With heritage like Valentina’s, it is no wonder she is such a well-respected authority on Italian food and food culture.
Tracing her family back to 1369 through the illustrious Sforza dynasty, Valentina is the youngest member of a large Anglo-Italian family of gourmets. Educated in Italy, Valentina brought her qualifications for teaching and cooking from Rome to London in 1976, where she built her reputation primarily as a private chef until the publication of her first award-winning cookery book in 1984; Perfect Pasta.
The award winning author of over 45 books on Italian food, Valentina is a well known celebrity chef, a tremendous raconteur and passionate about sharing her food philosophy, techniques, stories, intricate history, and her experiences during a long career in the world of food. Valentina is also a regular face at food festivals in the UK, where she has hosted and produced cookery theatres, working with many internationally acclaimed chefs. She often contributes to radio, TV and magazine articles. Valentina also undertakes private catering commissions for a variety of high profile clients.
Valentina is an experienced and enthusiastic teacher at a number of schools including Divertimenti and Cucina Caldesi in London, The School of Artisan Food at the Welbeck Estate and The Bertinet Kitchen in Bath, advocating the use of local, seasonal produce served with minimum fuss, maximum care and a great respect for the authenticity of Italian food.
As the proprietor, principal tutor and regulator at Cucina Valentina Ltd. she organises culinary adventures across Europe, specialising in Italian bespoke gastronomic culinary experiences and cookery courses, providing her wealth of knowledge of Italian food and wine. This includes truffle hunting, visits to local olive oil and food producers and wine tastings. She is an extraordinary individual, providing personal anecdotes about her family life in Italy and her first experience of learning to cook at the age of six with the family chef who taught her everything she knows about growing produce for the kitchen and respecting the authenticity of ingredients.
In the course of her long career as an internationally respected authority on Italian food and wine, Valentina has worked as a consultant/brand ambassador for (amongst others) the following organisations:
- Sacla UK Galbani
- Riso Gallo Barilla
- Tesco Waitrose
- Sainsbury’s Spaghetti House Restaurants
- Massucco Wines
- Consorzio Grana Padano
Her long association with Riso Gallo and her indefatigable efforts over many years to put risotto fairly and squarely on the menu in the UK has led to her being known affectionately by her colleagues as ‘The Queen of Risotto”
As President Emeritus of the London chapter of Les Dames D’Escoffier, Valentina is committed to strengthening the position of professional women in the world of food, beverage and hospitality, and uses her wealth of experience to mentor young women who dream of a career within it. This philanthropic organisation was founded in the USA in 1975 and also has branches in Canada. Valentina’s London Chapter, of which she was President for 5 years from 2010 to 2015, is the first chapter established outside of North America.
Fiori di Zucca: Recipes and Memories from My Family's Kitchen Table is Valentina’s long awaited book of family memoirs and recipes, published by Duncan Baird Publishers in June 2013. Her books cover food across Venice, Rome, Sicily Tuscany Bologna and Milan and her best seller "Risotto Risotto" will be re-published early in 2017.
Valentina has been awarded with an Honorary MBA by the University of West London and sits on the External Advisory Board for BBC Worldwide Publications in the food and drink sector. She is currently working as a consultant to a boutique winery in the Roero area of beautiful Piedmont - Massucco Wines - and has started teaching children across the UK about food, giving them practical and specialised cooking classes in line with her food philosophy. She will also be managing the back stage logistics at the cookery theatres for this year’s Ideal Home Shows in both London and Manchester, supporting chefs including Gino d’Acampo and Aldo Zilli. Valentina is entirely bilingual in Italian and English and also speaks fluent French.