CHEFS - Cooking classes Italy
At the Tuscookany Cooking Cooking classes, you will be taught and coached by one of our Italian chefs who all speak English. They bring generations of experience of Italian cooking and Mediterranean cooking to the well equipped kitchens of our grandiose villas.
All our chefs believe that the only way to learn to cook is to do it yourself. While they will demonstrate the techniques, be prepared to roll up your sleeves and put what you have seen into practice. The lessons are informal and the chefs are flexible and willing to add those special dishes you always wanted to learn how to make.
Meet our chefs
Paola Baccetti - Chef at Casa Ombuto
Paola Baccetti was born in the town of Bibbiena in the beautiful Casentino valley in Tuscany. Paola is a true Tuscan woman who is very passionate about cooking. Her mother was an excellent cook and Paola started learning her skills at an early age. At the age of 11 she spent about a month every summer with her uncle and aunt at their famous restaurant “Dino il Toscano” in Castelli Romani in Rome. She took an active role in their kitchen where they specialized in Tuscan cooking.
She studied to be a teacher and got her teaching diploma, but decided to stay with her great passion: cooking and teaching to cook.
In 1987 she decided to open her own restaurant “Porta de' Fabbri” in the old town center of Bibbiena and run this successfully for 10 years. A success thanks to her intensive research of good ingredients and excellent creativity! She enjoys “making people happy with my meals”: Paola now caters for private groups and other than teaching the Cooking classes Italy at Casa Ombuto she has also been catering for the Casa Ombuto villa rental guests since 2003.
Paola taught “Italian cuisine” at one of the oldest Universities for foreigners in Florence called “Lorenzo de' Medici”. She has also taught classes in San Diego and Santa Barbara (California) with great success.
Paola and her Swiss equestrian husband Rolando lives in a delightful Tuscan farmhouse in the countryside near the medieval town of Poppi with their horses, dogs and their two children Manuele and Alessia. Alessia attended a two-year course in a restaurant school and assisted her mother for 3 years in Casa Ombuto.
Paola teaches the One Week Italian Cookery Course at Casa Ombuto.
Franco Palandra – chef at Torre del Tartufo
Franco Palandra was born in a small village in the south of Italy, called Camigliano (near Caserta). At the age of 14 he enrolled at the National Hotellerie institute of Italy for a five year course and graduated when he was 19. During the summer vacations he worked in different parts of Italy in Restaurants and Hotels, studying the different regional Italian cuisine.
After graduation he decided to travel and work in Europe to study the cuisine of other European countries and to learn different techniques. He worked in England as an assistant chef and learnt a great deal in the kitchen as well as how to speak English! Franco also worked in France, Switzerland and Greece on Rhode and has through his travels and experience given traditional Italian dishes an international character making his dishes truly special. This passion to experiment and innovate gave him the opportunity to work on board the Caronia vessel of the Cunard line. His Italian restaurant on board this luxury cruise vessel was a great success and he was appointed head chef of the restaurant.
Franco lives with his girlfriend (Paola) and his dog in Arezzo, where he works as a chef in one of the top restaurants in the medieval old town. During his free time Franco loves doing freelance photography and helping out at the dog refuge center.
Franco's menu for the Italian cooking classes in Italy.
Laura Giusti - Italian chef at Bellorcia and Mediterranean and three day Italian chef at Casa Ombuto
Laura was born in Subbiano, which is a charming village close to Arezzo in the heart of Tuscany.
After completing a degree in Italian Literature and philosophy at the University of Sienna, she took a post graduate course in “archives studies” in Cortona.
Her passion for food and wine inspired her to pursue this as a profession. She studied to be a Professional Sommelier and she also completed an Oil “dégustation” course. To improve her cooking skills she took courses with famous chefs from Florence, Rome and Lucca and with the “Slow Food” organization and Institute of Alberghiero near Siena. She has also completed a Moroccan cookery course in North Africa.
In 1989 she opened up her own restaurant in Capolona near Arezzo “Il Giardino Sull ‘Arno” where she specialized in functions, weddings and private dinners.
She started teaching in 2002 at an Italian cooking school specializing in Traditional Tuscan food and was happy to finally, as she says: “Unite my two greatest passions, cooking and teaching”. Her extensive knowledge of food and wine, combined with her passion for teaching and personal charm will inspire you,
Laura teaches the full week Italian cooking lessons at Bellorica and the Mediterranean cookery course and three day Italian cookery course at Casa Ombuto. To whet your appetite we invite you to look at her sample menus.
Author of the cookbook Tuscookany The flavours of Tuscany.