The world is full of creative people, great minds, hard workers, always ready to face challenges, able to see the good even when difficulties come. We are a community that shares a passion for Italian food, only the best traditions, and best ingredients. We feel it is a duty sometimes to talk about good ideas that come from brilliant minds and help spread the voice somehow. That's why as a person of the month for July, we choose: Andrea Belfiore, a musician who's a great passion for Italian food. Stay with us; we want to tell you what he created during the pandemic. Andrea was born in Ancona, a beautiful town on the Adriatic Sea. He is a musician, his love for music started at the very young age of 4. He came to America to pursue his career after winning a scholarship in 2007 to attend Berklee College of Music in Boston. Last year he was the founder of Italia like Locals, a different culinary experience and classes which can be in-person or virtual cooking classes. Italia Like Locals specializes in pasta-making experiences. Guests learn how to make (then eat) handmade pasta from scratch while enjoying a classic Aperitivo, crafted cocktails, vino, small bites and exceptional performances - a contortionist, a burlesque dancer, a jazz band, a sketch artist, a fire dancer have all made appearances… It's a cooking class with a twist. "I always loved cooking too, but it didn't cross my mind to make it my profession. I just wanted to be a drummer touring the world", says Andrea. Follow him at www.italialikelocals.com!
Andrea, how came the idea of Italia Like Locals?
During a snowstorm that hit NYC, I got stuck at home with two Italian friends of mine. We cooked up a storm (ah) for three days straight, handmade gnocchi, tagliatelle, polenta, ravioli, tiramisù, and more. On the last day, I got the idea of teaching authentic Italian cuisine to my American friends besides getting my belly nice and full. I am a very social person; I love people and making them happy with food and laughs. My events are the extension of an afterparty after one of my rock shows.
Why did a musician like you choose to become a food teacher also?
It's always been a passion. My dad used to own a restaurant, my grandma and aunt are fantastic cooks, my brother is a young chef, and I LOVE TO EAT. I had my first culinary event of Italia Like Locals a couple of years before the pandemic, but the business saw growth with the switch to virtual.
How is it going?
Everyone loves it, honestly. Both in-person and virtual cooking classes are a success. It's been attracting people from all ages and ethnicities, including Italians looking to feel "at home" and re-discover their roots.
Which is the best Italian dish you like to cook and teach?
This is always a tough one to answer, but lately, it has been spaghetti with clams. Super easy but super tasty if using the right ingredients and techniques and if you are drinking the right wine while making it!
Which is the Italian dish Americans should know better?
Spaghetti al pomodoro e basilico.
First thing you like to eat when you go back to Italy?
How did you plan your summer vacations?
Eating mozzarella by the beach, teaching our cooking classes from here, and play some drums in between.