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CARMELITA CARUANA BIOGRAPHY

This is a very short biography and if you want more information you can visit the contributor's website where you will usually find contact details. If you wish us to pass a message on email us.

Carmelita CaruanaCarmelita has her own website which will tell you all about the Cooking Holidays she organises in Italy - naturally it is called Cook Italy and is well worth a visit - click here.

I asked Carmelita to let us know a litle bit more about herself and her passion for cooking. This is what she wrote:

I was born in Malta, the small island in the Mediterranean - sun, sea and history - with a cuisine that shares much with that of Southern Italy, Sicily and Naples especially, and also has a tradition of great hospitality.

I grew up with pastas and fresh tomato sauces, with olives, garlic, capers and olive oils, fresh fish, fresh salads, fresh fruit. My mother was a great cook whose culinary skills were well known among friends and family. No one could visit for a moment without being offered food.

I inherited her passion for food and learnt a great deal from watching her. I loved helping in the kitchen (nibbling on "stolen" chunks of Parmesan!) and I smile with pleasure when I remember in my mind the heady summer aromas of ripe red tomatoes, marjoram and basil, mint and melons.

Between growing up in Malta and starting Cook Italy I lived and worked in Paris, Lisbon, Cairo, London, Barcelona and finally Bologna. Everywhere I learnt the local dishes, learnt the local language, devoured cookery books, observed and helped in local kitchens, took the odd class, made friends, and cooked and entertained.

Staying with friends for holidays, I invariably end up in the kitchen (where I love to be) cooking for all the family, or preparing dinner parties for my friends' friends. Since I so enjoy planning and preparing meals, and then watching people savour food with pleasure, I finally decided that my passion should become my full time occupation. I wanted to indulge my enjoyment of cooking and offering hospitality, to give myself more opportunity to do what I like doing best: helping people enjoy themselves and making sure they have the best time possible.

And so, out of this background, out of my own discovery of the riches of regional Italian cuisine Cook Italy was born.

Cook Italy specialises in intimate gastronomic experiences for small groups. Genuine food as eaten in Italy. My classes are relaxed, fun and light-hearted (though I am totally serious and dedicated to good food!). I am keen to share my knowledge of the richness and variety of Italy's regional cusines, to pass on my enthusiasm for the great products we have here.

Only the best makes it to my table, a very Italian principle! At the same time I understand that even food lovers have busy schedules so my recipes while full of flavour and attractively presented, are technically simple and not time consuming to prepare. The cook should not get stressed or too tired to enjoy the conviviality round the dining table!

I am a keen Slow Foodie and share their ideals of focussing on the pleasure of real food: not sad lonely hamburgers or silly pretentious haute cusine. I approve their emphasis on flavour, on pleasure, on conviviality. I think their work on preserving the rich diversity of products made by the small "artigiano" producers at risk of extinction because of EU legislation or excessive production costs is sorely needed and should be copied the world over. (To find out more about Slow Food have a lok at the article previously published - click here).

Carmelita