With heritage like Valentina’s, it is no wonder she is such a well-respected authority on Italian food and food culture. Tracing her family history back to 1369 through the illustrious Sforza dynasty, Valentina is the youngest member of a large Anglo-Italian family of gourmets who first taught Valentina to cook at the age of 6 years old. Educated and classically trained in Italy, Valentina brought her culinary expertise and qualifications for teaching and cooking from Rome to London in 1976. From there, she built her reputation primarily as a private chef until the publication of her first award-winning cookery book in 1984 ‘Perfect Pasta’.


An award winning author of over 50 books on Italian food, Valentina is a well known celebrity chef and an experienced and enthusiastic teacher, sharing her unique food philosophy of seasonal local produce served with minimum fuss and maximum care. Delighting audiences with her anecdotes and culinary adventures, Valentina has marked herself as an ambassador for authentic Italian cuisine. She is proud to be a member of the Food Values Initiative, an exclusive group of only 100 food experts, scientists, and medical experts created by His Holiness Pope Francis. She regards this association as one of the greatest honours of her career.


She teaches regularly at a number of top cookery schools in the UK to include The Bertinet Kitchen in Bath, The School of Artisan Food on the Welbeck Estate and The Limpsfield Cookery School in Surrey. More recently, she is delighted to have returned to the Divertimenti Cookery School in Knightsbridge as a regular guest teacher.


Valentina’s consultancy work encompasses staff training, recipe development, and the sharing of her unparalleled expertise and knowledge of Italian food and culture. Uniquely positioned as both bilingual and bicultural, Valentina’s consultancy bridges the gap between Italian and English culture, with a firm knowledge of how to bring authentic Italian cuisine to UK consumers, making her an integral asset to any food outlet or in a consultancy role for restaurants seeking to re-create authentic Italian dishes. She has worked with Sainsburys, Tesco, Waitrose, The Co-op, Costa, Sacla UK, Gallo Rice, Barilla, Buitoni, Spaghetti House Group, and many more including several independent restaurants.


Valentina enjoys organising culinary adventures across all the regions of Italy and around the world specialising in bespoke gastronomic culinary experiences and cookery classes. She is the expert host for Kirker Travel’s gastronomic food tours in Italy, guiding travellers on a journey of unforgettable flavours.


As a regular and popular face at food and drink festivals across the UK, her roles have included producing, presenting and hosting cookery theatres, panel discussions and food presentations. She is known for her captivating cooking demonstrations and engaging talks for events such as the Eat and Drink Festival at The Ideal Home Show; Destinations - The Holiday & Travel Show; Love Food; Foodies and the International Food & Drink Event at ExCel in London. 


From time to time, you will also find Valentina on radio and television, making appearances on Radio 4 Woman’s Hour, Ready Steady Cook and The Great British Bake Off. She is a regular contributor to Times Radio and also the Official Ambassador for Delicious Magazine at their prestigious Produce Awards.


Valentina has also served as a valued member of the BBC External Advisory Board on all publications and media output related to food, and regularly contributes to a number of publications, including BBC Good Food, Platinum Magazine, as well as  Delicious Magazine.


As one of the founders of the London Chapter of Les Dames D’Escoffier, Valentina remains committed to strengthening the position of professional women in the world of food, beverage and hospitality. As a result of her position as Emeritus Chapter President, Valentina has access to hundreds of female culinary professionals in all fields, including cookery schools, retail, PR, media, productions etc. throughout the USA.


Her books cover food and wine, culinary customs and traditions from all the regions of Italy. Valentina's Foodoir, her long awaited book of family memoirs and recipes: Fiori di Zucca, was published by Duncan Baird Publishers. This was followed by the publication of a revised edition of her famous book Risotto! Risotto! with Absolute Press/Bloomsbury Publishing and was nominated for Best in the World in the International Gourmand Awards. Her latest book The Italian Regional Cookbook, published by Lorenz Books is the compilation of a previously published series of 5 books on regional Italian cookery. It is the culmination of years of extensive research and provides a vast introduction to the history and traditions of classic Italian cooking, the ingredients and how to prepare and use them. Valentina is currently writing her autobiography.

 

Valentina maintains strong links with Italy in order to strengthen and maintain her own food philosophy and expertise of over more than 40 years as a self-styled ambassador for real, authentic Italian food and the extraordinary Italian producers that create the ingredients for her much loved recipes. She has a passion for the South of Italy and has enjoyed various holidays exploring the region of Calabria and all its culinary riches.