November 23, 2014
Bio The path that led her to this point
Born in Italy in Pescara, Abruzzo, and raised amongst strong women who loved to cook for their families, I have a passion for cooking developed from a very early age.
I studied in Italy and graduated as an Accountant.
I migrated to Australia in 1971 where learning English and establishing a career as a senior Finance, Administration and Systems Manager became my passion.
I was very successful in managing a number of businesses and I achieved great results. My passion for cooking was a hobby but cooking Italian food remained a dream as I had no family here to learn from, I had no recipes and no one who could teach me how to cook the dishes I grew up with.
Establishing my business and starting the cooking classes has been the realization of a life long dream.
What I wanted to achieve is create an environment where people would be able to learn to cook the Italian food I never had access to.
I could never find anywhere where I could learn how to cook Italian food, every other cuisine I could learn but not the Italian food I wanted to cook.
Over the last 20 years I have indulged this passion, spending hours in my Zia’s kitchen in Italy, collecting hundreds of recipes from Italian friends and family, embarking on a 2 months food pilgrimage throughout Italy, and growing my collection of cookbooks! More than 500!
I opened ‘La Cucina di Sandra’ in 2014 turning a lifelong dream and passion into reality.
I want to offer the best cooking classes and show people a type of Italian food they have never seen before.
My cooking classes are about the diversity of Italian cuisine, the food of 20 regions in Italy, which equates to the same number of cuisines.
After years in the corporate world, reinventing myself as a business owner, and founder of La Cucina di Sandra has given me a new life and something I did not dare imagine was possible.
I have my husband to thank for finding the only book ever published on the food of Abruzzo and for awakening the Italian cook in me!
Q&A Insider advice & tips
What's been your greatest achievement to date?
Reinventing myself twice in the last 10 years have been by far my greatest achievements.
In 2010 I was promoted to the role of E-Commerce manager by my last employer and in that role I project managed the build of two E-Commerce sites and sales growth of 650% over 3 years.
This year I founded La Cucina di Sandra.
What's been your biggest challenge so far?
Having been surrounded by a team and working closely with my staff for many years have made the transition to business owner and founder very challenging.
Working from home is also a challenge, having to do everything yourself is not easy, no matter how skilled you are there is never an end to what you need to learn and do!
Best lesson you've learned along the way?
This is my first time setting up my own business. If I had to do it all over again I would probably have set up my own business 20 years ago, but I have no regrets. My professional career was extremely successful and I would not know today, what I know had I not done what I did.
A website, book or resource that has helped you in your business or inspired you and why?
My kitchen, my cook book collection and my research tools. I also love my photography and the new accounting package just implemented Xero. I also love my website, even if I need help updating it.
Which person or brand do you most admire and why?
I have a huge amount of admiration for many cooks who have become legends Stephanie Alexander, Stefano de Pieri, Maggie Beer, Antonio Carluccio, Maurizio Terzini to name just a few.
What advice would you give someone starting an independent business in your industry?
You need connections in the food industry in Melbourne to make it quickly and it is too early for me to give advice to anyone, I need advice myself.
Finish this sentence
Everything changed for me when…
My friend said: "Why do you want to take more abuse? Stop and set up your own business you can do it, you have it, you can cook!"