Here’s what people are saying about Like an Italian:
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. – Tina P.
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.
Is it possible to have a stress free, seemingly effortless experience to beautiful Italy? Yes, it is when Monica is in charge. From her recommendations on flights to the well-organized ground travel and boarding accommodations, to her ability to translate English to Italian and back again, Monica ‘s deft hand touch to all this and more made me feel that all was well and I need not worry about a thing. I look forward to our next trip with her back to Italy. – Dolores D.
Monica made my first trip to Italy effortless. I was very impressed by her detailed advance planning, her deep knowledge of Italian culture and language, and her boundles, joyful energy. The result: a fun, stress-free, memorable week in the Italian countryside and Rome. First class all the way! – Stewart D.
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.
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.
Even though I consider myself a proficient cook, I learned so much from Monica. – Carolyn A.
Monica’s Cook Like an Italian Class was SO fun! – Christi S.
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.
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.
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.
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.
My daughter and I really enjoyed the Cook Like Italian class we took. We immediately went home and made the meal for our family. They were very impressed with our homemade gnocchi. All these weeks later, my daughter still talks about the class and the asparagus Monica cooked for us! – Angela E.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. – S. 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.
A Cook Like Italian class will make you feel happy. – Kathryn 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.
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.
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 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.
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 would highly recommend taking one of these classes! I definitely plan on taking more! – Paige S.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I made those meatballs and they were bleeping amazing. I had to almost fork my family out of the way to get in the feeding frenzy. They will so become part of my repertoire. – Barbie 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Great company. Great food! – Shayra M-F
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.
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 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.
Monica, your home was so inviting & you were a delightful hostess! Thank you again for the cooking class. – Pamela 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.
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.
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 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.
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.