All my life, food has been a source of inspiration. My earliest memories are set behind countertops and tables, surrounded by ingredients whose names I couldn’t yet remember, but whose flavours I was already able to recognize. I was taken under my grandmothers’ and mother’s wings in the hopes of carrying on their recipes and traditions, and over twenty years later, I have accomplished just that. My best recollections are of spending summer vacations in my grandmother’s kitchen, preparing meals for our family of fourteen. From fresh pastas to hearty minestrones made from our home-grown garden vegetables, I would spend my days experimenting with new recipes while the rest of kids would be outside playing. My big – and hungry – Italian family was always the perfect test group! This not only developed my sense of taste, it awakened a deeply-rooted passion for cooking and entertaining.
After finishing my bachelor’s degree, I decided that I wanted to be more than a self-proclaimed chef. I wanted to equip myself with the proper training that would take my raw talent and passion to a higher and more succulent level, so I applied and was accepted at Montréal’s culinary institute, ITHQ. It was there that I not only learned technique, but discipline and a new respect for food, which have all culminated in the chef that I am today.
I’m most often asked, what type of chef are you? The answer is simple: I am a chef who takes classic Italian recipes and adapts them to the modern-day palate. I like to use fresh local produce and healthy ingredients, and it is essential to me that I create recipes that people can easily make. Cooking With V is a dedication to both my grandmothers and my mother for having taught me all there is to know about food. This website is a compilation of my favourite recipes; dishes created in my kitchen for you to choose from and serve on yours. As we say at our table, Buon Appetito!
Like every little sister does, I looked up to Vanessa. If ever I needed to find her, all I’d have to do was look in the kitchen. And so her interest in food became mine, as well. I always smile thinking back on how after school, as kids, Vanessa and I would attempt to prepare dinner and dessert for our parents before they’d arrive from work. Easier said than done since we weren’t allowed to use anything but the toaster oven – talk about a challenge!
Through our successes and our failures, we fell in love with cooking – but it was baking that really stole my heart. It’s safe to say I have more of a sweet tooth (hence the title)! In my section, you will find our family’s favourite pastry recipes that are sure to satisfy and delight all palates and cravings. From my delectable banana cake that’s so good we have to make it every Sunday, to our chocolate crinkle cookies, there is undoubtedly something for everyone who likes a little something sweet!