My name’s Olivia. My mother’s side of the family is Italian so I try to travel to Italy as much as possible, for work and just to be there.
What’s your craft?
Cooking! I never thought I’d be working as a chef but something kept drawing me back to the kitchen. I had grown up with the Italian influence around me and I guess it stuck. I now work freelance, mostly in private households and events and sometimes in restaurants.
Why did you come to Florence?
I love Florence, it’s my favourite city in the world. I’d been many times before but only discovered Cibreo in 2020 and since my first meal there I’ve gone back at any and every opportunity. When I learnt about the culinary academy with Cibreo it felt like an amazing opportunity to train at a restaurant I love and a very good excuse to spend more time in Florence.
What did you learn at the Culinary Academy?
I learnt a lot in only 6 weeks. Cibreo have multiple outlets around the city, each serving different food. I divided my time between the trattoria, restaurants, café and the deli C.Bio. I also spent some days at the butchers, which was really interesting and new to me – I was definitely out of my comfort zone there, plucking pigeons and stuffing geese necks! In C.Bio I loved working with the bakers and pastry team, as well as learning about preserving and pickling different vegetables. Some of my favourite days were spent at Cibleo, the Asian side of the business serving traditional Japanese dishes made with Tuscan ingredients. I learnt a lot from the talented chefs there – everything from bao buns and udon noodles to dashi and dumplings.
Tips for future makers?
Bring a notepad and write down as much as you can. Mostly, though, just get as involved as possible. Say yes to everything, do things that scare you (for me it was the pigeons!), taste everything on the menu and ask as many questions as you can.