Melissa - Umbria (for mobile viewing, view in landscape)

  • An Umbrian Feast
Experience Schedule (menus below)
ONLINE: Saturday Sept 18th 6:00pm-7:30pm PDT
20 spots available
An Umbrian Feast
$25.00 Sign up now
ONLINE: Friday Sept 24th 6:00pm-7:30pm PDT
20 spots available
An Umbrian Feast
$25.00 Sign up now

Private online experiences:

A great way to connect with family who live far away, and during this time when we cannot gather in person.   A fun way to spend time with friends, and a great team building activity for companies, schools, parent groups and clubs.  Any group!

Online experiences:

All online culinary adventures include interactive cooking instruction and a pdf packet with our host's family recipes.  Culinary adventures are 1.5 hours in duration, and are co-hosted with In My Kitchen founder Paula Mohammed, on zoom. Our online culinary adventures require a minimum of 4 registrants to ensure they go ahead as scheduled.

Here’s how it works:

After registration you’ll receive an email with your shopping list and equipment list.  A day before your experience you will receive your zoom link and recipe packet.

At the scheduled time of your culinary adventure, you’ll click on the Zoom link and join your session live.

Cooking with Melissa

When you meet Melissa you will feel like you have been transported to Umbria and cooking in Melissa’s family kitchen as she regales you with stories of her Nonna.    Melissa's sense of humour and energy are contagious and you will leave your culinary adventure feeling content and inspired to share these recipes with your family and friends. 

An Umbrian Feast

Ricotta Gnocchi al sugo di pomodoro (simple tomato sauce)

Ricotta Gnocchi is a specialty of Melissa's.  Although potato gnocchi is typical of Umbria, this recipe (made with no potatoes) is one of Melissa's favourites and is easy to pull together with few ingredients. 

Melissa learned to make this gnocchi from her friend’s Nonna. She was a great cook from the south of Italy (Campania).  Variations of ricotta gnocchi are made throughout Italy and include gnudi from Tuscany (ricotta gnocchi often including some type of vegetable, like squash or spinach).

The ricotta gnocchi is served with Melissa's family sugo di pomodoro.  A fresh tomato sauce cooked slowly on the stove.  Simple ingredients are used for the sugo di pomodoro, showing how much flavour can come from dishes that use fresh ingredients and are not complex.  

Pollo in porchetta

Roasted chicken marinated in an Umbrian style 'battuto' (marinade) of pancetta, sage, parsley and rosemary.

Ingredient boxes are available for private group experiences; curbside pick up in Vancouver please click here for more info.    

Get to know Melissa:

I was born and raised right here in Vancouver!

While I was born in Canada, I come from a family of immigrants. My dad came to Canada from Gubbio – a small town in Umbria, Italy when he was 12. My mom was also born in Vancouver but her parents came from Northern Italy and Denmark respectively. All this to say, I was lucky enough to be raised with both pasta and akavit! We are a very close family and have strong ties to our relatives in Italy. I took my first trip to Italy when I was 4 and I haven’t ever stopped – in fact, I love Italy so much, I moved there after graduating from university in 2007.

When did you develop a love for cooking?

Food has always been central to our family life and my Nonna was an amazing cook. Some of my earliest memories are standing next to my Nonna rolling out gnocchi dough into ropes while she stood close by complaining that we were rolling them too thin!

How do you express your love for cooking and culture?

My absolute favourite thing to do is to have friends and family over for dinner and I love trying to recreate the meals that live on in our collective family memory and to tell the stories associated with each dish. I also love telling people where to get the best Italian products…you’ll be surprised at some of the locations!

What are some of your favourite ingredients to use?

I have to say salt! Salt has such a bad rap but used properly, it is one of the things that can really elevate a dish. Umbrian food is so very simple…but it is seasoned in such a way that makes it delicious.

What makes Italian cuisine special?

I hesitate to call Italian food a cuisine. While it certainly can be refined, there are just so many regional variations it is hard to put it in a box. I guess what makes it so difficult to label is what makes it so special – every region is distinct so there are many more delicious dishes to explore! I also love, that the central figure so important to Italian cuisine is not a chef, but rather that most venerable of home cooks, La Nonna. Her’s is the gold standard against which all other dishes will be measured.

Do you have a cooking philosophy?

Ask and listen. Talk. Get people to tell you their family recipes. Find a community, learn from them, add your own spin and tell your own story. However it turns out, you can be sure it will be delicious!

What guests are saying about Melissa's culinary experiences:

"The Italian experience with Melissa was more than I expected.  From the start she welcomed us into her home with open arms and a big smile and shared her family's stories, recipes and Italian culture.  I left with a happy belly and feeling like I had been given a big warm hug from my Nonna!" Selena P.
“I love, that the central figure so important to Italian cuisine is not a chef, but rather that most venerable of home cooks, La Nonna. Her’s is the gold standard against which all other dishes will be measured.”