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Meet Chef Nicoletta Grippo

Meet Chef Nicoletta Grippo

Eataly Magazine is pleased to introduce you to the chef of La Scuola di Eataly NYC Flatiron, Nicoletta Grippo!

At Eataly, we are proud to work with world-class chefs, who transform simple, high-quality ingredients into the delicious dishes in our restaurants. We want you to get to know the people behind the food, so we are presenting them via our series “Meet the Chef.”

When did you know you wanted to be a chef?
It happened by accident! I have been in the kitchen cooking with friends and family my whole life but I had never intended to follow the career path of a chef. Then, I ended up learning everything, got stuck in the kitchen, loved it, and never left!  I was actually in school on my way to becoming an international corporate lawyer (how bored I would be!) when I opened a gelato, coffee, and pastry shop 13 years ago. Shortly thereafter, I became a part of a culinary school in Italy and began traveling teaching — a strange turn of events!

Did you train at an institute?
To be honest, most of my culinary skills were self taught; when I have a passion for something, I learn very quickly. I’ve always loved the art of bringing people together with food, so that was a huge motivator. I did, however, do some culinary schooling in Italy.

Tell us about your past professional experience.
My professional experience began 13 years ago in my shop, Gelateria Dolce Amore, in Vancouver, BC. I then taught my mother and sister to run that shop, and I’ve spent the years since traveling and teaching culinary classes in between opening my own businesses, the most recent of which was Caramello in Brooklyn, New York. Let’s just say I’ve kept very busy.

What is your specialty Italian dish?
Savory: I make a mean plate of pasta. I love making handmade pasta and gnocchi. Also, everyone at Eataly is still talking about the braised lamb shanks I made for them on my first day, though, so I’d say that’s the dish.

Sweet: Gelato! And all things pie.

What ingredients are you craving the most right now?
Anything and everything summer! It was such a long dreary winter that I think I shed a few tears of joy at the sight of all the green goodness during my first “Spring in Tuscany” class this year. I’m looking forward to good tomatoes, but I’m enjoying the first berries of the season at the moment.

Do you have any quirks that your team teases you about?
I definitely walk to a different beat, but I would have to say they get a kick out of watching me taste a dish when I’m teaching a class. If I give a nod after tasting, they know it’s been seasoned to perfection.

If you weren’t a chef, what profession would you have?
Hard to say: as a young adult, I wanted to be either a vet or lawyer, but somehow I feel like I still would have taken a different path. I like a lot of different things! What I can say is that I would have always gone the entrepreneur route. It’s in my blood. There is a satisfaction that comes from the hard work of owning your own business that fuels me.

From fresh pasta to cooking raw, Chef Nicoletta teaches classes on a variety of topics at La Scuola di Eataly Chicago, our cooking school. As she demonstrates dishes, guests enjoy each course — with wine pairings, of course! To take a class with the chef at La Scuola, click here. 

Chef Nicoletta Grippo Scuola

Piacere di conoscerti, Chef Nicoletta: nice to meet you!