Italian heart of a California Cook
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 The Pleasanton Gazette

Italian heart of a California Cook

January 12, 2012
Photo Credit: Janislewin
Photo Credit: Janislewin
Photo Credit: Stu Fisher
Photo Credit: Stu Fisher
The best way to experience a city is through its food. When Viola Buitoni came to the United States in 1985 from Perugia, the capital city of the region of Umbria in central Italy, she brought with her the heritage of classic Italian cooking.

How does the Cooking instructor and food expert juggle the many roles she plays as a mom, wife, cook and teacher. Buitoni found some time of her busy schedule for a chat with Pleasanton Gazette.

PG: When not cooking, what do you like to do?

Buitoni: I like to read very much, currently I am finishing the last Julian Barnes, and in the last year I have been very fond of Joan Didion's and A.S Byatt's books. I am a fan of Narrative, an online literary magazine. There are 4 separate libraries in our loft,including a set of orange colored shelves of Israeli design which is the exclusive host of my cookbooks and cooking magazines collection. I turn to Mark Bittman's 'How to Cook Everything' to look at basic recipes to which I can add my own spin.

PG: You have taught cooking classes at Consulate General of Italy, an ornate Palazzo-style building in Pacific Heights? Please tell our readers if you have any more of such classes planned, that they can attend.

Buitoni: I still teach at the Consulate General of Italy, the new semester opens next Tuesday, January 17 with a class on the foods of Venice, and though this term's classes are already full, I will also be offering the series at Cavallo Point Lodge Cooking School in Sausalito starting next Thursday, January 19.

(Prospective students may refer to the Institute's website below)

PG: Personally, which are your favorite restaurants in Italian Cuisine?

Buitoni: Everybody asks me about Italian restaurants in the city, which, funnily enough, are the ones I patronize the least, since that is what I cook at home. Because I am such a fan of cuisines from all over the world, my time out tends to be spent exploring other foods of the world. Top of my list are Japanese and Indian food and Mexican is my quick go to as I live in SF's Mission District. But I do occasionally get a hankering for the tastes of home restaurants, and when that happens, I head to La Ciccia in Noe Valley. Other favorites are Farina and Incanto, both in the Mission, and Perbacco in the FiDi.

PG: The name Buitoni pasta has it an relevance with your last name, just curious?

Buitoni: Yes, I am related to the family of pasta and chocolate fame, I represent the 6th generation, the one with the dubious luck of coming to age outside the spires of an illustrious if stormy entrepreneurial past.

Buitoni will be in Livermore to present her program, 'The Italian Heart of a California Cook'.

The Italian Heart of a California Cook
Tuesday, February 7
7 p.m.
Livermore Public Library
Civic Center Library Storytime Room
1188 S. Livermore Avenue, Livermore
(925) 373-5505
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