We’ve been working with Roberta Pietrobon for over 10 years and I didn’t know until recently that in addition to teaching Italian and French, she also teaches cooking classes! After learning this I decided to ask her a few questions about it, and here are her answers…..
I always knew that you were a great teacher but I recently learned that you teach cooking classes as well. What can you tell me about those classes?
I’m not a professional chef, I’m more of a passionate Chef. When you grow up in Italy, cooking is part of everyday life. In my classes I try to convey this care and interest for what we eat, based on the choice of top-quality ingredients and the simple homemade process in a friendly setting. The history of the ingredients and the recipes tell a lot about our geography and cultural diversity.
Where are you from in Italy? What are some things that are unique from your region?
I graduated from Venice University and I commuted 45 minutes by train from my house in Castelfranco Veneto, Treviso. Every region in Italy has strong culinary traditions and iconic recipes, which are all delicious. In my region, Veneto, we cannot survive without a spritz as an aperitif, tramezzini (finger sandwiches) as an appetizer, baccala (salted cod), risotto with asparagus, bigoi in salsa (pasta with anchovies), gnocchi, and radicchio.
What are some of your favorite things to cook with groups of people?
Coming from Northern Italy I definitely like to prepare risotto, polenta and Tiramisú, but I also enjoy demonstrating how simple recipes such as tomatoes sauce, ragú, soups, and pastas can be extraordinary if prepared with passion and quality ingredients.
Are there any distinctly American foods that you’ve become fond of?
Peanut butter! It’s not common in Italy but I think it’s delicious. It’s sort of like Nutella, just not nearly as good. 🙂
How is teaching language classes similar to teaching cooking? What’s different about the two?
Teaching any topic has similarities in my opinion: you can either deliver the material in a purely informational way or, on top of that, with an interest and curiosity about that information, which helps the student to apply themselves creatively, research, study, and ultimately learn with passion. In learning how to cook, like in learning a foreign language, you can sense all of this.
What are some of your favorite restaurants in Charlotte?
I’m afraid my list is not long: if I miss Italian pizza I go to Inizio Pizza and if I want an authentic Italian meal, other than my own, I go to Aqua e Vino. My favorite not Italian food is Japanese. I mean the real thing, not Asian fusion. A tiny place, but one that I really like is Musashi.
Craig Snyder is the Owner and President of The Language Academy of the Carolinas, Inc.