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FLORENCE IN ECSTASY: JESSIE CHAFFEE RETURNS TO FUA TO DEBUT HER NOVEL On Thursday, November 30th, FUA alumna Jessie Chaffee presented her debut novel, Florence in Ecstasy, at the Palazzo Bombicci Guicciardini Strozzi FUA Library, as a precursory event to the school’s annual conference with Stony Brook University on December 1st and 2nd. The event was moderated by FUA professor Nicoletta Salomon and included a reading by Chaffee as well as a book signing. From 2014-2015, Jessie received a Fulbright grant to complete the research for her book and was the FUA Writer-InResidence during that time. Inspired by her own personal

by Blending Staff Photo courtesy of the author

experiences, as well as the writing of famous Italian women writers such as Elena Ferrante, Natalia Ginzburg, and Dacia Maraini, Jessie spent ten years writing the book – between work, her studies, and other things. Chaffee tells the story of Hannah, a young American woman who flees to Florence and, by joining a rowing club on the Arno, finds a much-needed opportunity to reconnect with her physical body. During the presentation of the book, author Jessie Chaffee and Professor Salomon spoke about how the book does not fall into the stereotype of Florence, or Italy, as a cure-all medi-

cine. The story is about the relationships the protagonist develops with the people and the city – not a romantic tourist idea of Florence, but the real, modern Florence. In the novel, Chaffee also weaves in the tales of women and female saints from the Catholic church of the 13th through 15th centuries. In fact, Chaffee shared, these women were often writers, or in some way engaged in a form of “rebellious expression” in which Hannah, the book’s protagonist, finds a connection. In fact, the word “ecstasy” is inextricably linked to the concept of the female religious experience. “While the title is a nod to the saints, it is also about an ecstasy that is spiritual in a broader sense, and a kind of ecstasy of place—in this case, Florence,” Jessie writes. Florence in Ecstasy was published in May 2017 by The Unnamed Press and has received high praise from the San Francisco Chronicle, Rumpus, and New York Times best-selling author Claire Messud. Chaffee will continue her book tour with another presentation and reading at the British Institute in Florence on Thursday, December 7th at 4:30pm in the Harold Action Library.

Photo by Heather Waraksa

APICIUS NEWS: FAST TRACK FOR WACS CERTIFIED CHEF DE PARTIE Florence University of the Arts and the Apicius International School of Hospitality are proud to announce that our culinary arts graduates will now be eligible to apply for the World Association of Chefs Society (WACS) Certified Chef de Partie level. Previously, Apicius alumni were already able to benefit from our WACS Fast Track for the Commis Chef certification, and this new level comes as Apicius has yet again been recognized for its quality and excellence in culinary arts education. The World Association of Chefs' Societies was founded at the Sorbonne in 1928. Currently WACS' global network has 100 chefs' associations and over 10 million professional chefs internationally. WACS launched the first global culinary certification in the world for culinary professionals who can apply for nine distinct titles within the culinary certification 2

by Blending Staff

scheme. The association is non-political and its mission is based on setting global culinary standards through education and professional development. Further details may also be requested from




EXHIBIT REVIEW: CINQUECENTO IN FLORENCE It is now easier than ever to admire the works of esteemed Renaissance artists in Florence this winter. Until January 21, 2018, Palazzo Strozzi will be hosting The Cinquecento in Florence From Michelangelo and Pontormo to Giambologna, an exhibition devoted to 16th century art. The exhibition features works by Michelangelo, Bronzino, Giorgio Vasari, Rosso Fiorentino, Pontormo, Santi di Tito, Giambologna, Bartolomeo Ammannati, and others. Not to be missed, it is the final act in a trilogy of exhibitions that began with Bronzino in 2010, followed by Pontormo and Rosso Fiorentino in 2014. The Cinquecento showcases both religious and secular works and includes Mannerism style art and art impacted by the Counter-Reformation. As soon as you enter the exhibition, you will be greeted by Michelangelo’s sculpture, River God. This work of art is Michelangelo’s rendition of a human torso made of raw clay and fiber on a wooden base. Other works housed by the exhibition include Pontormo’s Deposition, a tempera on panel painting that captures the moment in which the Mother of God is separated from her Son, Immaculate Conception by Bronzino, Bottega, and workshop, an oil on panel painting that embraces the spirit of the Counter-Reformation, Crucifixion by Giovanni Stradano, an oil on panel painting which was restored specifically for the exhibition, and Zucchi’s Cupid and Psyche, which portrays the myth of the two lovers. After admiring the collection of over seventy works, you may request a sketchpad and pencil and sit in a separate room adjacent to the exhibition. Draw inspiration from one of the many masterpieces you just viewed or sketch one of the sculptures on display and create your own keepsake to take home

MONET PAINTED ON CHURCH WALLS Monet is in Florence. Or rather, the experience of Monet is in Florence. Hosted by the Santo Stefano al Ponte church, Monet Experience Florence is a multimedia exhibition that displays paintings of French impressionist Claude Monet. A quick search on the web and you’ll find out quickly that the exhibition consists of digitized versions of the paintings. However, when I wandered into the church turned concert hall, I did not know of the exhibition’s nature, and expecting the real works of Money, was a bit disappointed at first. But, since I had paid 10 euro to get in, I decided to stick around, and I am very glad I did. Getting over the fact that I would not be looking at Monet’s

by Gina Valentino Illustration courtesy of the author

or leave it behind for others to admire. Curated by Carlo Falciani and Antonio Natali, the exhibition has attracted visitors from all over the world and it provides Palazzo Strozzi with the opportunity to interact with Tuscan and international museums and institutions alike. A campaign of restorations is being launched specifically for the exhibition. Tickets can be purchased online or in person. Regular admission is €12. Discounted tickets are available for children, young adults, and seniors. Visitors are welcome daily including holidays from 10am-8pm and on Thursdays from 10am11pm.

by Chrystalla Christodoulou Photos courtesy of exhibit's press kit

paintings in person was quick. I had never seen paintings enlarged on such a large scale, and being surrounded by bricksized brushstrokes was distracting at first, and then quite enchanting. Panels were placed around the church’s interior, in a way that made it seem as though the art was graffiti-ed across the four walls of the hall, and in parts of the room the projection did indeed fall upon the walls themselves. This interaction between the projections and the walls made me contemplate the relationship between art and the spaces that are chosen for them to be exhibited in. Beyond the obvious conclusion that the curation of an exhibit is a challenging and important 3

aspect of the experience, it is interesting to think about this new ability that technology gives us to use the buildings we have created to enhance the art we view and create. It was fascinating to see such a miscellaneous collection of colors projected upon the crypt that is inside the church. Similar exhibit on the life and works of artists such as Van Gogh or Klimt have been done in the same church with great success. Whether art history geeks or barely novices, this is an event for all to enjoy. It was fascinating to see such a miscellaneous

collection of colors projected upon the crypt that is inside the church. Similar exhibit on the life and works of artists such as Van Gogh or Klimt have been done in the same church with great success. The exhibition will remain in Santo Stefano al Ponte until May 1st 2018, and students can enter for 10 euro. Whether art history geeks or barely novices, this is an event for all to enjoy.


by Alexandra Guba, Emma Thomas, and Pauline Bodard

On October 19th, 2017, the Gallery and Exhibition Curating students from Florence University of the Arts, with assistance from professor Giovanni Rossiello, visited the ongoing exhibition at the Eduardo Secci Gallery located at Piazza Carlo Goldoni, 2 in Florence. The students had the opportunity to speak with the gallery’s Exhibition Curator, Angel Moya Garcia, and the Gallery Director, Ottavia Sartini, to discuss the current exhibition and their roles within the gallery. The current exhibition on display is the third segment in a trilogy of installation exhibitions titled Structural Ten4

Photos by Bennet Ragan

sions. The gallery has been working alongside numerous artists from all over Europe for the past two years to develop the theme and vision created by Exhibition Curator, Angel Moya Garcia. This third segment is centered around the concept of entropy, an intrinsic process which seeks to create order from chaos through categorization, labeling, and classification to create systems of control. In this exhibition artists Daniel Canogar, Levi Van Veluw, Baptiste Debombourg, and Zimoun each created a space that individually confronts the ways our minds create order from chaos: measuring the degree of



disorder we are presented with and our ability to accept it or find balance. After visiting the exhibition, the students were given the opportunity to speak directly with the Exhibition Curator, Angel Moya Garcia, to learn more about his role in its creation, and his overall role within the gallery. In order to create each section of Structural Tensions, Angel Moya Garcia began by generating a theme he wanted to convey to the public and selected the artists he believed could best represent this theme by way of installation. Garcia worked closely with the artists to design the layout of the space. From speaking with Angel Moya Garcia, it became apparent what sort of traits are necessary to be a successful exhibit curator: creative, driven, and able to create a vision not only for the exhibition space, but also able to see it through to its fruition. Additionally, being an exhibition curator involves a great deal of patience

and flexibility. In fact, Garcia said he faced a particular hurdle himself with the gallery space, as the location itself changed right in the middle of the planning stage, and large adjustments had to be made in order to adjust to the new space. Following, the class spoke with the Gallery Director, Ottavia Sartini, to learn more about the specific operations of the Eduardo Secci Gallery. Sartini was an art major and a personal friend of the Gallery Owner, Eduardo Secci. When he opened the gallery in its original location, he asked for her to work alongside him. Eduardo Secci’s success is the result of a gallery vision that has truly resonated with the audience he has marketed towards. His aim is to highlight contemporary artist in Florence, a city which mainly focuses on Renaissance art. The gallery’s reputation now allows them the freedom to select the artists that they want to showcase.


TRAVEL Students in the Advanced Italian course contributed original articles in the Italian language on their travels and experiences throughout Italy. Here, Alessandra Fazzolari shares the beauty she found while exploring northern Italy.

Photo by Lauren Pugh

TUTTO IN COSÌ POCO SPAZIO: LA BELLEZZA DELL'ITALIA. L’Italia è un paese piccolo in confronto a tanti altri ma sembra grande per quanto è diverso. Nessuna città è uguale all’altra. Per me, il sud sarà sempre la mia seconda casa. Da piccola ci andavo quasi ogni estate ma non mi sono mai stancata di vedere tutte le bellezze che offre. Sappiamo che il nord è molto più avanzato, però questo non significa che il sud sia più brutto o che ci siano meno cose da visitare. Quest’anno è la prima volta che giro un po’ il nord ed è più bello di quello che potevo immaginare. C’è la bellissima Venezia… senza macchine, tutti a piedi o in bici; la tranquillità di questa città sull’acqua è una cosa incredibile. Per quelli interessati alla moda, c’è Milano con tutti i negozi delle marche famose. Tutti conoscono Milano 6

by Alessandra Fazzolari

per la moda (fashion) ma per me la cosa più bella è il Duomo. A Roma c’è la storia della d’Italia fin dalle sue origini: il Colosseo, il Foro Romano, il Vaticano. Questo sono cose che consiglio a tutti, anche se non siete troppo interessati alla storia. È molto differente rispetto a quello che abbiamo qui a Firenze. Sono stili di vita e storie completamente diversi ma tutte città bellissime. Firenze la conosco meglio delle altre città dopo aver abitato qui per tre mesi. Per me, la cosa più bella di questa città è che c’è sempre qualcosa da fare. Dopo tre mesi, non mi sono ancora trovata senza niente da fare. Con tutti i ristoranti, bar, musei, e giardini, ogni giorno si può vedere una cosa nuova!



Photo by Lauren Pugh

Photo by Kristi Bauer

Photo by Lauren Pugh


CHILDREN"S TRAVEL The students in the Fall 2017 Travel Writing course have put together a special “Children’s Travel” section exclusively for this issue of the Blending newsletter. A recent New York Times article, 5 Rules for a Really Good Trip With the Kids, shares that “children often become good travelers through a lucky mix of nature and nurture.” Here, our writers reflect on the way young children live the experience of traveling a new city or country: often blissfully unaware of the historic importance, but also more apt to revel in smaller joys and imaginary adventures of their own.

A “HOW TO GUIDE” TO TRAVELING WITH CHILDREN Traveling with children is not always easy. As adults, we are always on the move, always trying to get from one point to the next. We rarely take the time to enjoy the scenery around us like we did when we were children, so when we travel with a child, we forget that they need a chance to wrap their minds around the new sights they are experiencing. Here’s how to slow things down: When a child sees a flock of birds and decides they want to chase after them, let them. Watch as their eyes fill with awe as they run up to a pigeon and scare it so they can see it fly again. As the bird’s wings spread and they begin to soar through the sky, watch as the child mimics this action, flapping their arms

STRANGE GLIMPSES As a child I traveled immensely: I saw the pyramids of Giza, the Taj Mahal and the Great Barrier Reef all before I was ten. I can recollect some of it, if only just a strange glimpse of an image my adolescent mind strangely decided to save. My parents immersed me in the world at a very early age, and thankful as I am, I look back at all these things I did as a kid, and I wish I could remember and thus appreciate them more. Perhaps this is a natural part of youth, but it has always made contemplate how well a young mind can wrap around the complexity and importance of what it is witnessing. The most notorious and famous site in Florence, the Duomo, greets thousands of tourists every day. People from all walks of life flood the square every morning to see the cathedral. Parades of unified foreigners and locals alike storm around, chasing down their guides. Fascinating facts about Italian history are shouted out in languages from all over the world. Dodging and weaving through the brainwashed tour of parents, two young Korean boys tune out the sound of their guide's voice. They’re wearing matching Adidas sweat suits with light-up sneakers. They look around seven, maybe eight. They are too young to understand what’s going on, nor do they have the attention span to focus very long on what’s being recounted. They are bursting with energy and can’t con8

by Shanelle Bonilla

in the air and running through the open park or square, and remember when you too used to chase after birds, feeling free and excited by being in a new place. If after a long day of touring museums and going on walking tours, a child begins to pout or cry, rather than get angry with them, acknowledge that you too are tired. Have patience and be understanding, for you may be used to lengthy guided tours, but the child is not and would just like to be carried as they slowly fall asleep. Above all else, remember that you too were once a curious child and even as an adult, you travel because your curiosity continues to drive you to new and unfamiliar places.

by Louis Mason

tain their excitement enough to walk slowly or listen. In fact, they haven’t heard a word about what the Duomo is. But they don’t question it. They have no interest in the history of the landmark, playing tag with one another is far more engaging. To them, the Duomo may no longer even be a church; this massive and grand white building whose walls seem to stretch for miles and whose roof reaches far past the clouds, straight into the sky, perhaps it is the palace of some king or deity, or a military stronghold. Maybe it is the where the richest man in Italy lives, or possibly Willy Wonka’s factory? To the boys, it is whatever they want it to be. And I wonder, is this so bad? Is it somehow disrespectful if the children don't appreciate what it took to create and preserve this piece of history? The lives that were dedicated and lost so that others could see it? Or, is this developing their creative and artistic passions? Although children may not be able to appreciate it for what it was and is, do they perhaps gain from it in other ways? Children are able to learn from these experiences not through the literal meaning of what they witness, but through a different perspective, a novelty, that shapes their creative imagination. Maybe some of what they see will remain with them in strange glimpses, and urge them to continue to explore, and see, and imagine.




by Gwen M. Over Photo courtesy of the author

Pitter patter, pitter patter. His little feet stumbled across the ancient grounds in front of St. Peter’s in Rome. With the shadow of his father looming behind him, he didn’t venture far. His little hands reached out toward the sky, his caramel hair blew in front of his eyes and wham… his knees descended toward the ground. Not a single tear, nor a cry came from his little body. He is tough, something inside of me admired this. Again, reaching for the sky he pressed himself up, declining help from his father. Pitter patter, pitter patter. His feet carried him forward, this time straight the pigeons in the piazza. Completely unaware of the great colonnade surrounding him, the history in Saint shadow had engulfed him; with his arms flailing every which way and screams coming from his mouth, he was headed inside the Basilica to admire a history richer than he is aware of. Over his father’s shoulder, he squinted into the sunlight searching for the pigeon, who had flown off toward the dome by now.



FLY LOOK OF THE MONTH This month’s look is inspired by the quirky but practical and timeless style of the artisans of Florence. As they prioritise their craft, comfort is of the utmost importance to allow the freedom of movement in creation. Through mixing and matching high end pieces with thrifted finds or different patterns, the result is a style that is captivating in its simplicity and pragmatism. As the students at FLY also learn to construct garments and accessories, this month’s look pays


by Casey Huang Photos by Derek McCoy Modeled by Casey Huang

a homage to those artists that live to design, produce, and create. Our model, Casey, is pictured wearing a dark green and grey blazer over a simple white t-shirt by the House of AMZ accompanied by a student made bag, checkered wool harem pants, and leather slip-ons. Shot in the Leather Lab where students create accessories, Casey is pictured transferring a paper prototype onto straw, which will ultimately become a bucket bag.





by Bailey Hubacher Photo courtesy of the Emilio Pucci website

An impossible interview with one of Italy’s most famous designers, known for his geometric patterns and space-age fashion, Emilio Pucci. Wouldn’t you like to know what one of your favorite designers would have to say if you could have a conversation with them? Since being immersed into the Italian culture, I’ve always been curious by the Italian designer Emilio Pucci, and that being said if I had the chance to interview Pucci, I believe it would go something like this:

The 1960s were an amazing time for fashion. I was obsessed with the space-age and even before the moon landings people were already thinking about the possibilities that came with it. My designs, along with those of Pierre Cardin or Andres Courreges, were so innovative for the time and they really started what became to be known as “Mod Fashion.”

You’re known as a decorated war veteran, a fashion designer, and a politician. How did you break into the fashion industry? I was on leave from the air force in 1947 when a photographer from Harper’s Bazaar noticed my original ski outfit and then asked me to design ski clothes for women, and then the rest is history!

Can you tell me a little about your work with NASA? I think my work with NASA was one of my passion projects really, as a pilot during the war, I have always held aviation close to my heart. In 1971, NASA approached me and asked if I was able to design the logo for the Apollo 15 mission. I was so honored and taken aback that it took me awhile to come up with something, but my favorite part of the patch was the three stylized birds that were meant to represent the three astronauts that went on the mission.

Your designs are filled with geometric prints, colorful patterns, and you’re referred to as a pioneer of the space-age fashion. Why do you think that is? Well, I think my career really took off during the 1960s. I mean, it was such an amazing time for fashion with the obsession the world had with the moon landing and space, I couldn’t help but be inspired. I think what really set it off was the Braniff Airline flight attendant uniforms, and of course one of my favorite creations - the space helmet. How do you think the 1960’s changed you as a fashion designer and as someone who works closely with companies such as NASA?

You are not only an accomplished designer, but also an accomplished politician and veteran, do you have any advice for kids that have the same dream as you did when you were there age? I would say that it’s okay to not know what you want to do yet. I dabbled in a bit of everything and I had many passions, and it is more than okay to follow or pursue more than one. Just stay focused on your future and try not to get caught up or distracted by matters that aren’t in your best interest.



by Breanne Welsh Photo courtesy of Ferragamo Museum website

Monroe and Eva Peron, the First Lady of Argentina. I felt that I needed a permanent place to conduct design experiments and inventions so I opened my workshop. Over the next twenty years, we had our ups and downs, but eventually I had a team of over 700 artisans working to produce my designs.

On June 5th, 1898, one of the greatest innovators in 20th century fashion was born in Campania, Italy - Salvatore Ferragamo. In Florence in the year 1927, Ferragamo began to design shoes for the wealthiest and most powerful women of the time. For him, shoemaking was not solely a way to earn money, but about showing the world what true perfection could be. Though he passed away in 1960, he left behind a legacy that is still relevant today, and if I were able to sit down with him, I imagine it would turn out like this: Your interest in shoes started at a young age, but when exactly did it become certain that shoe designing was your true passion? SF: I grew up in Italy among thirteen siblings and when I was nine, I made shoes for some of my sisters. I think that in this moment was when I became certain that I wanted shoemaking to be my career. I studied the art of shoemaking in Naples for a year and when I returned I opened my first small shop in my parents’ house. You moved to California in 1914 with your brother and started designing shoes for celebrities, how did this first experience shape the rest of your career? SF: My brother actually worked in a boot factory and I was fascinated by modern working methods and machinery, but I also noticed its limitations in quality. California was the city of dreams and cinema so this led us to many years of designing shoes for film stars. I was designing beautiful shoes that these actresses loved to don, but I also started to realize that shoes not only needed to please the eyes, but also the feet. So, I began studying human anatomy, mathematics and chemical engineering at the University of Southern California. This helped me to better understand the constraints for footwear and make my design not only beautiful, but comfortable. After 13 years in the United States, you returned to Florence. Tell me about your workshop in Italy. SF: After 13 years, I returned to Italy and settled in Florence. My career had really taken off at this time and I had begun fashioning footwear for influential women such as Marilyn 12

What would you consider as your most recognized creation? SF: Most definitely the “cage heel,” made with metal strands that come together in a sort of upside-down pyramid to form the heel of a woman’s shoe. It is hollow, so it is light, yet also very strong. Though Salvatore Ferragamo has been gone for over fifty years, his company is still expanding and running strong. It is still a household name synonymous with luxury and innovation, and known as one of the greatest fashion houses of all time. In 1955, his family opened the Ferragamo Museum here in Florence to illustrate his artistic skills and the unique role he played in the history of shoe design and international fashion. The iconic museum is home to a collection of 10,000 shoes designed by Ferragamo between 1920 and 1960 as well as photographs, sketches, books and magazines. It also includes film reels, press cuttings, clothes and accessories from the 1950s to present day. Ferragamo Museum: Entrance: Palazzo Spini Feroni Piazza Santa Trinita 5/R, 50123 Florence. Tel. 055 3562846 / 055 3562466 The museum is open from 10 am to 7:30 pm every day except 1 January, 1 May, 15 August and 25 December.

Cage Heel designed by Salvatore Ferragamo



Advanced Italian student Alessandra Mania reflects on the experience of studying abroad and the way that traveling has helped her step out of her comfort zone and learn new things about herself and the world around here, all while practicing her Italian language skills.

STUDIARE ALL’ESTERO: IL VIAGGIO DELLA VITA Studiare all’estero è un’esperienza unica. Dà l’opportunità di vedere un nuovo mondo e di capire come funzionano le altre culture. Quando gli studenti studiano all’estero, quasi tutti decidono di viaggiare tantissimo nei dintorni. Alcuni studenti si allontanano dal paese in cui studiano per esplorarne altri, mentre altri studenti rimangono in quel paese. La mia esperienza all’estero finora è stata la migliore esperienza della mia vita. Ho deciso di viaggiare soprattutto in Italia. Ogni fine settimana ho visto una nuova città. Anche se avrei potuto vedere altri paesi in Europa, ho pensato che sarebbe stato meglio visitare l’Italia il più possibile. Quindi ho preso questa decisione. Sin dall’inizio del semestre ho visto tante città d’Italia. Ho iniziato il mio percorso a Roma. Poi ho girato sulla costa fino a Firenze. Ho visto alcune città come Viareggio, Carrara, Forte dei Marmi, Pietrasanta, e le Cinque Terre. Dopo questa settimana, ero in gita ogni fine settimana. Viaggiare in un paese straniero può essere un po’ intimidatorio. Senza macchina uno si deve abituare a prendere i mezzi pubblici. Per ogni gita che facevo, dovevo prendere i mezzi pubblici. Prima di venire in Italia, non li avevo mai presi. Se io volevo andare in gita, dovevo prendere i mezzi pubblici, non avevo altra scelta. Quindi ho fatto esattamente questo. Ho preso molti autobus e treni per arrivare alle mie destinazioni. Ho visto molte meraviglie dell’Italia, come la Costa Amalfitana, Siena, Pisa, Milano, e la Sicilia. Il mio viaggio in Sicilia è stato, tra tutti, il mio viaggio preferito. É stato il mio preferito soprattutto perché sono andata a vedere la mia famiglia. Tuttavia, ho visto dei posti bellissimi mentre ero laggiù. A tutti gli studenti che pensano di studiare all’estero, io direi che è un'incredibile opportunità che accade solo una volta nella

by Alessandra Mania Photos courtesy of the author

vita. Da questa esperienza possono imparare tantissimo, non solo scoprendo altre culture, ma anche avendo più fiducia in loro stessi. Penso che viaggiare in molti paesi diversi o viaggiare all’interno dello stesso paese siano due perfetti modi di passare un semestre all’estero. Ma è importante spingersi oltre la zona di conforto ed esplorare nuove cose.




Tell us a little about yourself. I am originally from Chicago, Illinois. I work as a private chef and culinary instructor in a suburb of Chicago, and have a company called Bistroll where I cook for people in their homes. I help them plan and execute menus for parties and celebrations of all kinds. I do all the set-up, cooking, serving and clean up. My clients are able to be a guest at their own party. I also teach cooking classes. Adults of all ages and levels come hone their skills, learn a new technique or just enjoy an evening of food and drink. I love sharing my passion for food, stories and travel adventures with them. This year I am expanding my business to include food and wine tours abroad. In 2011, you studied at FUA through RMU and participated in the Italian French Riviera 6-week program. What made you decide to choose this program? Towards the end of my culinary education, my school, Robert Morris, was offering the Italian French Riviera program through FUA. I had never been out of the U.S. and had always wanted to go to Italy. I knew that this would be a once in a lifetime chance for me and that I needed to do it. Through the program you got to explore some of the less touristy gems of Italy such as Pietrasanta or Forte dei Marmi - which of the places that you visited left the most lasting impression on you? It is hard for me to pick just one city. I explored cities like, Forte dei Marmi, Pietrasanta, Saint-Paul de Vence, Arles, Grasse, Menton. None of these cities I had heard of before, but at each stop I fell more and more in love; in love with the beautiful architecture, the warm and welcoming people, the stories behind the towns, the food, the wine - it was intoxicating. I met artists and chefs. I experienced local flavors and traditions. I was encouraged to be part of the community not a tourist. I wrote blogs about my experiences, was taught to take photographs and see things with an artist’s eye, and I cooked and ate with local chefs. It has all stayed with me! 14

by the FUA Alumni Association Photos courtesy of Julie Szimon

You also stayed in Florence for the second half of your program. What was one of your favorite things about the city? What do you miss most? The last three weeks I lived in Florence and took Baking & Pastry and Garde Manger courses at Apicius. There are no words to describe the beauty of Florence. It was an unbelievable experience to wake up every day with so much history around me. My classes and instructors were the best. I loved when my instructors would come to class each day with a basket of vegetables straight from the market. In fact, my favorite part of the city, and the thing I miss the most, are the fresh markets. I would wander the markets in my free time and soak up the endless stalls of fresh produce, meats, fish and pasta. As a private chef and culinary instructor, what are some of the skills you learned at FUA that you find are most useful to you today? I learned many things from my time at FUA. One being that sometimes simple is best. Top quality ingredients don’t need a lot. I learned to stay true to the ingredients and true to myself as a chef. When you studied through FUA, you were also already a mother of two. What advice would you give to other parents who are interested in studying abroad? Any advice for other FUA students in general? My two boys are now in high school and getting ready for college themselves. My time and trip through FUA made me realize how important study abroad is. It is important to get out of your comfort zone, to experience different places, to expand your thinking and to see that at the core, we are all the same no matter where we live. I have been lucky enough to continue traveling and have been able to take my children to Spain. I hope to bring them to Florence soon. Both of them love traveling and want to participate in study abroad programs through their colleges. My advice to other students is TAKE THE TRIP! You will never forget it. I can truly say it was the best part of my culinary education.




FIRENZE WINTER PARK: SKATING AND SKIING EXTRAVAGANZA During the month of December, the sixth edition of The Firenze Winter Park will be a hot spot for young and old alike, with skating, skiing, booths, and events throughout the season. It opened in late October and will remain in operation for winter fun until February 25, 2018. You can purchase a magnetic card for 5 euro with a refundable deposit that you’ll receive back at the end of your skating time. The magnetic card can also be used to charge more than one round of skating to it.

by Kathleen Mansfield Photos by Marco Borrelli, courtesy of Firenze Winter Park press gallery

Another option is the ski slope available with a ticket, where it is mandatory for minors of 14 years old to be equipped with a helmet (free of charge). Not up for skating or skiing? Food booths, aperitivi and more will also be provided! The Firenze Winter Park is located at Teatro Obihall – Via Della Casaccia, 17, 50136 Firenze. For more information, send an email to


by Bridget Moran

Ganzo, the creative learning lab of the Apicius International School of Hospitality, invites you to join them for their final monthly themed dinner event, “L’Inverno in Toscana.” On Thursday, December 7, enjoy Ganzo’s exquisite winter menuprepared especially for this event. Taste several of Tuscany’s colder season specialties, along with only the finest wines, straight from the cellars of the Apicius Friends. The event will take place from 8:30-10:30 pm at Ganzo, Via dei Macci, 85R 50122 Firenze. This is a fine dining experience you surely do not want to miss. For more information about Ganzo or L’Inverno in Toscana, visit




Supplemento di / Supplement to Blending Magazine

Direttore Responsabile / Editor in chief

Reg. Trib. di Firenze n° 5844 del 29 luglio 2011

Matteo Brogi

Anno 7 - Numero 8 - Dicembre 2017 Year 7 - Issue 8 - December 2017

Caporedattore / Editorial Director Grace Joh

Editore / Publisher Florence Campus per INGORDA Editore

Coordinamento Editoriale /

Via Alfonso Lamarmora, 39

Managing Editor

50121 Firenze

Lauren Pugh

Sede editoriale /

Redazione testi / Copy Editors

Blending is a newsletter created

Editorial Headquarters

Chrystalla Christodoulou

with and for students of Florence

via dell'Oriuolo, 43

University of the Arts, the academic

50122 Firenze

Consulenti Accademici /

member of Palazzi FAIE.

Tel. 055 2633 182/183

Faculty Advisors

The newsletter collaborates with

Gianni Rossiello, Nicoletta

the Student Life Department and

Stampato in proprio /

Development Office.

Printed in house

Salomon, Martina Franci

For information contact:

Impaginazione / Page Layout

Jordan Moorhead Redazione fotografica / Photo Editor Blending Staff

p e r F l o re n c e C a m p u s E d i t o re

BLENDING Newsletter December 2017  
BLENDING Newsletter December 2017