Nov 12, 2009

Cooking lessons on the web--Italian style

Connoisseurs of authentic Italian meals know that their preferred style of cooking is about more than just, well: cooking. Instead, it is an art; one that embodies and reflects a certain way of life emphasizing family, quality, pleasure and tradition. The thinking: creating a satisfying eating experience creates a more satisfying life --- La Dolce Vita --- one hand crafted, delicious dish at a time.

Nancy Scala knows, first-hand, the joy of that tradition. Her desire to share it with the rest of the world has lead to the launch of a series of ‘authentic Italian-only’ online cooking lessons on her (translation: to become passionate) portal site.

As a six-year old from the Campagna region of Italy entering kindergarten in her new Monmouth County, NJ hometown without speaking a word of English, young Nancy would soon thereafter return each day to the controlled chaos of her family’s 70-seat restaurant version of the American dream. There, she witnessed nothing more than another take on the magic behind converting fresh ingredients into luscious meals that she had always been learning at her mother’s side, both here and abroad.

Despite the deepening appreciation of her family legacy and the art of cooking, the long hours inherent in the hospitality industry motivated her to move on to college and a fast track career in the financial services industry, beginning with Goldman Sacks. Her subsequent pursuit of a Masters degree at Johns Hopkins University provides a “Guess Where This Story’s Going” moment when it resulted in her living in (where else?) Bologna, Italy for one year as part of the program. There, she reconnected with her roots.

“It’s funny, but when I came back from the year abroad, I was cooking up a storm at home in the middle of studying for exams,” Scala recalls. “My parents always wondered whether I went to cooking school or grad school while I was there. The truth is: I did both --- and loved it.”

But the “full circle” conclusion would have to wait a bit, as Scala’s career path had her living in various locales around the globe. She became committed to perfecting her skills as a chef while living in Urbino and Bologna. But the clarion call of home called, and she was eventually wooed back to the Jersey shore, for all the right reasons.

Now in her element, the timing seemed right to combine a new career with her longtime passion. Thereby emerged Ardesco.

“I had always wanted to pursuing cooking, but didn’t want to open up a restaurant,” Nancy added. “The usual route of writing a cookbook didn’t give people the personal touch. So about a year ago, I came up with the idea of offering online cooking classes.”

With twenty recipe episodes taped and ready to roll, Scala’s on-screen ease and effective step-by-step learning style has her poised to be the face of the Italian variety of cooking shows, as that industry moves into a niche specialty mode.

From the Fast Track to the Slow Food

The site currently offers four lessons on a free introductory basis. The lessons are well produced and could easily make their way into the broadcast world as well. The web site is planned on being a full community portal; already there is an interesting blog entry explaining the International Slow Food Movement, complete with its manifesto!

“I wanted to pursue something meaningful to myself and people’s lives,” she concluded. “This website and the cooking tutorials are what I am offering because it’s a genuine passion of mine. I hope that I can ignite that flame within a new audience.”

Ardesco! Indeed.

(note: this new venture below has a local connection, with its marketing and branding strategy being driven by a Tech Valley firm)

1 comment:

Brahmin Bull said...

Great! Maybe it will help me cook something more than bagels...who's the local agency involved in this?