OMGosh! What an i.n.c.r.e.d.i.b.l.e. week.

For those of you who may not know, I had the most amazing opportunity to participate on La Prova del Cuoco, one of Italy’s most famous national cooking shows, hosted by Antonella Clerici, on RAI UNO.  (Sorry in advance for the horrible photo quality! I had to take pictures of the computer screen!)

La Prova del Cuoco - Antonella ClericiJust being given the opportunity to be a part of the week-long show, was already the biggest satisfaction for me—winning the competition was icing on the cake and being publicly invited back on the show by Antonella was the cherry on top.

La Prova del Cuoco - Antonella ClericiThen there were two interviews published last week that were the brightly colored sprinkles making the whole thing deliciously sweet. One article was published on the online website{in italian} and the other was published on the front cover (!) of the food section in The Spokesman-Review, the  largest news and information provider in the Inland Northwest, as well as on their website.

The Spokesman ReviewHave I mentioned all of the talented chefs I met on the show? On Monday, I cooked with Cesare Marretti from Tuscany who is as gifted as he is crazy. (In a fun way; his naked pictures with just a fish are a testament to this.)

La Prova del Cuoco -Cesare MarrettiOn Tuesday, I was paired with Giam Piero Fava from Rome, a superb chef who’s made quite a name in Italy at such a young age.

La Prova del Cuoco - Antonella Clerici - Giam Piero FavaThen I had the pleasure to cook alongside Ivano Ricchebono from Genoa, owner of the one-star Michelin restaurant, The Cook.

La Prova del Cuoco - Antonella Clerici - Giam Piero Fava - Ivano RicchebonoOn Thursday, I was with Diego Bongiovanni, a creative and rock’n’roll chef who lit up the kitchen.

La Prova del Cuoco - Antonella Clerici - Diego BongiovanniAnd, on Friday, I cooked with Natale Giunta: from Sicily, owner of Castello a Mare and a 7-year veteran on La Prova del Cuoco.

La Prova del Cuoco And, of course, not to forget my competitor, Nicola Delle Donne, a kind man and fantastic cook.

La Prova del Cuoco - Antonella Clerici - Nicola delle Donne

I also had the honor of being judged by and meeting Paola Ricas, an extraordinary woman who started off as a journalist and later was the Director for over 30 years of one of Italy’s top culinary magazines, La Cucina Italiana. Unlike most participants on La Prova del Cuoco, I was given a lot of freedom and independence with proposing my American/international  recipes and preparing them from start to finish. I was happy that Paola noticed and rewarded me for this effort as it was not at all easy to prepare an entire recipe shot live on national t.v. while also trying to speak in fluent Italian. (Talk about being nervous!)

La Prova del Cuoco - Antonella Clerici - Giam Piero Fava - Paola RicasLast but not least, it was amazing to meet Antonella who is an amazing presenter and an icon in Italy.  I am grateful that both Paola and Antonella appreciated a taste of my “italicana kitchen” and I can’t wait to go back on the show to present more international dishes.

La Prova del Cuoco - Antonella ClericiThe greatest thing I learned from this experience, which I would like to pass on to you is this: don’t be afraid of setting BIG goals. Many of us (me included!) often times set smaller goals because we believe that we could never achieve the big ones. We block ourselves from even trying because we have that little voice in our head telling us that we will never succeed. Ignore it. With a lot of hard work, persistence and a bit of luck, we all have the ability to live out our dreams.  It won’t be easy. At times you will have to claw and fight your way to continue on your path.  But if you walk with a fiery of passion, unwavering aim, and you never give up, every step you take is one closer to realizing your dreams.

Thank you to everyone who supported me and left encouraging comments throughout the week. You gave me the boost in morale to give it my all 100% of the time. THANK YOU! Sending a big hug!


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