Who’s In The Cucina?


My  grandmother’s side of the family is Italian.  So I grew up with the typical Sunday dinners and always having wonderful food around.  I dreaded holidays because it always meant a huge production in the kitchen.  It wasn’t until I was in my 30’s that I truly began to appreciate what went into those meals.

Eventually I moved to Chicago and the wine and food world opened up to me.  Having thought Chile’s and Olive Garden were a big night out, my taste buds exploded when I went to places like Tru or MK.  It also hit me that I didn’t have a clue in the kitchen and should have spent more time watching, then complaining.

As the years passed, I ate at more and more wonderful restaurants, took cooking classes, and discovered that those moments when you loose time and are really present was in the kitchen.  I joined a monthly dinner club and started trying my hand at all sorts of things.

A few years later I took a Thai cooking class in California and the teacher was so passionate about her food it blew me away.  She taught because she loved it.  She taught each of us in that class how and why mixing flavors made a difference.  For the first time it all came together.  The love you put into the food comes out to those you are sharing it with around the table.

The author of Eat, Pray, Love was on t.v. giving an interview and she said to ask yourself, “What do you really, really, really want to do.”  When I asked myself that question, it was to cook and share my love of food with others…especially in healthy way.

So I threw caution to the wind and made plans to go to culinary school.  I quit my job, rented out my condo, sold my car, and enrolled in The Natural Gourmet Institute in New York.  Those five months were the best.

Initially I started this blog to stay in contact with family and friends while I was away.  It has evolved since then to Mindful Meals.  I hope to share & cook some “mindful meals,”  as well as, find food adventures that may impart my love of food, tea, wine, and last but not least chocolate.

Hope you enjoy this blog as much as I enjoy writing it!

Ciao- Melissa


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