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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.

There are many cookery or recipe websites on the internet these days so when you are surfing and find something a bit different it makes you stop and look. Finding the website of Judy Witts Francini was one of those instances. Not only did the site catch my eye but the difference in the content. I asked Judy to tell us a little bit about herself and when you have read it, do look at her website Divina Cucina.

Judy Witts FranciniMy first trip to Europe was in 1973 and I was hooked. In college, I studied art but food seemed to be the way to unite both my passions, travel and art. Now I am Food Arts! I began my culinary life as a pastry chef in 1981 at the Stanford Court Hotel in San Francisco and united it with my love for travelling when I moved to Italy in 1984.

Arriving in Italy for the first time, it was love at first site. I began by studying Italian for one month and then began to study the cuisine. Supporting myself by working in kitchens, I learned hands-on. After three years of learning, in 1988, I began to teach, first for American students studying in Florence, a sort of survival cooking class. This led its way into a Culture through Cooking semester program , again for American students, combining some of the history of Florence and the cuisine.

Judy at marketWhen I first moved here I couldn't find a cooking school to study at, only the vacation programs which were for a full week and including hotels. I decided to offer classes for people like me that perhaps didn't want the touring offered with these culinary holidays, and really wanted just to cook. My program was called Mangia Firenze, one-day classes which included shopping the market and creating our menu for the class at the market . . . in a week, one could take three cooking days and add-on a day trip to Chianti and a walking tour of the city.

I opened my web site to promote this program and recently have changed the name to Divina Cucina (www.divinacucina.com)

Dario CecchiniIn 1998, I began to collaborate with Dario Cecchini, Master Butcher and Food God in Chianti. As well as cooking and preparing several of my own recipes for sale in the shop, I was PR . . . and Girl Friday. It was a fabulous experience and a real coming out in Italy for me as a chef. My Mostarda Mediterranea, a pepper jelly with a Tuscan twist has taken Italy by storm, being served with Pecorino cheese or roast duck, rabbit or even in Ravioli di Zucca Gialla, the pumpkin filled raviolis served in Mantova.

I teach in Florence, right in front of the Central Market of San Lorenzo and travel once a year to teach classes in America.

I am a member of IACP ( International Association of Culinary Professionals ) and also help others organise culinary programs in Italy.


To visit Judy's website, Divina Cucina - click here

Have a look at some of Judy's recipes: