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Chef Paolo Monti

- I was born (at a very young age) in a flour mill and bread bakery in a little riverside village in the center of Tuscany in March 1952. My earliest memories include the flour mill with its pond, the wooden cogs of the flour mill turning enormous mill stones with booming, rolling sounds that seemed mysterious and magic... the smell of the freshly baked bread in the morning, the crispy crusts that the baker let me taste... and the fear of a mysterious animal, (evoked for me by the mischievous baker), that supposedly resided in dark depths of the coal cellar...

- I remember the trips on a horse drawn cart to deliver freshly baked bread... - I remember very old women...(at least 30 years old!) making delicious smelling dishes for the family... - My palate was imprinted with the aromas of tomatoes, of basil, rosemary, sage, parsley and celery that they used to bring from the fields near the mill... the fish from the river, the home made hams, the chickens and the rabbits from our farm that where part of our diet.

As I grew up, from the time I was little, I always had a keen interest in cooking, watching my mother prepare food for the family, simple, but tasty dishes made with few, but genuine ingredients.I guess this interest must have been noticed by my parents, in fact they encouraged me to join the catering college in my home town Montecatini Terme, in Tuscany, from which I graduated in 1970. I studied all aspects of restaurant and hotel work as well as French and German, that I speak fluently, and English that I speak and write as well as my mother language, Italian. My cooking classes are routinely held in all three languages.

  • Striving to perfect my languages and skills, I worked my way up the Culinary and Hotel industry ladder passing through several countries in Europe, U.S.A. and the Middle East. During my career I have launched and managed several restaurants and catering operations in several countries.

  • Throughout the years I have always cultivated a keen interest for good food, primarily because I like eating!


  • After having overcome the phase where everything your parents did was old and valueless, I bored my mother with precise questions on her recipes and as to the ingredients and quantities that went into a dish, causing her some difficulties...

  • Once I asked her how she makes her minestrone and she told me:

  • First you make a chicken stock with this and that, than you chop some celery and carrot and onion and make a "soffritto" then you add all the vegetables....

  • Just a minute!? what are "all the vegetables" ?...

  • Come? tutte le verdure no? (- Well, all the vegetables, you know!!) - She replied somewhat nonplussed!... I eventually found out what they where... it was like pulling teeth!...

  • This was the case with most of her took some patience but she was more than willing to give away her secrets to her "Paolino" (little Paolo)


  • This is part of the instinctive cooking that comes once you know what the basic ingredients are and how they combine together to make many different dishes.

  • These "italian cuisine" cooking classes or "Cucina Italiana" as it should be correctly called, are designed for the Gourmet and cooking enthusiast, although professional chefs and caterers will also benefit from this course.

Cooking Classes

The goal is to give you a basic knowledge of how the Cucina Italiana is structured and prepared: the herbs, spices, olive oil, pasta, rice, combination of flavors.

The accent is on traditional and contemporary Italian Recipes, as used in the family and restuarants, using the freshest ingredients, fresh herbs and short cooking times. Italy is one of the 7 most industrialized countries in the world, italians need to go to work to pay the bills!

In spite of that, everyone eats at least one meal with the family at home and most go home and cook lunch, time is short! I have selected the tastiest and best recipes that are quick to prepare (except a few) that, what do you know! Is the Mediterranean Diet!

The classes are conducted in light entertaining atmosphere with lots of background information on ingredients, origins of the foods and recipes, but also jokes and fun, just like preparing the family lunch on a sunday!

Chef Paolo Monti, thanks to his background in hotel management, does his own web design, desktop publishing and marketing... all the while managing his busy Ristorante Alla antina di Carignano in Lucca !

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