Cooking Vacations is an American based company, with headquarters in Boston, Massachusetts; and with an office in Positano, Italy. Our staff is a professional group of experts who bring you the best of food, wine and travel in Italy. Call us at 1.800.916.1152 or email us at email@example.com
Lauren Birmingham Piscitelli
Creator & Owner
Lauren is an artist at heart. She created Cooking Vacations Italy and continues to bring new cooking experiences as she travels across Italy, always meeting chefs, wine makers and food experts. Lauren began her career in the communications as a writer and photographing for The Brown Daily Herald at Brown University. She graduated, moved to Paris and joined the marketing & publicity department at Hasbro Toys, Paris, France. She returned to Boston and created Birmingham Public Relations where she managed media campaigns for Red Sox, Celtic, Patriot & Bruins sports stars, Chefs, Rebook Sports, and the Boston Marathon. A published writer & photographer writing for Tastes Of Italia Magazine, and foodie at heart, she loves to cook! Traveling, discovering new food recipes & trends is a never-ending adventure. Born in the USA, she is an Italian-American who now lives in Boston and Positano, Italy.
Manager at Cooking Vacations
Melody, Manager at Cooking Vacations, a lover of food, wine and all things Italian, lives in Positano. Inspired by languages, Melody studied Spanish, French and Italian and chose to pursue Italian due to her Italian roots: Great Grandfather Enrico Guerra, from near Montefiascone in Lazio and Great Grandmother Rosa Bianco from Catanzaro, Calabria. Nonno Giuseppe Francesco Guerra served in Italy during World War II and continues to enjoy speaking Italian with Melody.
Melody came to Italy shortly after her graduation from Georgetown University looking to put 3 years of Italian study into practice. Since living in Italy, Melody has worked in a hotel in Positano, taught English in Salerno and Rome and worked for the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino. Her expertise is Rome, Torino and the Amalfi Coast-where she works in the Cooking Vacations’ Positano office. Melody’s passion lies in revealing true Italy to those who come visit.
Germaine Stafford brings us “Italy On A Plate” each month-a culinary round-up of what is happening in the culinary world and gives you her chef of the month, book recommendation, and seasonal foods. Germaine is a fulltime freelance writer who has spent the last 14 years of her life in Italy. For the last 5 years she has been the food and cookery correspondent for Italy published in Britain, has won a variety of competitions for both her fiction and non- fiction work, and in 2004 reached the final of the prestigious CWA Debut Dagger award. When she’s not writing, she’s probably eating and drinking or has her nose stuck in a good book.
Marie Lucia Birmingham
A chef at heart and always in the kitchen, Marie heads up the accounting department keeping all the reservations in order. She loves to cook,-while listening to her Italian classics. She follows in the foot-steps of her mom Philomena and her grandmother Lucia, as a mom and cook. And like her grandmother, she is always with her children and grandchildren. Marie loves it best when she is rolling out dough, making fresh pasta and baking those sweet biscotti with granddaughters Chloe Lucia and Siena Rose.
Executive Chef & Restauranteur
Contribuiting his award-winning recipes each month, Todd English one of the most decorated, respected and charismatic chefs in the world, Has enjoyed a staggering number of accolades during his remarkable career. He has been recognized by several of the food industrys’ most prestigious publications, established one of the best-known restaurant brands in the nation, published theree critically acclaimed cookbooks, and was named People’s Magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People. Each month Todd brings us his amazing recipes!
Sabrina Ritacco, MSc Food Culture and Communications
Program Coordinator & Culinary Marketing
Coming to us while pursuing her Masters in Food Culture and Communications at the University of Gastronomic Sciences in northern Italy, Sabrina has stayed on the team brings us the latest in food trends, recipes, travel tips, and new programs. Sabrina’s list of food and travel experiences is long and winding lured by her continuous curiosity, appetite, and passion to make people feel as happy as she does to eat really good food.
Her culinary training began early in life in her Italian-Argentinean home, knowing just as easily how to make a homemade tomato sauce as how to properly seal perfect empanadas. She went on to earn her bachelor’s degree at the University of Virginia, frequenting the local farmer’s markets and artisan food shops when not studying in the library…of course. She’s worked in a farmstay in Emilia-Romagna, as a youth food educator in NY, and in food writing and photography.
When she’s not managing our social media, searching new program destinations, or testing recipes she’s daydreaming about her next travel destination, planning a menu for a dinner party or photographing her dinner.
Reservations and Food Research
An expert in ancient Mediterranean culture, Giulia loves good food and wine, as well as exploring her family’s culinary traditions which are deeply rooted in the history of her home town of Positano. Giulia studied Archeology and Italian Cultural Heritage, which matches nicely with her passion for food, because luckily in Italy food is synonymous with culture!
When she is not busy checking availability or scheduling cooking programs for clients, she likes playing the saxophone, walking though the secret hillside paths in mountains above Positano or enjoying self-guided tours in archeological areas where she loses herself in the world of Ancient Greek and Roman Civilization.
Sabatino was born in the beautiful bay of Conca dei Marini, just down the coast from Positano and has grown up there his whole life. Combining his passion for the Mediterean cuisine with his love of filming he is inspired every day by his surroundings here on the Amalfi Coast. Studying Audio-Video Communications and specializing in Documentaries, he has visited and worked all over Italy from Umbria and Tuscany and back to home territory in Capri and the Penisola Sorrentina. He has documented works from the Gambero Rosso and Michelin food guides. A true artist, not only passionate about the food that he films but also in the Italian music and fashion scenes. When he’s not hard at work he loves to travel and explore new and interesting places and foods to get his imagination going
Paulo A Lima, MSc Food Culture
Paulo brings food trends to Cooking Vacations each month. He currently is the food trends director for the world’s number one food luxury project called LA Organic, a project headed by the famous French architect and designer Philippe Starck and the world’s most respected enologist Michel Rolland. Lima is an expert in gastronomy trends and marketing with a Master of Sciences in Food Culture and Communication from Universita di Scienze Gastronomiche / Slow Food in Italy, a post graduate degree in e-business and in Consumer Psychology from New York University, and a BSc in Marketing from Rio de Janeiro’s Universidade Cidade; Paulo travels all over the world locating exciting new products, a mission that allows him to combine his passion for discovering authentic terroir-specific foods with his desire to bring them to a select group of food lovers. Paulo is a master of-analysis of markets that identify and forecast lifestyle and food trends. Prior LA Organic, Paulo was the gastronomy trends director for Italy’s Appennino Truffle Group, the world’s second largest truffle trading firm based in Bologna. Prior he was marketing manager at Italian Cooking and Living Media Group – La Cucina Italiana Magazine in New York.
Terenzio Biscardo is our Italian wine producer and expert from
his Villa Ortaglia in Montepulciano. He and his son Nicola, who are members of the National Organization of Wine Tasters of the Italian Association of Sommeliers and of the Society of Wine Educators, produce the great Montepulciano wines from Tuscany. Terenzio’s knowledge and award winning wines makes him a leader in the field. Each month he shares his knowledge and information with you on the great wines of Italy.