We are proud to introduce Diana Testa, our local chef expert in all things Italian!
In 2019, Chef Diana teamed up with Patio & Pizza Outdoor Furnishings to bring her Italian flair along with recipes, videos, pizza oven demonstrations, and cooking classes to our community.
Having the privilege of partnering with and learning from Diana, we thought an interview would be the best way for you to get to know her as well.
So, let's jump right in and learn all about Chef Diana.
Diana, where did you grow up?
I grew up in Italy in Merate (Lecco) near the Como Lake. I lived also in Switzerland, the UK and in the Netherlands.
That sounds fascinating. Living in so many intriguing places, where did your love of cooking originate?
It came from my grandma who had the passion for homemade pasta, and my husband (who is also Italian) who loves cooking. And, of course, having three kids we always cook!
I can certainly understand a grandma's influence! My grandmother was always cooking up the best Southern meals and nobody could beat her fried chicken or banana pudding! So, why do you prefer Italian food?
I love the simplicity of Italian cuisine. A few fresh and natural ingredients can make an entire meal!
That's great. So, you moved to Jacksonville, Florida in August of 2017. What made you decide to open your company Italian Cooking Lessons?
My passion for teaching and the love for the Italian food and the Italian culture.
During your classes, what have you found your participants the most excited about?
They love that they are actually doing something they never thought they could even do! Filling ravioli or rolling gnocchi brings them all together in a way that recalls the family around the table sharing the love and the passion for food and sharing memories.
I can relate to that. I always remember the big holidays when everyone was involved in the kitchen. So, if someone tells you they are “horrible at cooking”, what is one piece of advice you can share with them?
Nobody is a horrible cook, we all have different skills. I like to motivate my students, we are not master chefs! We are all here to learn, myself included!
Do you have any trips back to Italy planned?
Yes, I am planning to go home for Christmas and I have two trips planned for next year where I am going to bring my customers to take cooking classes directly in Italy, visit vineyards, do some sightseeing and more!
Why do you want your clients to experience Italy firsthand?
I just love the idea of sharing my love and passion for Italian food and culture. Having my customers experience all this with me as a culinary experience allows them to fully immerse in the culture and is the perfect way of learning to cook great food while discovering the regional culture and cuisine.
Why do you prefer Italian ingredients?
Flavour, texture, and preservation are different which makes the end product different!
Do you have a favorite pizza and do you have a favorite pizza dough recipe you can share with us?
Oh, yes! My favorite pizza is with mozzarella di bufala, cherry tomatoes, and fresh basil leaves. My secret is the flour, I import my flour from Naples! And I only use Flour 00! For the recipe, I am afraid you have to come and learn the tricks!
I love it! I will definitely be taking advantage of your cooking expertise so I can learn all the tricks! So, where can people find you on the web? Are you on Social Media?
Definitely! You can find me and a list of events on my website at:
And, here's where you can find me on Facebook and Instagram:
Thank you for sharing your story with us Chef Diana!
For more information about classes at Italian Cooking Lessons, visit the website at https://www.italiancookinglessonsjax.com.
Be on the lookout for recipes, classes, and instructions from Diana in the near future!