‘And there is no swan song in sight’, said Kathy, pictured here on her 3rd visit, with her husband John, on his second.
‘I come to Italy every year but The Awaiting Table keeps pulling me back. It might the mix of learning, cooking, eating, seeing old friends and picking up something new, each time. In other cities I can be a tourist. Here they know me, they remember me’.
‘And the wine’, says John. ‘It will be the wine that’ll make me a ‘three-peater’.
Another student has been back four times, her 5th visit scheduled for next spring. As compliments go, it’s hard to think of a bigger one.
‘I felt like I stumbled upon something very genuine and I want to share that with others, so it’s only natural to want to return and bring friends. A second reason is that so much of Italy is pretty well-trodden this days, so getting to meet Silvestro’s friends and vendors, it’s like slipping into someone else’s life, different than my own, where your biggest dilemma is to decide which tomatoes will make the best pasta sauce tonight, the only daily ‘commute’ is out to the herb garden to cradle herbs in my apron back into the kitchen’.
We had been wanting to create something special for returning students for years, but what that was, exactly, turned out to be a lot different than we had expected. I had had several options for the first time we offered our advance course all mapped out but during our Open house at the beginning of the week, it turns out I was way off.
‘I feel as though I really learned a lot on my first visit but just that I wanted to go deeper’, says Theresa from New York. ‘And the chance to see the others that I had met during my time in the Salento, well, who could pass that up?’
Rob and Deborah had a slightly different take when I asked what they had hoped to take in the second time. ‘We came to the school in Lecce a few years back and then instantly went home and wove these dishes straight into our daily life’, says Rob. ‘While it’s nice to learn new dishes from the Salento, for us it’s a sort of calibration that we are after, comparing what has now become part of the food we cook and eat together, with the original source’.
‘And in the garden too’, adds Deborah. ‘We brought back a lot of the seeds from Puglia so seeing these things at the green grocerer here, and learning other dishes to make from them, it only deepens our experience’.
Hans from Germany returned for yet another reason: to bring his new girlfriend this time, Ursula from Switzerland.
‘It is easy to fall in love with Puglia’, says Hans. ‘Immediately after arrival you are enamored by the historic and cultural fascination of this ravishing beauty. When you additionally visit Silvestro’s Cooking school, you go right into the heart of it: he not only teaches a straight, simple and down-to-earth but nevertheless exquisite way of cooking, but also guides you through the sceneries of wine, olive oil and all the other abundant items meaning the genuine “Puglian way of life”. We felt that everything is coming from the bottom of his Puglian heart.
That’s why we came back and why we will come back again…’
If you’ve already been with us, consider coming back. We’d love to have you, to cook alongside you in the kitchen again and to gather around our table once more. We’ll keep your glass full. Our staff is probably even the same. And this year we celebrate 10 years.
There has never been a better time to come back, for whatever your reason may be.
Click through to our site or simply respond to this email to learn more about our new advanced course, our 10th birthday party at the castle, our new wine programme or just to say hello. We’d love to hear from you.