The Diva of Divina Cucina
Transplanted Californian- Reborn Tuscan. I have always loved to travel and found my passion for cooking. Moving to Italy united both of these and allowed me to create a life and a job I love. I had worked as a pastry chef in a 5-star hotel in San Francisco but wanted to get out of the kitchen and start to teach.
In 1984 I turned 30 and bought a one-way ticket to Europe, planning on spending one month in France and one month in Italy taking Italian lessons. In France, I reconnected with old friends and possible places I could work, but when I arrived in Florence, I fell in love, first with the city, and then a year later with a Florentine. My first years here were spent learning the language and the cuisine.My first job cooking was as a pastry chef in a private restaurant in town. After 4 years, I finally felt ready to teach. I started classes for local students in the study abroad programs here in 1988, working with Syracuse University and then began to also teach for other language schools.
In 1997, I opened my first website, MangiaFirenze, offering Market to Table classes as well. Divina Cucina was created to expand on the Market to Table program and offer full week programs exploring the area and actually meeting and cooking with local artisans, chefs, and cooks on farms.
I worked with Dario Cecchini in Panzano from 1999-2001, which was a real experience! I created the Mostarda Mediterranea at the shop. My market to table classes were the first one-day programs in Italy. As the years pass, I am always looking for some new way to share my information.
Culture Through Cooking
I am offering a Tuscan week is based in Chianti Wine Region, where I have been living for the past 12 years and The Sicily program is based at the Planeta Winery in Menfi or I can create a coast to coast custom tour of Sicily, starting in Palermo and ending in Catania.
But my true love is creating custom programs for clients. I am always inspired and love doing the research. I have been to many of the regions in Italy and have run programs in Tuscany, Puglia, Sicily, Emilia Romagna, Veneto, and Rome. I hope to share my passion and love for Italy through these full immersions in everyday life, where you will feel like a local, not a tourist.
My Taste Chianti app is also downloadable online. A little gift from me to you!
There are links on the site to order my cookbook as a real book or as an ebook.
Follow me on FB, Pinterest, Instagram…. if you want to see more photos and dream about Italy.