‘OK, Angela, tell me how you make this dish’, I say as we walk Lecce’s market together, her cheeks plummy from the recent cold.

‘OK. First you select a perfect chicory, this one is a real looker’, she says. She tucks the vegetable beneath her arm as though it were her briefcase.


Back at my place we strike wooden matches to light the flames under the large pots and she goes to work cleaning the chicory.


‘So what’s so special about chicory’, I ask her.


‘Well, first, they are very beautiful’, she says, her expression that of a young mother. ‘It might be the world’s most perfect vegetable. Healthy. Inexpensive. Hearty. Their flavour is rich and satisfying, complex. They feed the inner you as well’.


I slip some broad beans into a pot of water: they splash as they go in, leaving droplets of cold water across both of our faces. She laughs.


The cat in the school’s garden rounds the flower pots and sits to watch Angela as she works her knife through the leaves. His eyes start to ever……so….slowly….shut, rhythmically, as if they are some how mirroring his slowing pulse.


I pour another cup of tea from red kettle and warm my hands on the sides of the mug, the mug up to my chin.

I settle in for one of life’s most beautiful moments: watching a woman that I really like eating something that she really loves. If there are more beguiling moments between humans, I can’t think of one right now.

And while I’ve certainly made the dish hundreds of times, watching her eat in perfect silence, her spoon to mouth, plate to lap, the dish won’t ever, ever be the same for me…… not after today.

Not even close.


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  1. Dear Folks,

    I am a 40 year plus hotelier who has chosen to spend 6 months in Lecce starting in November of 2013. Do you think there would be any value in my talking to your classes about the management side of the business. Please be honest. I am a good speaker known for his wit and sense of understanding. I would not want any pay for this. I am simply looking for a few avenues to keep my mind fresh in retirement.
    I will attach a news release that best describes me.

    Thank you for your consideration.

    David Boyd

    David Boyd has been named Managing Director of The
    Sagamore, the private island resort on Lake George in Bolton Landing, New York. The appointment
    marks Boyd’s return to The Sagamore, where he served as Vice President and Managing Director
    from 1984 to 1989. Then managed by Omni Hotels, The Sagamore earned top honors under Boyd’s
    direction as a meeting destination and luxury getaway.

    An accomplished hotelier and respected hospitality industry consultant, Boyd has left his signature
    on several of the country’s most acclaimed hotels, resorts and country clubs and lent his
    considerable expertise to a variety of industry organizations, serving as President of the Bermuda
    Hotel Association, as well as a Director of the New York State Tourist Board.

    Most recently, Boyd was Executive Vice President and Director of Consulting Services for The Curry
    Company, a company in partnership with John Curry. In this capacity, he served as Senior
    Consultant and interim General Manager to The Sea Mist Resort, Fripp Island Resort and the Cliffs
    Communities. His wide-ranging responsibilities included financial planning, marketing, operational
    analysis and resort owners representation.

    Prior to this, he was President and Managing Director of Sonesta Beach Resort in Bermuda from
    1989 to 1996 and Vice President and General Manager-part owner of the Grotto Bay Beach Club in
    Bermuda from 1974 to 1984. He joined Sonesta in 1966.

    Boyd began his career at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. and later joined New York’s
    renowned Plaza Hotel as an assistant Management Services Director. He served as Director of
    Management Services and Human Resources Director of the Sonesta Beach Key Biscayne and,
    later, moved to the Bermuda resort as Resident Manager.

    Boyd attended Ursinus College in Pennsylvania and completed education courses with the American
    Hotel & Lodging Institute, Novey Leadership, Victoria Advanced Trainer Training Program and is a
    Certified Facilitator and “Strategic Business Leadership” Coach with The Alternative Board. Boyd
    has served on the Sea Mist Board of Directors and the University of South Carolina School of
    Hospitality Advisory Board.

    • David,
      thanks for writing.
      I think you may have mistaken our school for hotel/restaurant training, rather than for vacationers wanting to get to know a different part of Italy through our food and wine.

      If you’d like to take our class, we’d love to have you while you’re here but I don’t think any speaking engagements would be needed.

      Thanks again for your message. We look forward to hearing from you again.


  2. What about the recipe? Come si prepara? I lived with pugliese guy who loved making the purea di fave, ma non mi ha mai insegnato a farla.

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