We are in the New York Times 8Comments
We are so happy to share such great news!
We are in the New York Times and the article perfectly captures our mission, that is to promote the healthy aspects of Southern Italian food, an ancient cuisine that Southern Italian women handed down from mother to daughter for centuries and today is Unesco Heritage.
Photograph by Gianni Cipriano for the New York Times
From the article:
“STILE MEDITERRANEO Another dynamic duo runs Stile Mediterraneo, which was founded when Ms. Rascazzo, a Harvard M.B.A. who worked for Goldman Sachs in New York and London, quit investment banking several years ago to “do something to help my region,” as she put it one afternoon while showing off the centuries-old palazzo that serves as headquarters.
The business is another fully familial affair. Ms. Rascazzo’s sister, Marika, a cardiologist, is her partner and sometime co-teacher. The palazzo, situated amid olive groves and vineyards just outside Lecce, belonged to their grandfather. Their grandmother taught them to cook.
“When I was living abroad I always noticed that only Tuscany and Northern Italian regions were getting all of the attention,” Ms. Rascazzo said. “Nobody knew about Puglia or our way of eating, or our wines, or our producers. It was just Mafia, pizza, spaghetti — the usual things associated with the south.”
Missing her home region and eager to raise the profile of its food, Ms. Rascazzo, 40, moved back to Lecce, sunk her savings into restoring the family palazzo and in 2007 started Stile Mediterraneo. Today she conducts food tours, leads visits to local producers and oversees cooking classes, where guests learn to make orecchiette, sweet-and-sour bell peppers, cakes with ricotta cheese and much besides. She is frequently joined by her sister, who draws on her medical background to impart scientific and nutritional details about the dishes. (Tip: Don’t peel tomatoes when making sauce; the skin contains lycopene, an antioxidant.)
Dr. Rascazzo’s recipes and information come together in her English ebook, “The Cuisine of Southern Italian Women: Mediterranean Secrets for a Healthy and Happy Life.”
Meanwhile, the sisters’ quest to bring attention to the region’s food — and the centrality of women in carrying on culinary traditions — has received some helpful boosts in recent years.
Last year Unesco awarded the Mediterranean diet — of which cucina povera is very much a part — status as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The organization even singled out its matriarchal debt. “Women play a particularly vital role in the transmission of expertise,” says the Unesco website, “and the safeguarding of techniques.”
International food cognoscenti have also been dropping in. A team from the Culinary Institute of America has visited Stile Mediterraneo, and chefs and restaurateurs from as far away as New England, Montreal and Rio have taken courses. Mike Chiarello, the head chef of La Bottega restaurant in Napa Valley and a sometime Food Network host, is one of them.
“I thought I was treating my daughter, recently enrolled at C.I.A., to a cooking class with Cinzia and her sister at Stile Mediterraneo and that I would simply be accompanying her to learn things I already knew,” Mr. Chiarello wrote via email. “Instead, I came out of the class with a handful of new techniques and knowledge of how to make the perfect simple tomato sauce.”