Valeria Piccini is the owner and chef of Da Caino restaurant in Montemerano (GR).
Valeria is one of the most important Italian chefs on the international scene and an important representative of the most pure contemporary Italian cooking. Valeria's is a traditional Italian kitchen grounded in regional cooking but that, through experimentation and research, has become extremely light without losing its original identity, style and elegance.
Valeria never had professional training, but learned everything she knows alongside her mother in their home kitchen and later from her mother-in-law, owners of the family run restaurant in Montemerano (GR). In 1987 she took the reigns of the restaurant and turned a wonderful local restaurant into one of the most important and acclaimed restaurants in Italy, awarded two Michelin stars.
A revolution made possible also thanks to her husband, Maurizio Menichetti, who is in charge of the service, hospitality and wines of the restaurant. Maurizio's wine cellar, deep beneath the town of Montemerano in subterranean tunnels, is one of the most beautiful and well stocked cellars in Italy.
Valeria's cooking is both feminine and delicate, the homemade pasta is without rival, both silky and intense. Her meat dishes are incredible, the result of the study of ingredients and skill learned through experimentation. The bread is natural and delicate. Full of flavor but balanced, rich in every sense, Valeria describes her cooking as "vicina al giusto gusto" roughly translated as near to the right taste or almost perfect! Meet her at MaMa Florence in our Masterchef classes!
- VALERIA PICCINI | COOKING WITH MASTER CHEFS | 4-day series cooking classes
Luciano Zazzeri is the chef at La Pineta Restaurant in Marina di Bibbona (Tuscany).
Back in 1963, the Zazzeri family embarked on setting up La Pineta ('The Pine Grove'), an establishment on the Tyrrhenian coast near Bibbona in the province of Livorno (Leghorn) that combined blue ocean, white beach and golden sun with a bar and, from the very start, a quality restaurant. At that time, Luciano was 9 years old. Thirty-three years later the family reshuffled its holdings. and Luciano acquired the restaurant, now detached from the sea-and-sun business. A fourteenth-century document mentions an inn and hostelry at Bibbona and refers to the bay as 'peopled by wild fishing folk and poachers'. Luciano thinks that his predilection for fishing and shooting may stem from such ancestors: and to prove the point, in the autumn and winter game-bird seasons La Pineta offers a matchless risotto with a wood-pigeon sauce: a risotto alla colombaccia. Luciano Zazzeri has assured continuance of these standards into the third generation: he is assisted by his sons Andrea, sommelier, and Daniele, second chef. Together they have brought La Pineta to the forefront of Italy's top-class gastronomic attractions, esteemed by discriminating diners at home and abroad. Since 2006 Luciano has been honoured by a Michelin star. You can find him on Fridays at MaMa Florence for the Fish and Seafood Cooking classes, and starting next season, also in our Masterchef classes.
Natascia Santandrea and Maria Probst are the he two faces behind La Tenda Rossa restaurant in Cerbaia in Val di Pesa (FI) .
Natascia is the owner of La Tenda Rossa and was raised in the restaurant; now, Natascia is responsible for the hospitality and historic wine cellar and is driven by her curiosity and passion for good and beautiful food and wine. She believes that good food and wine are an art form and can lead to appreciation of life in general!
Maria was born in Traunstein, Germany, and began her culinary experience in a small butcher shop. From focusing on meat, she moved to Alsazia to work with cheese, then to Maiorca where she worked in St. Regis Mardavall Mallorca Resort with the famous restaurant of Eckhart Witzigmann and then at the Rosa Alpina in San Cassiano in Alta Badia, before arriving to La Tenda Rossa. Maria is the head chef, who can be found behind the scenes preparing the restaurants delicious dishes with seasonal and fresh ingredients. Both Natascia and Maria are our guest stars at Masterchef classes at MaMa Florence!
- LA TENDA ROSSA | COOKING WITH MASTER CHEFS | 4-day series cooking classes
Since 2004, Beatrice Segoni has been the chef at one of the most esteemed restaurants in Florence, Borgo San Jacopo.
Born in the Marche region, Beatrice was originally a fashion designer, creating a clothing line for women that focused on being elegant, femminine and at times ironic. In a strange twist of fate, she found herself in front of the stovetop instead of the drawing table, but she has faced this new chapter with determination and skill.
Over the years Beatrice has collaborated with acclaimed chefs like Marchesi, Jaccarino and Vissani, with whom she has worked closely and been inspired by. The heavyweight in a staff with a decisive female dominance, Beatrice's menus reveal the most important classic elements of Italian cuisine, of course revisited with her artistic flare and sense of color and form she has certainly not forgotten from her days as a designer.
Beatrice is extremely attentive to the quality of her ingredients, she loves to do the shopping for the restaurant to come into direct contact with the produce and personally select the freshest seasonal ingredients each day. A perfectionist, especially for elements of style and culinary technique, her dishes and presentation are often inspired by fashion and art.
- BEATRICE SEGONI | COOKING WITH MASTER CHEFS | 4-day series cooking classes
Giovanni Santarpia is the best pizzaiolo in Tuscany.
He was only 14 years old when he created his first pizza. He was in his hometown of Castellammare di Stabia (close to Neaples) when his oldtimer 87-year-old friend showed him how to use water, flour and salt to create pizza and how to make the difference just following this classic and simple recipe! Still today, Giovanni is convinced that the true test of a pizzamaker's skill is how good his margherita pizza is, without fancy ingredients (margherita pizza is only topped with tomatoe sauce, mozzarella, evo oil and basil). In 2006 Giovanni realized his dream of opening his own pizzeria: the Palazzo Pretorio in San Donato, close to Florence. That year turned out to be a memorable year for Giovanni also because he got married and had his son Fabrizio, who of course has a pizza named after him on the pizzeria menu!
Giovanni takes the utmost care during all phases of pizza making: from the dough to the oven temperature, nothing is left to chance. He loves to share his passion for pizza through cooking classes and on Thursdays he can be found at MaMa Florence teaching a fantastic hands on cooking class on the secrets of true Italian pizza and bread making.
Rosanna Passione has been working in the food world for over 20 years.
She has lived in New York and Boston where she worked as a chef. Back to Italy, she continued working as a cook, teacher and cookbooks author. Her main interest has always been the profound sense of nutrition of body and soul and the well being and pleasure that comes from informed shopping and eating. Her kitchen is a place where cooking from the heart and respecting nature are the centerpieces, with a focus not only on Italian cuisine but on openness to world cusines and cultures from her travels around the globe. A past trattoria owner, Rosanna loves to cook for her guests and share with them her use of fresh, seasonal, local produce. She is now resident chef at MaMa Florence and looks forward to welcoming you to her table