Michela Starita about her culinary roots and her passion for food
Michela Starita, a great chef, mother, teacher, organizer. In our interview she is talking about her culinary roots, her career path and the importance of respect and love. She has respect for nature and food and developed her own cooking style. Michela Starita always keeps learning and teaches her knowledge to the next generation.
Today you are an international known chef with lots of activities. Where/when has your journey as chef started? What has been your reasons to become a chef?
I became a chef because I love all about food.
The taste, the smell, the look – food is one of the most beautiful things in life. I wanted to know everything about food, know raw ingredients, different cultures, history behind food.
Furthermore, it is a pleasure to observe people eating. I am a mother of two adorable kids, a boy and a girl. For all these reasons my kids have learned to have respect for nature and for people who study and transform food into something very special.
Your passion for cooking: did it develop over the years or did you have it already at the beginning of your career?
My passion for other food cultures has evolved over the years and working all over the world has helped a lot, but I was born within a different Italian food culture because my father was born in Naples, my mother near Venice and me near Florence. These circumstances had a big impact on my very own cooking style. That is why it is how it is.
Which cooking school did you visit? And what was your greatest experience in this time?
I studied in one of the most famous culinary school in Tuscany and in Italy too, but I was too young to understand the importance of this huge opportunity. Later I started to teach at the same school where I have studied and at another public culinary school in Tuscany.
How would you describe your cooking style today?
I love to mix different cooking methods and different raw ingredients to reinvent a traditional course in a different style. Perhaps the word “fusion” would describe my style.
I love to mix Asian, Arabian, European food culture but I also love to create typical Italian food with a special touch – caused by a spice or an unusual ingredient. But to do so I must have respect for food!
“Treat food like you treat a baby or a woman – with a lot of respect and love.”
My students know this important lesson:
You must treat food like how you treat a baby or a woman – with a lot of respect and love. Because if you love food, food will love you! To internalize that you must know and study a lot and never stop learning.
You are member of the ICF. What are your activities in this famous Italian chef organisation?
I am a member of the Italian Culinary Federation and I’m very proud of it!
Your experience as a chef teacher: what makes this job so special? What is the best about being a chef?
Now I am teaching Italian and foreign students at a private school in Florence. I love teaching my passion, because for me it is not just a job, but a pleasure – it is a lifestyle! But my job is much more – I teach, organize and realize events, research and develop in many culinary companies, from cooking equipment to raw ingredients.
I love my job! I love being a chef!
Your roots are in the region between Florence and Lucca. What is the very typical speciality/recipe out of this region?
Nobody forgets his roots. For this reason, when I attend a special event in Italy or in the world, I suggest cooking the Italian way – for example at Cibo Nostrum, a huge event in Sicily, in Taormina.
You took part at the CIBO NOSTRUM. What did you present?
At my booth I offer the most famous Tuscany street food “Lampredotto with green sauce in a Focaccia dress” but with a special cocktail created exclusive for me by a mixologist.
This cocktail is a mix of celery, lime, orange, a special Sicilian Amaro, Vodka and soda.
I have a special team by my side to realize this. And for me this is the secret of becoming a winner – always work together!
Thank you, Michela, for this interesting insight into your work.