Humans of Willoughby: Manuela GantSeptember 5, 2019
“I moved to Cammeray about two years ago to be close to my children’s school. We are all happy to be in a community that feels like a village and yet is so close to the city. And it’s a wonderful place to run my cooking classes from my home.
I have been cooking since I was a little girl in Italy in my Nonna’s kitchen. I have always loved to cook. From my Mum I learned the basics, from my Father how to love all that grows wild and “free”. We spent many of our holidays in the Northern Italian mountains where my grandparents lived. We would all go fishing for trouts and yabbies in the rivers, collecting mushrooms, berries and chestnuts in the forest, even catching snails! Then we would go home, cook a fantastic meal and eat together.
I set up as a Professional Caterer about 12 years ago and taught Italian cooking with my partner at Salt Meats & Cheese in Alexandria. Our ‘pasta e ravioli’ class was extremely successful and featured in an episode of Sydney Weekender with Mike Whitney. The class was also nominated one of the five best cooking classes in Sydney by Time Out magazine. The business grew as my children grew and now I have more time to dedicate myself to my passions: food and teaching.
I love teaching and I would like to expand my business offering to include Team Bonding cooking classes and Food & Italian Conversation Classes because I firmly believe that cooking and eating makes people closer and happier. I also run a Sunday Pasta Master workshop. I want people to know that it is a real hands-on class and feel that they are welcome in my genuine Italian home. One of the things that makes me very proud is when clients tell me that my classes are encouraging, supportive and informative, welcoming for any level of cooking skill and yet they leave confident that they can easily replicate what they learned in class at home.
For team building the group is organised into pairs to compete to see who makes the best ‘Tagliatelle Piu Belle’. Participants have shared that the event promotes some healthy competition and a great team dynamic! Making pasta dough in pairs really makes people work together, encouraging and building each other up. There is also a lot of good-natured teasing! Topping off the experience you will all sit around an Italian communal table with a Festa of your beautiful pasta and a glass of wine.
I am very passionate about fresh, seasonal, local produce together with authentic Italian groceries from Sydney’s best Italian delis. And I am very fortunate to not only have the wonderful Anzac Park Community garden right across from my home but, as a volunteer, I get to use some of their freshly picked organic produce. The herbs are the best! I truly believe that the kitchen is the heart of the home. I delight in creating a space where mums, dads and grandparents can gain the confidence to make and cook pasta at home for their loved ones. Organising a class with your friends and relatives even to celebrate happy events in life is a wonderful way to stay together, having a great experience, enjoying a wonderful meal and leaving the mess at my home!”
To contact Manu regarding her classes or follow her culinary journey click the following: