From the day we opened our doors, we have been reinventing what a typical cookery and wine course in Italy means. Read on to learn more about what makes The Awaiting Table Cookery School Special:-
In 2003 we opened our school
– With the goal of causing a sea change in international tourism in Italy. What was that change? That international tourism in Italy would start to behave more like domestic tourism.
For generations, international tourism in Italy was a Florence-based theme park, a place called Italyland, where Barolo, mozzarella, pizza, pasta, pesto, gelato and polenta should be consumed, never mind that none of things are Florentine, let alone Tuscan. It treated Italy as though it were a country (sic), with the food and wine more or less the same in all the tourist cities.
But that’s never been how we see and consume Italy ourselves, but rather as a series of tiny city states, each with treasure chest of regional specialities that couldn’t or shouldn’t be had anywhere else. We’re never in Italy, we’re in a city. We go to Fruili for the crisp whites, to Romagna for le piadine, and for the last 15 years, Italy has come to Puglia for the food and wine, making it the number one domestic tourist destination. (You’ll likely never feel it though, as it mostly happens in August, and in Italian).
But it’s not just regionalism that propels us. It’s also interaction. Both of our locations are in the historic centres of Southern Italian cities. Walk out the kitchen door and you’re in the city, where greengrocers, butchers, foragers, wine makers and extra virgin producers want to meet you as much as you want to meet them (provincial Italy certainly has its advantages, the population still non-jaded by tourism).
And we’re also studied. We have three nationally-trained sommelier on staff, with more university degrees than staff members. Yes, you’ll learn how to cook dandelion greens while here but you’ll also learn how they represent subversive, political acts of the regional’s historical poor. Or how the land under your feet is composed of millions of years of clam and mussel cadavers, AND how- exactly- it affects the wine in your glass. From the classification of our local DOP extra virgin, to the fiscal side of foraging in Italy, ‘interesting’ transforms into ‘compelling’, when you leave behind national cliches and out of date stereotypes
Externally: To teach our local food and wine in a new, informed and fun way to students from all over the world. To create and harness high quality and sustainable tourism to re-enforce what makes our region special.
Internally: To give a platform to Salentini to showcase the passion, desires, degrees and experiences gained abroad as a way of building high-quality and sustainable tourism here in Puglia. To hire locally. To reverse the brain drain. To be the mirror back to the community, to draw attention to all that we have that makes us special.
The History of The Awaiting Table
– The Silvestori’s emigrated out of Puglia at various dates in the 20th century.
– Silvestro moves back (leaving teaching position in Bologna). 2002.
– The Awaiting Table Cookery School opens in 2003 (very first course has 6 students from 5 different countries).
– Silvestro buys an ancient FIAT. Fixed up and repainted, birth of Emiluccia.
– Appears in The Los Angeles Times for the first time. 2005.
– Anna begins. 2005.
– London Times. 2006.
– Silvestro begins formal wine training. 2007.
– ‘Italy’s top cooking schools’, Food & Wine. 2007
– Baron builds kitchen for Silvestro. Castle courses begin. 2007.
– Silvestro begins to bicycle Southern Italy wine regions (10 week trip). 2007
– Dutch, American, Chinese and domestic television appearances. 2008.
– Bon Appetit 2010
– 40th country. 2010
– Silvestro graduates as sommelier and begins to write for Wine & Spirits, 2010
– First lecture for the region of Puglia. 2010
– First teaching international university students in Italy. 2011.
– First teaching Italian university. 2012
– Silvestro begins short-subject filmmaking. 2016.
– Emiluccia Silvestori joins facebook. 2017