I had the great fortune of visiting Daniela at her home in Rome. It was one of those wonderful life moments you'll never forget.
After weeks of Skype conversations, I traveled to meet Daniela in the place where she holds her classes, her beautiful kitchen in the heart of Ancient Rome just steps away from the site of Circus Maximus. As I walked up her sidewalk, I found myself giddy, excited to meet this wonderfully passionate woman who’s grown up eating, learning, mastering, and teaching others about traditional southern Italian cooking. I knocked on her door and as soon as she opened it, a giant smile came across my face. There’s something about her warm spirit that makes you want to give her a hug - so I did.
Daniela invited us in - we talked shop, all the while she and her lovely husband fed us delicious Italian snacks interjecting with tips on the best pastas, cheeses, olive oils, and restaurants to visit during our next-up travels to Naples and Sicily.
I promise, when you do your first online cooking class with Daniela, you’ll want to reach through your computer screen to give her a hug. For those fortunate enough to travel to Rome, a visit to her cooking class is a must. While cooking together, she'll tell you about Italian cuisine, traditions of food culture in Italy, and she'll probably mention her son, who's also a highly regarded chef.
Chef Daniela was born in Naples, but lived in Rome since she was a child. She’s a true expert of Southern Italian cuisine and has been highlighted in countless magazines and TV features, including BBC’s Rhodes Across Italy, Afar Magazine, Olive Magazine, and the Saveur Travel Guide. She even welcomed Mark Bittman, former New York Times Food Columnist, into her home. Her 5-star Trip Advisor reviews speak for themselves.
Chef Daniela spent time in New York as a young child where her father worked with a luxury hotel chain. Daniela worked alongside him to help entertain clients, prepare traditional Italian dinners and showcase authentic Italian culture. When she returned to Italy, she continued a hospitality career with Alitalia Airlines. After 25-years, she decided to make the jump to pursue her true love, food.
She joined the renowned Italian Cooking School Gambero Rosso and the French Culinary School Le Cordon Bleu, and the rest is now history.
Daniela’s classes include favourite dishes like Cacio e Pepe (which we wrote about in an earlier post), Pasta alla Norma, Eggplant Caponata, (both dishes native to Sicily and made with fried eggplant) Suppli di Riso (deep fried risotto balls - similar, but different to Arancini which you might be familiar with from restaurant menus), Tiramisu, (!!) and Neapolitan Style Beef (omg it’s so good) among lots of other dishes.
If you want a little taste of her recipes, you can visit her website. I'd recommend testing your hand with this fantastic Limoncello recipe!
Chef Daniela’s class availability is listed on the Book a Class page - with one special date worth noting. Daniela has made herself available for one lucky mother this Mother’s Day. You can reserve a private, online, cooking class with The Chef & The Dish as a gift for you and your mother on May 8. Classes must be booked enough in advance, so you'll need to book by this Saturday. What a special treat this would be for any Italian food lover!