My name is Jessica Montanelli, I was born and raised in the medieval town of Siena (Tuscany, Italy). Although I was mostly raised in the countryside, about 15 km away from the town, in a super-small village surrounded 360° by hills and fields (see picture below).
As a teenager I always dreamt of living in the United States, dazzled by the many TV shows I was watching in which life seemed to be perfect and happy. At 18 I decided to realize (in part) this dream, so I started searching for Italo-Americans bloggers and contact them to know if they could help me get there. Where? Los Angeles of course.
At last one nice girl helped me out to find a family who could host me as Au Pair, so I packed my suitcase and left all by myself with only a few hundreds euros in pocket and a lot of hope (thinking about this today it really feels like a jump in the dark, but I was so driven by my dreams that I never hesitated, not even for a second). In those magical 3 months I realized TV shows are actually not so far from the truth as everybody was telling me and I went back home hopeful and happiest than ever.
During the flight back from LA to Rome, I watched a movie that subconsciously changed my life: Julie&Julia. I didn’t know much about cooking even though I was always watching my mom, but after this movie I started cooking more and more importantly, I started appreciating food on a different level. My mom got me “The way to Cook” or Julia Child that Christmas and I started from there.
Meanwhile I was mostly concentrating on my small business of Polymer Clay jewelry and miniatures which I started in 2009, called “Jeyam Fimo Creations”. Once a week I was also teaching a Polymer Clay class to kids and elderdly.
In 2011 my life changed slightly: I couldn’t go back to the US so I went to live in London but it didn’t go very well since I couldn’t find a job and the money finished very quickly, so I went back to Siena and started working in a retail store because I could not make a living anymore with my little business. So my big hopes and dreams of the previous years vanished and I had to come down to the “real life”.
Although I could never stand the thought of working for other people’s for the rest of my life, so I started thinking of a new entrepreneurial idea and I started baking. My goals went from “Opening a cafè” to “Opening a cupcake shop” to “Opening a bakery” but soon enough I figured that baking was too difficult and I was too lazy. So I started experiencing more with savory food, mostly following the guidance and recipes of my mom which has been a chef in a restaurant for some years. I then opened my first food blog in Italian but I gave up pretty quickly because I was feeling too insecure.
In 2013 I met my boyfriend and at the end of the year I moved with him (and my cat Pinkie) to The Netherlands (a leap of faith! But it went well) to follow his studies at the Conservatory. I found a job in a call center for a multilingual project, since I don’t speak Dutch, and I work there since then.
I kept cooking and my recipe books kept increasing so in 2014 I decided to open a new food blog (as escape from the menial job that I’m forced to do to earn a living), this time in English and I promised to myself that this time I would not gave up; I had to persevere if I really wanted it to be my future career.
Now I’m certain that I want my future to be in a KITCHEN surrounded by fresh delicious food and handmade pasta. So I will continue with this food blog hoping that it will take me in the right direction.
WHAT I LIKE:
- Cheese, lots of cheese. There’s no need to add anything else here.
- Pasta. Especially if handmade, a good dish of pasta is good for the soul. Pasta is almost sacred to me.
- Tea. I drink 2-3 cups of hot tea every day and my favorite is Chinese Green Tea (and Chai Tea after dinner) although i often drink blends with fruits and spices.
- Gratins. Every dish is better with a golden crust of crispy breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese.
WHAT I DON’T LIKE:
- Pasta with chicken. To me the flavors and consistency just don’t match.
- Pasta used as bread to accompany meat dishes. It’s carbohydrate but NOT bread, so please don’t put it in the same plate with the meat.
- Truffles. I hear they are delicious but unfortunately the smell gives me nausea so it’s a no-no for me.
- Sweet flavors mixed with savory food. I can eat teeny tiny bits of mango in a fancy salad or a few raisins in a Moroccan cous-cous but my taste buds have limits.