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I love my kitchen. This is where everything important in life takes place. It’s where we eat, it’s where we laugh, where we cry and fight and make up. It’s where we go for comfort and where we go to share joys. It is the heart of the Italian family home. And in most family homes.

I was lucky enough to learn from my Mom and Nonna and from all my aunts, cousins and friends in Italy as well as the Italian restaurant I grew up in. I am truly blessed.

It is in my kitchen that I nourish my family… it is in my kitchen that I dispense of the wisdom I gained from my life’s experiences and everyone else I learned from.

So NOW, my mission is to share what I have been lucky enough to learn with you!

Come take a cooking class and learn what it means to feel comfortable in your own kitchen.  This is where you learn what a handful of this and a pinch of that is!  This is the school for the HOME COOK.

NOW… What happens when you make a home cooked meal?

Of course, you want everyone at the table because you just cooked that meal and you want to see their faces eating it!

If I am personally cooking dinner, it will most likely be Italian since that’s what I am. So now I have family at the table and heritage at the table. I can’t always get them to church on Sunday, but I can get them to say grace and give thanks at the table. So now I have Heritage, Faith and Family right at my table. (read the little story below and this will make even more sense!)


A Little Story

I once knew this Italian priest from Rhode Island who ran the Villa Rosa Nursing Home (near Washington DC) where we had an Italian Festival every year of which I was the chair at the time.

One day, we were talking of the importance of keeping the festival going for the Italians in the DC area and Father Carmine said this to me…

“First you have your heritage”…(everyone is somebody from someplace)

“People more in touch with their Heritage tend to be more in touch with their religion.” (Often times…heritage and religion are intertwined)

“People more in touch with their religion tend to be more in touch with their families.” (because they have the rituals and traditions from their heritage and faith that bond their families)

“People more in touch with their families tend to be better individuals.”

I’ve always remembered those words… As they confirmed and validated my feelings for my heritage of being Italian and the importance I’ve always placed on God and Family.

Thank you Father Carmine

about heritage, faith & family



Dorina Lantella Martirano



Dorina was Made in Italy (hee-hee) and born in Washington DC has been teaching people to cook since she was 19 in college!  Growing up in an Italian restaurant and being surrounded by Italian family, food was always at the center of everything in life!

So now her passion is still teaching others the importance of a good meal with family and friends–and not forgetting your Italian Heritage!

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Giuseppe Demonte

CHEF/Instructor - Italy


Giuseppe is a certified Chef/Instructor in Italy (and also part of Dorina’s family!). He started out as a pastry chef and then continued on into the regular kitchen!  He is extremely serious and technical but also just so much fun in the kitchen!  We love making him laugh!


He teaches courses all over Italy and most recently in the UK.  He is dedicated to sharing the wonderful foods of our Puglia region.

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Donato LaPenna

My Favorite.... That's what I call him! 

Donato-My Favorite.

Donato is my driver and my right hand man.  If I need anything at all he's my go to guy!  He's the first face you will see when you arrive on one of my trips!  (altho sometimes his father Giovanni fills in... but you will see... they have the same face!!!  

Also when I'm not in Italy ... this is the guy that takes care of business for me.  He helps me make your trip there smooth and comfortable!

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Pina Capobianco
aka- Pinuccia! 

Mamma, Nonna, Friend and Cook extraordinaire!


I like to believe I am a good cook... some even say a great cook... but I have never met anyone that can create the simple masterpieces that Pinuccia and her husband Michele do.  Everything on their table is made with their own hands... whether it's the milk from their goats that makes their cheese to the fruits and veggies from their gardens to the meat from their animals and the confections she makes from it all!  She makes handmade pasta almost daily and for my guests she teaches those techniques and then feeds us yet another unforgettable meal with her big smile!  


Michelle Bentley LaPenna

My dear English Friend... 


Michelle works with me when I need extra interpreters.  She has been living in Roseto since 2001- married to my friend Luigi.

She is English but has embraced the Rosetan lifestyle like a native.  So when I need the help .... and even when I don't she's there to help!  

AND she's a wonderful cook too!!! 

(ps- not related to Donato!  They are a different LaPenna family!)



Our REASON for what we do!

Without those of you who want to learn to cook… those of you who love the Italian culture and history… 

those who are of Rosetan ancestry or any part of Italian heritage...

or just crave that Italian lifestyle!... we are here for you, and you for us!

Grazie… to all of you!!!

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