I grew up in the suburbs of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. My love for making and serving food started at home. As a good Brazilian, I am a mix of various ethnicities and nationalities, but my family has a particularly persistent Italian heritage (that’s where my last name comes from). Rolling fresh pasta for my grandmother, kneading dough for my mom’s breads, or whipping egg whites for my birthday cake were common activities I begged to engage with, and my family was glad to have a helping hand (sometimes more messy than helping but those are other stories).
Those memories stayed with me and upon entering the University of Rio de Janeiro, I decided to pursue a 4-year degree in Gastronomy--a course that concentrated in areas related to food, from nutrition, business, history and cooking techniques. During college I had wonderful learning and working experiences such as:
Translating medical and dietary recommendations into cooking guides for patients with chronic intestinal disorders at the University hospital;
Assisting fisherman in Rio’s coastal traditional communities to establish sustainable resource management plans;
Launching nutritional education programs at marginalized schools and teaching cooking classes to low-income middle school students;
Finally, for my graduation thesis I researched food and hospitality co-op businesses in Buenos Aires, Argentina, systematizing dynamics at co-owned work environments. Those experiences developed in me a passion for education, cooperation and promotion of health which I’ve carried for my life.
Working and Promoting Health
Since arriving in the United States I’ve worked as a cook in a bar in Washington, substitute taught in Elementary, Middle and High schools, headed cooking classes for an after-school program, started my own catering company providing healthy and tasty foods for small events, participated with my own booth at Taste of Chicago…
As I would learn more and more about food and health, I would look for ways to teach. In 2018 I was invited to become a director of non-profit called Community Harvest Educational Foundation (CHEF) in order to promote CHEF’s mission of "Better Health Through Better Eating.", giving lectures and presentations regarding healthy foods in libraries, community centers, and service groups.
Organic and Regenerative Farm Apprenticeship
The list of my life endeavours goes on but the most recent and path-opening experience happened when, as I would see (and taste!) the importance of ingredients quality, I applied for a farming apprenticeship at All-Grass Farms. For over a year I woke up early to milk grass-fed cows, feed chickens, plant vegetables and whatever else an organic and regenerative farm's operational needs.
During that time I was practicing sourdough bread making, since I couldn’t find good-quality breads around. Friends and coworkers who tasted the bread would ask to buy it, so I started making some to sell after a day in the farm. Word went out and more people asked for a piece of his sourdough creations.
For the next year, I started my company, Nourish, and worked to make bread, a little more every week, learning and improving every time. I started with commercially available flours, and slowly learned and acquired equipment to mill organic, heirloom and local wheat and rye berries myself. With all my learnings and work, I think there isn’t a more nourishing and flavorful bread around than I make for Nourish.