Osborne Park: Italian cooking classes teaching people to embrace carbs

Valentino Quiquero (10), Siyenna Kailis (12), Giovanni Pietracatella (pasta master) and Michael Astone (11). Picture: Andrew Ritchie.
Valentino Quiquero (10), Siyenna Kailis (12), Giovanni Pietracatella (pasta master) and Michael Astone (11). Picture: Andrew Ritchie.

ITALIANS love gathering, cooking and eating, and Tania Pietracatella has a desire to share that with others.

Cooking classes are the latest offering of Osborne Park-based The Little Italian School, which Ms Pietracatella established in 2016 to teach language lessons.

“Food is a huge part of our culture,” she said.

“Having parents who’d had restaurants all my life and growing up around my grandparents and other family members always cooking, I thought I could include my knowledge of cooking and add another element to the Italian cultural learning side of the school.”

Classes are for adults and children, and focus on creating one dish such as fresh pasta or sweets like cannoli and biscotti.

Ms Pietracatella’s parents, who previously ran a Main Street restaurant, are on hand to pass on their experience and she described the classes as having an “authentic big Italian family feel”.

“In true Italian style, nothing is measured because it’s all about feeling, doing and learning,” she said.

“The classes are kept simple to encourage people to cook at home.

“I sometimes collaborate with other Italian signoras who will come in and make something special from their Italian region or a recipe that was handed down to them from their family.”

She also wants people to ditch the ‘carbs are bad’ ideology and embrace pasta and bread as an important part of their diet.

“If carbs were so bad for you, there would be a lot of unhealthy overweight people in Italy, instead there aren’t, and they generally live healthy and very long lives,” she said.

“We Italians couldn’t care less about conforming to the latest fad diet. Food is our friend not our enemy.

“Cooking is not just about eating to fill an empty tummy, it’s also about bringing people together and connecting, and it’s lots of fun.”

The school also offers classes for corporate team building and private parties.

Ms Pietracatella plans to run a small takeaway coffee shop from the premises as well as hosting pop-up dinners and cannoli and coffee mornings to help activate Main Street.