Since childhood, I have known good food and the art of eating well. I come from a family of Italian cooks and dedicated gardeners. Our Sunday lunches were always filled with heaping plates of homemade pasta and succulent braised meats, served alongside tender greens gathered from our gardens. During my childhood, no one left our home hungry or empty-handed (a habit my son has now adopted by giving away our precious tomato sauce).
As much as I was exposed to great cooking, my understanding of the visual impact of a meal beautifully presented came later, when I went to study at the Sorbonne in Paris. During my year abroad, I interned at an American magazine where I had access to movie premieres, fashion shows, and restaurant openings. I took advantage of every chance to explore the city and to study the French language.
I FELL IN LOVE... madly, deeply with everything French: their open air markets, endless galleries and effortless chic style. I purchased my first Hermes scarf at the annual trunk sale. I ate only cheese and bread for a month, but really good cheese and really good bread.
When my year was up, I didn’t want to come home, but I did, and completed both a Bachelor of Arts degree and Bachelor of Human Ecology in Foods and Nutrition.
I also started the serious study of French cuisine. I read cookbooks like someone reads a textbook, highlighting passages, marking pages, and spilling tea on the covers. My textbook trinity was and still is:
Mastering the Art of French Cooking,
La Varenne Pratique,
and ï Larousse Gastronomique
I cooked and cooked and cooked, but cooking alone wasn’t enough. I still wanted to go to culinary school to get my hands really dirty, test my stamina and see if I had what it takes to become a “Real Cook," instead of one who just dabbles in the craft. So I attended culinary school in Paris, on a scholarship by Julia Child.
Now, what to do with all this knowledge I had gathered? I opened a cooking school in my hometown of Winnipeg. Why Winnipeg you ask? Well, I fell in love for a second time. This girl got married to a guy named Mike, who also happened to lived in my hometown.
For over a decade, my cooking school was a warm and inviting place, with an old world charm. The school flourished and I taught hundreds of student to cook, to appreciate eating well and to set a beautiful table.
BUT as I started to have children, I needed to give them more of my time and attention. So I closed the school and wrote two cookbooks: Appetizers: Easy and Delicious; and Our Jets at Home: Favourite Recipes and Foods to Share. But I also continued to style food and travel back to France.
Now that my children have launched, I’ve begun teaching again, and I found my way back to what I love to do most: Cooking, teaching, and creating a beautiful table.
I hope you enjoy the recipes and other tips on home and travel on this site, and I hope that my culinary journey will nudge you into the kitchen.
Please feel free to say hello.