November 25th, 10:57 am
1- What does Pasta mean to you? How did the journey of The Pasta Queen start?
Pasta is home - an act of love, a comfort zone, edible art manifested in one dish, the simplicity, the slow-living approach, the details that make a difference, the various different shapes that can adapt to any situation, that brings feelings up … I often feel like dough myself as I adapt in every single situation and I am very resilient. That’s why often I say “pasta is my lifestyle”.
The journey started seven years ago as I was supporting my ex-partner with his business and went to a Coffee Festival in London. I was so impressed by how a very simple mixture could bring so many people together as well as being so curious about it. While I was cycling back home I thought “Is there another type of food that’s so simple and can be made by two ingredients only and still creates magic? Pasta!” But then it took me a while to put all the pieces of the puzzle together… I co-founded a food marketplace called the Stokey Food Assembly, worked as a private chef for a Prince of Saudi, organised food and yoga retreats, created a supper club brand called Chuffed and Stuffed before heading to Italy in January 2018 to enrol in a 10-month pasta course. I felt had to build knowledge, gain experience and create my own narrative which made me go back to my own Italian roots that for a long time I had neglected. For more info, you can have a look at my page.
2- Besides cooking, what are you passionate about?
I am passionate about entrepreneurship, sustainability and travel. I love working with young people, children and doing a lot of yoga and sport.
3- What sparked you to move from Sicily to Portugal?
I have lived away from Sicily since I was 19 years old, 15 years ago. I can definitely say that I am not just Sicilian but European with an International outlook. Therefore, after having spent 9 years in London, I felt that Lisbon's energy was right for me right now.
4- The greatest payoff for a chef is generally not financial. Can you describe the most rewarding aspect of cooking and teaching your audience?
It’s great when I receive students’ photos of their finished dishes and messages telling me about how much they are learning and/or enjoying the sessions with me. They know that they can ask me any question they want and I will reply in a very short space of time. I also love seeing them getting more and more curious about pasta-making and being eager to learn. And without doubt, I love seeing them enjoying their own creations.
5- Have you ever thought to operate a restaurant? What are some of the next challenges in the near future?
Currently, I am not seeing this in the near future. More than a restaurant I would love to run e-learning courses - I am busy creating them - and perhaps create an actual pasta product and also a pasta studio in which I can host experiences like supper clubs in the middle of nature. I love that my students know that all I use and create comes from my local market or it’s the best quality possible. I am obsessed with quality and seasonality. However, I am currently running restaurant consultancies that I really enjoy, as I love when from an idea a business comes to life.
6- What advantages does a virtual platform like onsite.fun bring you?
It brings exposure to a wider audience and I hope I can bring so much value to people attending and joining my Italian cooking experience. It’s quite different from other options, less traditional as it can involve foraging products, edible flowers, fermented and pickled products.
7- What would you like your attendees to take home?
A skill. I love seeing someone going from being a total beginner to feeling confident about cooking, and that they made a meal completely from scratch!
8- What are the advantages of doing this activity in groups as opposed to doing it individually?
The experience is shared with others and it is empowering when you see you are not the only one to struggle at first. I also believe that you learn much more and feel more motivated. It is a very special moment which is at its best when shared with other humans. You can also find me on IG for delicious pasta inspirations.
Find Alessandra’s activity here: Have a Gnocchi Party with your team
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