiar with. Because of the small class size, you get lots of hands-on experience. Then when the dish is done, you get to sit down and enjoy the delicious meal that you made in a warm home environment while visiting with the other students in the class. – Amy M.

I took Monica’s wonderful cooking class along with my seven-year-old daughter, and we both just loved it! Monica is such the perfect blend of knowledgeable AND patient!. She makes cooking fun, my daughter had so much fun and I learned so many useful tips. Monica’s kitchen is so gorgeous and comfortable, we didn’t want to leave! We can’t wait to do it again. – Cari M.

I went to the “Pasta with Pan-seared Baby Artichokes” night.  The recipe was super easy to follow, so I wondered to myself how good could this actually be? It was the most amazing meal, with these ingredients, that I have ever had. I now feel confident cooking with artichokes.  I am excited to do cook this for my friends and family.   The best part of the night, besides the meal we got to cook and eat, was  Monica and the conversations we had with the dinner party.  Monica was amazing and she and the guests made the cooking and learning a special experience.  I recommend doing this with friends and/or even making a date night out of it!  –  Lydia M.

Great company. Great food!  –  Shayra M-F

Monica’s cooking class was fantastic! Getting to spend an evening with friends while learning to cook gnocchi and then eating our wonderful creation, and all in Monica’s lovely home–a great evening! – Michael N.

Cook Like An Italian was such a blast! First off, the class was hosted in Monica’s beautiful home in East Austin.  Immediately my wife and I were welcomed in, introductions were made, wine was poured, and we eased into our chairs, ready for class.   Monica has a gorgeous kitchen- it was such a fun, comfortable atmosphere for a cooking class!  We felt more like guests than students…  Monica had all the preparations made, and guided us through the tasks and steps to create Pesce al Cartoccio. It was simple, elegant, and looked amazing before she put them in the oven. As we waited the short time for the fish to cook, everyone shared stories about their travel adventures and the interesting people and places they’ve experienced.  After a little more wine, and prepping the salad, the fish was ready to come out of the oven.  It was perfect!  The table was set and the feast began- much like a true Italian dining experience- with great conversation, wine, and incredible food!  Monica had not only taught us well, but made sure we knew what to look for and how to repeat the process on our own.  In fact, we have made that dish several times since we first learned it with Monica.  We look forward to participating in many more Cook Like An Italian classes and we highly recommend it as a delicious date night! – Cary O.

In the beginning, all we knew was that we wanted to go to Italy in the summer of 2016. Everything else was a jumble of disparate likes and dislikes. (“I want to bicycle around town!” “I want to eat a gelato every day!” “I want to lounge around on the beach!” “I want to walk from one small town to another!” “I want to see breathtaking architecture!” “I refuse to set foot in a museum!”). The thought of putting together a trip that would make all three of us really happy seemed like an impossible task.  So we hired Monica to plan the trip for us. It was the best money we ever spent!
     In the months leading up to the trip, Monica met with us to help us decide which cities to visit, how long to stay in each one, and in which order to visit them. She helped us craft the perfect trip, based on family’s various interests and aptitudes. We ended up spending  most of our time in Cinque Terre, a couple of days Lucca, and an unforgettable day trip to Pisa that we totally would have overlooked but not for Monica’s urging.
     After the basic framework of the trip was set, Monica designed daily itineraries from sun up to sun down tailored to our taste, complete with restaurant options for each meal.  She even included some alternative suggestions should our energy level be lower than expected. We left home with printed and digital copies of our itinerary, walking us through every facet of our trip, big and small. No detail was overlooked. We referred to our itinerary regularly. It was our trip bible.
     That trip to Italy in 2016 will go down in my family’s history as one of the best trips we ever took. The thanks for that goes to Monica—and to us for having the wisdom to hire her.  – Christina P.

Monica is a great cooking instructor, both in English and Italian. My family tells me that food I’ve prepared after a class with Monica is “to die for.”  – Ross P.

I have enjoyed participating in two Cook Like an Italian Parent-Child classes, with my husband and 8 and 3 year old daughters.  The classes were delightful and engaging and our girls can’t wait to do it again.  Participating in these classes has enhanced our children’s full participation in the life of our family, a huge part of which involves gardening and preparing meals with fresh and wholesome ingredients.  I would recommend Monica’s classes to anyone who is seeking to improve not just their cooking skills, but their relationships with those they cook with and for. – Sveta Pais

I hope you have some more classes in Italian.  I think that would be a hoot.  Even if I didn’t understand all the words. – Chris R.

I love Pasta Carbonara and now, because of Monica’s class,  can cook a great one… just like an Italian.  What a fun way to learn the tips needed to make authentic Italian food. I’m looking forward to another class.  I hope you have some more in Italian.  I think that would be a hoot.  –  Chris R.

The wine tastings are a blast–very informative without being too serious or stuffy! Monica pays such attention to detail, she pulls together all aspects of an amazing evening so all you have to do is show up and enjoy. It keeps me coming back for more. – Kate R.

A Cook Like Italian class will make you feel happy. – Kathryn R.

Monica’s gnocchi class was wonderful! Her lovely home is perfect for a small-group cooking class, and she was very warm and welcoming. Her instructions and example were very easy to follow, and we each made spectacular pasta from scratch (and ate it!). I love having this recipe and being able to make a simple but impressive dish for dinner parties and home eating. Highly recommended! – Kathryn R.

What a wonderful trip. Our hostess and host were so very good at making sure all of our desires were satisfied. Their understanding of Italian culture and “can-do” attitude were unmatched. Of course, there was Italia itself. Beautiful countryside, gracious people, and amazing wine and food. Thanks to Monica and her partner Mark, the locals rolled out the red carpet for us. We look forward to another adventure in the very near future. – Bob & Egina S.

If you’re lucky enough to stumble upon Monica Pesoli’s “Cook Like An Italian” class, do yourself a favor and sign up. I’d never been to a cooking class or had an authentic italian meal, so I didn’t really know what to expect. She started off by serving up red wine (nice start) and preparing her dish – it was a special italian red sauce pasta that smelled like heaven. She then went on to explain where the ingredients and dish was from and talked about her years of experience in Italy. She went into detail about the type of noodle she used and how you have to cook it just right in order to get the perfect consistency. Not to soft, and not too hard! I’ve never been so fascinated with noodles. It was really cool. She’s a great teacher, uses all of the best, most authentic ingredients and creates an awesome learning environment. We had a great group of people, conversation and drank wine! I had an awesome time, learned a lot and would encourage anyone interested in cooking, wine, italian culture or just having good conversation to go. So that means just about everyone. Go try it out!  – Chase S.

Monica’s Cook Like an Italian Class was SO fun! – Christi S.

I had my eye on this cooking class for a while to take as a fun couple’s date, but the pasta meals weren’t fitting in with our Paleo diet.  I then saw that Monica was offering a Mother/Daughter class, so I thought I would go ahead and sign up because my 11 year old daughter loves to cook.  I inquired with Monica about my “carb fears” and she completely tailored the menu and class dates to my requests as long as I could engage a couple more families to join.  EASY!!  We had three Mother/Daughter duos cook AH-MAZING Italian Meatballs – which, I learned isn’t traditionally served with pasta (like it is here in the US)!  I expected the mother/daughter experience to be a ton of fun but I was so impressed by the interesting Italian cultural tidbits, great ingredient and shopping tips, fantastic meal pairing ideas, accompanied with some wonderful Italian wine for the moms and even some Italian language thrown in!  It was fun and easy and relaxed in an authentic Italian-American kitchen AND we were later e-mailed the recipe so we could make these AH-MAZING Italian Meatballs at home! I highly recommend this little taste of Italy on the Eastside of Austin! – Christi S.

The “Cooking Like An Italian” class was great fun, delicious food, and was hosted by a Master of Italian cooking. What Monica taught us has greatly improved our home cooking Italian fare!  Mangia!  – Egina S.

My daughter and I had the best time at a Cook Like An Italian cooking class. Monica is an excellent cook and an even better teacher. Her organization, clarity, and skill in the kitchen made big things possible for us that day. She has a gift for breaking down complicated cooking concepts into simple techniques that we could understand and have even been able to re-create at home. All this happened while while we enjoyed a playful festive time with friends. So fun! Monica’s kitchen is a magical place. – Kerry S.

I had a wonderful experience with Cook Like an Italian. I learned a great deal about Italian cuisine/culture, met some very nice individuals from Austin as well as other parts of the world, and added a delicious recipe to my culinary repertoire! The classes are a fun time for any adventurous appetites out there! – Matt S.

I would highly recommend taking one of these classes! I definitely plan on taking more! – Paige S.

I joined a friend for a Cook Like an Italian cooking class not really knowing what it was all about — It was great!! Monica is very personable and made the class intimate , fun and informative. Because the class is at her house and designed to be small,  it felt like cooking at home with someone there to give you all the tips you need! Very hands on and casual. And to top it off- at the end we all sat down to eat the delicious meal we made! Great conversation and wonderful food!  – Paige S.

Monica,  your home was so inviting & you were a delightful hostess!  Thank you again for the cooking class.  – Pamela S.

I really took in Monica’s tips on products & cooking that I can now incorporate in my own home. Plus, the dish that our group created was delicious! Pamela S.

Monica creates a beautiful, fun and festive environment for cooking up delicious Italian meals.  She also makes it easy!  I’ve enjoyed her classes in both English and Italian. She is so passionate about Italy, its language and cuisine!  – Julie V.

I have attended two of Monica’s cooking classes and enjoyed both immensely.  The classes were informative and a lot of fun. Monica plans every detail of the evening from food preparation to serving and creates a cozy dinner party. The recipes I learned have been very easy to duplicate at home too. The best part of the cooking class has been when we share the food at the end. I enjoyed the whole experience and looking forward to the next class. – Anusha W.

I had a wonderful time at my Cook Like an Italian class. Really appreciated the combination of hands-on learning with education about regional Italian cooking heritage.Great company, conversation, wine and especially food! I’ll be back for sure. – James W.

The Cook Like an Italian classes I’ve attended have really brought the passion back to cooking for me. Monica provides such diligent, step-by-step lessons and background on all the food she’s gathered for the meal. It wasn’t just learning a new gourmet, authentic Italian recipe that had me hooked the first time, but it was the atmosphere captured with each lesson. I have made many new friends congregating around the massive island in that classroom-kitchen, and inspired old friends to dig into the culture Monica brings to the table. I can’t wait for them to start up again so soon! – John W.

I love Monica’s cooking classes!  My daughter and I recently attended a mother-child class on how to make gnocchi.  We learned how to make the gnocchi dough and form it by hand into the little pasta shapes.  We also learned what makes an authentic Italian dish and the importance of fresh, organic ingredients.  Monica greeted the moms at the door with a glass of prosecco or mineral water. What hospitality!  She prepared a wonderful fresh salad and her signature balsamic vinaigrette as well as a fresh tomato sauce to go along with our homemade gnocchi.  The kids all ate together then played in the yard while the moms ate and talked.  Everyone had so much fun and learned a lot too! – Rachel Z.