Chianti Cooking Experience is made up of a team of Tuscan chefs bound together by their love and passion for excellent food and wine, and their desire to communicate the cultural tradition of their home-place. The Company was started 15 years ago by Elisa and Gabriele, and today it is run by Joshua (her son) and Paola (a friend, and a co-worker for the last 7 years) with lots of energy, a positive attitude and a deep passion for cooking and communication.
Every day they try to make the best food choices (aimed at sharing) to communicate through their work their values, the benefits of their experience and their hopes. As they say, “We are passionate about what we do and we have found that this is the most authentic way to inspire and inform other people to love good food and pursue a good life.”
They love to innovate, mixing unusual flavours with traditional recipes and they invest time in scavenging for organic and locally-grown produce.
The secret to their delicious cooking lies in the freshness of their ingredients and the simplicity of their style.
His love for food and cooking started in the family. From childhood he was breathing a variety of wonderful smells – “there was always something good cooking on the stove, and I am so grateful to my grandfather and to my mum for sharing their passion with me.” Cooking is about passion, about playfulness, about the joy of life. In fact, since he was a child, one of his favourite pastimes was cooking. Later he was fortunate to be able to professionally train and achieve a deeper understanding of cooking styles and techniques. He also really enjoys seeing how a good meal makes people feel – “it makes them happy and that makes me happy!” He enjoys cooking all kinds of food: vegetables, fish and pasta are among his favourites but he must confess that his Tuscan origins really show up when he starts to cook meat – “I am a specialist in grilling, roasting and stewing! “
"Eating is a way to get deeply in touch with a land." (Jean Brunhes)
Paola was born in the heart of the Chianti Classico wine region, in that quintessentially Tuscan countryside ambiance. Her father came from Emilia Romagna and was a great pasta maker, it is with him that Paola started making pasta as a child, and after many years taught this tradition to her 4 children. As a true “donna Toscana”, the daily choice of cooking and eating good food has always been close to her heart. She has written a Recipes Book for Healthy Eating for all the family, and, about 12 years ago, started to give classes on healthy cooking. When she met Elisa (founder of CCE), she started to collaborate with her as a teacher chef. What she loves most in this activity is the pleasure of sharing recipes and good food, helping to make the customers' Tuscan holidays an unforgettable and unique experience. By having fun/enjoying? preparing traditional Tuscan recipes together with her clients, Paola cultivates the beauty of cultural, human and social exchanges and the joy of "contaminating" traditional cuisine with new ingredients.
"We can't think well, love well, sleep well, if we don't eat well."(Virginia Woolf))
Gabriele was born in San Casciano, a beautiful town nested in the Chianti hills half-way between Florence and Siena. His family has lived in this wonderful part of Tuscany for generations, more than four hundred years in fact! His grandparents were craftsmen and farmers and from them Gabriele acquired his passion for natural animal farming and land cultivation. Now, after many years of working the land, Gabriele has returned to the job of his youth, working as a vibrant host and personal chef. He has trained as a ‘pizzaiolo’—a pizza chef, and can guide you through the process of making ‘real pizza’ in a wood oven.
"Life is a combination of pasta and magic."(Federico Fellini)
"Eating is a way to (embody? Incorporate ? Absorb) a habitat get deeply in touch with a land." (Jean Brunhes)
We feel strongly what we do and we have found that this is the most effective way to inspire and inform people to love good food.
Healthy food: we do not use frozen food nor junk food.
Seasonal food: Why eat bland, greenhouse-grown tomatoes in December when you can eat juicy, sun-ripened tomatoes in summertime?
Local food: From the local farm straight to your plate – when you buy locally you know where your food comes from while also supporting small farmers.
Organic food: It is good for us, for the earth, for our future.
Cooking: The satisfaction and joy of preparing, cooking, waiting and finally …eating!
Cooking and eating together is one of the great joys of life. So, it should be fun too. At CCE we are fortunate to have grown up in typical Italian families, where we eat together and as we enjoy one meal we are already planning what we will eat the next one. We love to share such eagerness with you. Whatever you choose – a catered meal or a cooking lesson – prepare to slow down, relax and savour the aromas and the flavours. We can introduce you to the heart of that culture in a warm family atmosphere.
Italy and especially Tuscany are also famous for the great tradition of shopping for raw materials at the local outdoor produce markets. And we do this as well, making good use of our local suppliers, most of whom we know personally. Fruit and vegetables are bought from local farmers whenever possible. Grains, flour, and pasta come mainly from the Tuscan region. Meat, eggs and dairy products are also mostly locally produced, with a few exceptions such as for cow milk cheeses and some cold cuts. If we unable to source all the ingredients we need from small producers, we choose to buy organic products in the local supermarket.