My kitchen STAR is cooking with Giorgio in my Kitchen
It’s the end of July and looking from the top down into the green valley of Pretoria life is moulded by Pasta Making. My house is full of people looking forward to learning how to make pasta and I can’t wait to teach them the simplicity of it all.
Over the past few months I have spent many Saturdays teaching and learning more and more about Pasta Making. Saturday life at my home is about people, cooking, drinking, sharing and laughing, almost like that Graca ad. There are definitely some warmer days making their presence felt and the table setting is still dependent on the weather.
My style of cooking is not ornate nor have I ever gone to a cooking school. My knowledge has been handed down to me from my Mom and my recipe book references are from the pages of Giorgio Locatelli’s recipe books. “Il Talismano della Felicita” in particular because it is the poetic masterpiece of Italian cooking. When you attend my cooking classes you may notice that I use most of Giorgio’s recipes and his style of cooking. Why? Simply because my mother Clara has given him the Italian stamp of approval, and that means more to me than any other.
In the heart of my kitchen, where I open my home to people, I want them to understand from where I share my knowledge, to get a little bit of what the spirit of Italian food is about. I would love for them to go home knowing the difference between say, Parmigiano and packet parmesan cheese, and how it adds to the dish. I hope they will remember that feel of what makes it Italian when they buy the ingredients. When they buy pasta, they should buy pasta made in Italy. When they buy tomatoes, it should be tomatoes picked and grown in Italy. When they buy Olive Oil, they should buy Extra Virgin Olive Oil and then if budget permits, Extra Virgin Cold Pressed Olive Oil which is the King of all olive oils.
Something to remember about Olive Oil is that it’s not to be used for frying. It’s for salad dressings or to drizzle over cooked food, fish or pasta.
Giorgio Locatelli is the STAR in my kitchen.
Saturday the 28th July was one of the Saturdays where there was an atmosphere of excitement. People made their way into my home, introduced themselves and were soon chatting away. Everyone was looking forward to the Pasta making and an atmosphere of festivity soon swelled amongst us.
Father and Daughter walked in a little late but they were welcome. Tall and beautiful and with faces that were happy and eager to get started. This is how I met Graham and Jeanine.
My classes had started with me saying “Giorgio here” and “Giorgio there” and in conversation the Father and Daughter casually mentioned that they had the privilege of eating at La Locanda in London not so long ago. La Locanda is…Giorgio’s Restaurant! He had signed their cookery book “Made in Italy Food & Stories”.
I will admit I was a little jealous.
That night sitting on my bed surrounded by cookery books I looked back at my day. With stars in my eyes I felt truly happy and blessed. Yes, this is where I wanted to be. Cooking, meeting people and making sure that they have authentic Italian eating experiences. I loved hearing them share their eating experiences locally and all over the world. Yes, chatting here in my Home and in my Kitchen. La Convivialità!
I love the Italian saying “Il mondo sta fermo e la gente camina” – The world remains stationary while its people connect.
I received a wonderful message from our late arrivals, “Thank you so much for a wonderful day on Saturday! My dad and I had a fantastic time!”
Then Jeanine went on, to my great delight, to describe the meal they had eaten at my cooking superstar’s restaurant. “The dinner we had at la Locanda was in 2008, so our memories may be a bit hazy, but I remember we had a grilled squid starter, lightly dressed with olive oil, lemon and chilli on a bed of rocket. It was the tenderest squid we ever had! This was after enjoying some passion fruit bellini cocktails at the bar, where Mr. Locatelli himself greeted us. Then my mother and I had fresh tagliatelle with prawns in a tomato and chilli sauce – also delicious. We drank a few bottles of a well-priced Barolo wine, and finished off the evening with coffee and a cheese board of Italian cheeses and fresh pear with walnuts. A very memorable and special night! Thanks again for a great cooking lesson and meal!” Jeanine and Graham.
Now that’s the Italian spirit that I was talking about! La bella vita.