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Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Made in Italy: Mami Camilla's Cooking School

Written by  Sherry Ott
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I joke around about being out of shape, but after eight months of travel, minimal workouts, and food from all over the world, I can still fit into my same old clothes. Compared to the rest of the world, I’ve always felt fit and athletic – that is, until I came to Italy.

Mami Camilla’sI joke around about being out of shape, but after eight months of travel, minimal workouts, and food from all over the world, I can still fit into my same old clothes. Compared to the rest of the world, I’ve always felt fit and athletic – that is, until I came to Italy.

 

My month at cooking school in Italy produced a whole new level of body image anxiety. I have many names for it: spare tire, pasta pooch, rotoli, muffin top, fupa – that extra weight that I carry around my middle – it should have a little tag on it that says “Made in Italy.”

 

chef Biagio

Photo: Chef Biagio


When I signed up for cooking classes, all I knew was that I would be cooking three nights a week. When I arrived at the language school the instructors showed me how to find the cooking school (in the next town about a mile and a half away). I would need to go there to cook on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from
4:30 to 8:00 p.m., then I could stay and eat the dinners that we prepared. In addition, I could go to the school and eat an additional three times a week as part of my package. Food that I already paid for – yippee! I’m always excited about a good bargain, so I knew I would be spending a lot of time there. Although, I still didn’t know what to expect from the school.

 

When I arrived the first night at Mami Camilla’s, I was surprised to find out that it was more than a cooking school, but a family compound of sorts. It not only included the cooking school (which was held in the large kitchen of their house), but it was also a bed and breakfast and hostel. A big wall enclosed the whole compound, and inside the wall was this welcoming Italian home, a real home complete with big terraces, herb gardens, lemon trees, cherry trees, and two lovable dogs, Spike and Lola. Chef Biagio Longo and his son, Augustino, run the school. Augustino, always joking around and lighthearted, served as translator and Sous Chef and as soon as I walked into the kitchen, I felt as if I’d entered a party with friends. The cooking classes were relaxed and fun – and they contained an extraordinary amount of eggs, cheese, butter, and fried food.

 

Mami Camilla’sMami Camilla’sMami Camilla’sPhotos: How to make pasta 101

 

The cooking school also operated as a restaurant every night. There was a sign-up sheet in front of the house. If anyone wanted to have dinner there, they simply wrote their name down and joined the crowd at 8 p.m. for a four-course meal for 15 euro – easily the best value in all of Sorrento. On average, they would have about 30 people every night to feed. Therefore, as a student of the school we were busy making large quantities of pasta every day!

 

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Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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