My name is Sara, I am now a full time Chef after reaching the finals of MasterChef 2011.
The show has been an amazing experience and offered me an invaluable platform giving me the motivation to change from nursing to a full time career in food.
When John and Gregg told the three finalists “Go out and make the most of your talent”, I took their advice seriously.
The result of all the blood, sweat and tears that came from MasterChef made me understand the secret of taking food from an ordinary to an extraordinary dimension. Consequently, I left my job as an intensive care sister, a very difficult decision, and have launched a new business focussed entirely on good food.
This website has details of all my projects under one roof: you can learn about my food, my work and get a taste of things to come.
I am proud of my roots and the wonderful flavours and dishes that Italy has given the world. I combine my rich heritage with the principles of fine dining to make modern, stylish Italian cuisine.
My ethos as a chef is simplicity: my MasterChef final dishes all had a handful of ingredients. It is not gadgets and knives, but a few high quality ingredients that are the real tools of a chef and the most important elements of any great meal.
My cooking is a celebration of both my Italian heritage and the wonderful local produce that Britain has on offer. It is about communicating my passion and skills to a ever increasing and knowledgeable audience.
Using simple fresh ingredients, my skillful presentation and a twist of creativity, I will ensure you have a memorable culinary experience whether it is an evening at the dining club, a special occasion at another venue or attending one of my cookery classes.
I was born in Italy, a triplet, and raised in a traditional Italian family, where both my parents were passionate about food.
My childhood memories include the seasonal outings with my dad foraging for mushrooms, wild asparagus, dandelions and radicchio and the days spent in the kitchen with my mother creating beautiful meals for the whole family.
The strong Venetian background on my father’s side made me very aware of what the sea had to offer hence my appreciation of the Yorkshire coast and its glorious seafood. I remember competing with my siblings over who had the blackest teeth after a polenta and cuttle fish ink dish or who could eat the most clams!
The afternoons spent at my grandfather’s house in Padova were very stimulating. He and his brothers had owned and run a very popular restaurant in the city centre and he loved telling food tales and I got a real sense of the hard work involved in running a catering business. I shared in his triumphs and enjoyed laughing about his minor disasters in the kitchen.
I met my husband David – with whom I share a great love of food and who has been my mentor throughout– in Egypt in 1993 during a scuba diving holiday. I have very fond memories of re-creating Aubergine alla Parmigiana with local cheese (Gibna Rumi), trying out local sweetbreads and calf’s brains and the most amazing fruit and vegetables I had ever tried thanks to the nurturing Nile.
The following year we moved to York where David completed his PhD. Not speaking a word of English, I joined a full immersion course, worked in a pub and voluntereed in our local primary school; my linguistic skills improved sufficiently for me to secure a job at York hospital. There I worked as a staff nurse and became intensive care deputy sister in 2004.
Food has always been a big part of my life, but aged 40, retraining seemed like a big step. Gaining a place on Masterchef provided the skills, the confidence and the right platform for me to launch a new career and turn my culinary dream into a way of life.
Like most Italians I am very passionate about food. Before I started the competition “I knew I was a good cook, but didn’t know I could create”.
Being on MasterChef has been one of the most important events of my life. Reaching the final and having achieved so much has been a life changing experience.
Many finalists have become professionals in the food industry – and I came away thinking ‘why not me?’
The grueling stages of MasterChef have taught me a wide range of skills and I’ve worked alongside some of the world’s most acclaimed chefs. In their presence, I knew I had a lot to learn, but they also made me aware of my culinary talents.