Category Archives: Events

Tuscan Wine School, the place to learn a lot about Italian or Tuscan Wines

The Tuscan Wine School is the first English speaking Wine School in Tuscany.  It is easily accessible and located in the most historical part of Siena in the “Contrada della Pantera” (the Panther Neighborhood) of the city just in front of the Panther Fountain.

The institution offers a great opportunity to learn about Tuscan and Italian wines while enjoying the time in a relaxing atmosphere.  The classes are offered on a daily basis, several times a day and are “crash-courses“, characterized by a “down to earth approach” and tasting of high quality wines. You will learn a wide variety of aspects such as:

1 – How to read the label.

2 – Denominations.

3 – Diversity of grapes varietals and much more!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Classes are available for a minimum of 2 people and a maximum of 20. The school also organizes private wine tastings at all levels at any time of the day. The group of participants of the  Food Photography Workshop are looking forward to to be part of the group class that will take place on October 13th. Not only they will have an amazing time and learn some much about the best Italian wines, but they will also visit a place where they will be able to take wonderful photographs!

Important Links:

Friendly and Professional Staff

Special Events

Winery Courses

Reviews and Links

Booking and Pricing

Leave a comment

Filed under Education, Events, Wine

Meet the Diva, Judy Witts Francini ~ “Market Maven, Cooking Teacher, Food Writer and Italian Life Coach”

When deciding what I wanted to offer as part of the Food Photography Workshop that will take place next week in Siena, my main objective was to present participants with a  distinctive opportunity which would fulfill their expectations.  No one but Judy Witts Francini could better share an afternoon with the group and show them the best of a Gastronomic Florence!

Judy accepted to offer her program “Mondays at the Market” tour on Saturday, October 16th and this filled me with joy, not only because I would be providing such a great experience but because I am one of her fans and felt so honored! Her One Day at the Market is a walking tour of the Central Market of Florence and includes tastings and lunch. It is a  four-hour experience, that any food lover would dream of.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Anyone who knows Judy or follows her would know what a wonderful person she is and what a great professional she is known as. An authority in culinary and author of “Secrets from my Tuscan Kitchen”, the “DIVA” of Divina Cucina has an out of the ordinary way to share the secrets of the market and the pleasure of a great meal with you.

To visit Judy’s Website, click HERE

To visit Judy’s Blog, click HERE

To check out Judy in the press, click HERE

To order Judy’s book, click HERE

Leave a comment

Filed under Education, Events, Gastronomy, Travel & Tourism, Wine

Alejandro Guerani, the Photographer who makes mouths water and keep eyes wide open.

I am honored that Photographer Alessandro Guerani accepted to teach a Food Photography Workshop organized by Business Projects – Study Abroad Opportunities. From my point of view, Alessandro’s photographs are magnificent pieces of art. His sense of style, talent and understanding of the essence of people and things allow him to produce extraordinary images that  are memorable in our minds.

About Alessandro Guerani: “He was born in 1969 in Bologna, Italy, where he still lives. He started using cameras at the age of twenty as a complement to his studies about medieval and Renaissance arts and history. His passion for the tastes and flavors of the traditional Italian cuisine, together with a period of assistantship in a professional studio, brought him to specialize in food and still life photography. His style is defined by the fresh and creative use of lighting, the careful choice of colors and contrast and the attention to the detail, which, together with a competent use of digital post processing techniques, create imagery with a very personal character. When the need arises he still uses traditional film, in medium or large format, especially when shooting lifestyle and street photography.” (

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The one week workshop which will take  place in Siena, Italy from October 11th through October 16th, will be an exceptional opportunity for participants to learn about the skills and abilities of food photography from a professional who has been referred to by Savouring Switzerland as “a master of lighting, and is meticulous about every visual detail…”

I guarantee nothing less than an enriching and successful experience to all participants – he will share his expertise and talent to teach them how to produce beautiful images that make mouths water, open appetite and make you keep your eyes wide open! On the other hand, this will be a fantastic occasion for participants from Argentina, Spain, Venezuela, Italy and the USA to interact and connect.

To learn more about Alessandro Guerani’s upcoming workshop in Siena, Italy please click HERE

To visit Alessandro Guerani’s Website click HERE

To visit Alessandro Guerani’s Blog click HERE

To visit Alessandro Guerani’s Flickr Gallery click HERE

Leave a comment

Filed under Education, Events, Food Styling, Gastronomy, Photography

Successful Photo Safari by Miguel Gómez in New York City

Thank you to Miguel Gomez for offering such a wonderful experience to participants of the Photo Safari in New York City on September 25th and 26th, 2010.  His goals were well achieved. He wanted to capture as much emotion and excitement as the city has to offer and the group did. Focus on composition, lighting ideas and exposure were some of the topics covered.

It was an interesting time for all who participated, not only because the wonderful walk but to discuss ideas, share ways of seeing this wonderful city and meeting people.

The day started off with a meeting at Central Park’s Columbus Circle (59th Street), the walk went up to the center of the Park up to the famous Dakota Building, famous location for movies and John Lennon’s last home in NYC and then visit the world famous Strawberry Fields the garden made in his remembrance) and Bethesda Fountain.

The idea was to take a breath of fresh air from the hectic New York City pace, which we fully embrace on Sunday.

Wonderful people and beautiful weather were the highlights. Thank you to Rosemary Nardone, Pat Badolato, Paloma Portillo for participating in the workshop and to Joseph Corrado for joining us for lunch and sharing his insights and food photography tips!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

To read the workshop review of Rosemary Nardone please visit NYC Style & a little Cannoli

To read the workshop review of Pat Badolato please visit Mille Fiori Favoriri

Registrations are open for the coming up Photo Safari in New York City which will take place on October 23rd. For more information please click HERE.

1 Comment

Filed under Education, Events, Photography, Travel & Tourism

Discover the pleasures of Mexican cuisine while immersing yourself in its true flavors.

Allow Mexico Soul and Essence offer you a one of a kind experience when you participate in a Cultural or Walking Tours; you can also enjoy a route especially made for you. Whether your interest is in gastronomy, art or history, Ruth Alegria founder of Mexico Soul and Essence and a knowledgeable and skilled team can organize a memorable experience for you which will allow you to learn about Mexican roots, customs, traditions and way of life.

Active member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals – IACP, the James Beard Foundation and Slow Food, Ruth Alegria resides in Mexico City, a city she knows in detail in every way. Festivals, restaurants, markets, handcraft shopping, culinary classes, you name it and Ruth will lead you to an exceptional time.

Mexico Soul and Essence has toured with journalists like Wall Street Journal, Associated Press, Vancouver Sun, NY TIMES, TV and Radio Shows and an international magazine correspondents. Enjoy this review by radio journalist Lynne Rossetto Kasper about her recent visit to Mexico City and tour of Jamaican Market in company of Ruth Alegria.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Tours and activities are available to the public in general. I find them of particular benefit to international students living in Mexico and who are enrolled in Spanish language courses or any other type of academic course.  Spending time enjoyably connected to the language you are learning is the best way to learn it and to become familiar with your environment and tours guided in Spanish are a way to achieve this. They make a wonderful component of any holiday as well.

So take a look at the variety of tours and activities of Mexico Soul and Essence and consider taking part in one or more next time you are in Mexico.

Walking Tours: “Tours – walking tours of Mexico City for a day or a week. — Culinary– Mercado a cocina –Market to Kitchen. Spend the day shopping for ingredients at a local market, learning about the foods that nourish the soul as well as the body. Then on to prepare the days menu under the guidance of professional chefs who will highlight the cultural origins of the ingredients. Markets to shop at: Mercado de La Merced, Tianguis del Martes in Condesa, Mercado de San Juan, Mercado de Coyoacan. With lesson and lunch at El Tajin. Kitchens to cook in Margarita de Salinas and Letty Alexander, some of the most prestigious chefs in Mexico. Restaurant Dining Adventures of Mexican prehispanic, traditional and nouvelle cuisine at Hostería de Santo Domingo, El Cardenal, Cantina La Opera, El Bajio, Izote, Pujol and others.”

“Wow, Ruth! You’re a dream. Thanks SO much for taking the time to spell put your thoughts and experiences for me. I’ll let you know what our final decisions are.”

Chef Rick Bayless of Frontera Grill

Cultural Tours: “Cultural – Stroll though Chapultepec Park and Castillo de Chapultepec, with stops at the Modern Art Museum, Rufino Tamayo Museum and the National Anthropology Museum. An alternate is the Centro Historic/ Zocalo with the National Palace and the Secretaria de Educacion Publica building, home of some of the most important murals of Diego Rivera, the Templo Mayor Museum, the Jose Luis Cuevas Museum, with the San Carlos School of Art – first school of art in the New Spain-, here leading Mexican artists have studied and taught.Going a few streets west we visit the National Museum of Art, the Mudéjar architectural gem that is the Post Office building, Palacio de Bellas Artes (with its unique galleries and Tiffany curtain), Franz Mayer Museum and the Alameda Park. Other alternatives are walks through downtown Coyoacan and or Xochimilco.”

Festivals: “For every season in Mexico, there is a celebration whose main focus is the cuisine and rituals of that place and time. Join with the people and communities who celebrate and preserve their culinary traditions.”


To contact Mexico Soul and Essence, click HERE

To follow Ruth via Twitter click HERE

Leave a comment

Filed under Events, Gastronomy, Travel & Tourism

Photo Safari in New York City on September 25th and 26th

Photo: Miguel Gomez

Whether you are familiar with a location or not, Safaris make great photography experience! The upcoming two day photo safari scheduled to take place in New York City on September 25th and 26th will work very similar to a walking tour, with the added value that participants will be led by photographer Miguel Gómez and will make you see the city with different eyes. So regardless if you live in New York City, are in the city for a weekend visit, as a student, this will be a great adventure which will leave great photographs for your memories.

The safari is intended for participants with beginning to advanced amateur skills and will include visit to locations such as City Hall, Central Park, Rockefeller Center & Surroundings, among other stops and visits.

Photo: Miguel Gomez

About Miguel Gomez: Miguel has worked for numerous clients and commissioned and personal projects in Great Britain, the U.S.A., Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Venezuela, Argentina, Costa Rica and Colombia. As an active member of the photographic and artistic community, Miguel’s work has been exhibited in several galleries and is part of private collections.

Before completing his University studies, Miguel was already shooting extensively for high-profile magazines. He provided work for almost every major publication in Bogotá, Colombia -for more than 5 years-, and for advertising agencies as Lowe & Partners, Bates and Ogilvy. His photographs were featured in the most important magazines and his work has covered fashion, portraiture, architecture, stills and reportage. Below some of the companies Miguel Gómez has produced material for and galleries where his work has been exhibited.

Marqas La Riviera
Ogilvy & Mather Publicaciones Semana
SoHo Fucsia
Destinos Rolling Stone
Axxis Klaus Von Appen
Phaidon Beluria
Shambalah Casa Editorial El Tiempo
Architectural Digest Amarti
ASOS / London Malvern House
Cowboys & Indians Magazine Don Juan
Lowe & Partners / SSP3 Pegatex
Pastas La Muñeca Rexona
Congelagro Fundación de Música
ETB SSA / Bates
HMC Architects Seguranza
Lamy Pavco
Alpina Michelin
Axe B.Book
3cero2 Cachivaches
Renault Cromos
Bavaria Lie Down I Think I Love You / London
Inmakulate Kushion Ltd.
Mark Halford Fotomuseo
Fundación Santillana Para Iberoamérica Galería El Garaje
Giancarlo Mazzanti Kult Magazine / Milano
Estilo / Fedco Glaxo Smith Kline
Artisan Life Sterling

In addition, Miguel lectured on different levels of photography at Bogota’s top universities for seven years before traveling to U.S.A. and Europe to focus on his personal work and expand his international experience.

Photo: Miguel Gomez

Date: September 25th and 26th, 2010

Time: From 10am to 5pm

For more information and to register: Click HERE


Filed under Education, Events, Photography

Mini Chef Program

The Centro de Capacitación de Jóvenes y Adultos located in Aragua, Venezuela is offering a Mini Chef Program. It has the attention of people in the industry for being well developed, organized and for offering not only variety of activities but a solid educational curriculum.

I had the opportunity of interviewing the Center Director, Prof. Msc. Rosa Alba D´Elia and it is so evident in her answers her concern for making children and teenagers aware about good eating habits and nutrition. The team at Centro de Capacitación de Jóvenes y Adultos have a  social responsibility to serving their community and a commitment to their knowledge and experience with people interested in the field of culinary.

MA: What is the main objective of the course?

Prof. R.A.: Our main objective is to teach the importance of good eating habits, nutrition, kitchen safety and hygiene in a fun recreational way.

MA: When does the program take place?

Prof. R.A.: This is the first time we offer the program and it is taking place during complete month of August. We are looking forward to offering it every summer and winter holiday season.

MA: Who may join the program?

Prof. R.A.: Participants between the ages of 5 and 15 years old are welcome to join the program. No previous cooking skills are necessary.

M.A.: What is the cost of the program and what does it include?

Prof. R.A.: The program has a weekly cost of USD $90 and includes: class from 8am to 1pm from Monday through Friday, uniform, one meal per day, ingredients for the preparation of all recipes, folder with printed material, recipe book, class video, photos and certificate of participation.

MA: From your personal perspective, what was your motivation to put together this program?

Prof. R.A.:  A balanced and well founded nutrition is the vase for children to grow healthy both physically and mentally. Good eating habits at an early age guarantee a better life and as professional in the culinary field I feel it is my responsibility to contribute to share the great importance of this subject.

MA: So far, what goals have you achieved?

Prof. R.A.: The participation in different processes involved in the preparation of meals have allowed participants to value the work required in the elaboration of foods; become aware of so many jobs involved in the process; they have actively participated in the selection of recipes to prepare on a  daily basis and have interacted cheerfully in class. They can distinguish the different types of foods and categorize them between healthy or not.

MA: Does culture play a role in the program?

Prof. R.A.: Yes, it is important that participants see the country’s gastronomy as an important factor of their own identity and learn about the typical dishes, fruits and vegetables grown, what differentiates our gastronomy to others of different countries. This has brought them closer to international cuisines as they have enjoyed learning about Italian Cuisine through the process of making pasta; while learning about Middle Eastern they learned how to make Shawarma and Tahine… every culture opens their eyes to a new culinary adventure and the best part is that it is their own creation.

MA: What is the teaching methodology?

Prof. R.A.: During each class participants first learn about the ingredients that will be used, the hygiene to consider when using each of them, nutrition facts, new vocabulary, methods of preparation and how can they be measured or weighed. Following this, they are presented with the complete menu. The third part of the class is about the technique including cooking periods, techniques and necessary equipment.

Lastly depending on the technique to be approached, a recipe is selected and every participant gets to participate.

The time sitting at the table and sharing a meal is very important, so we go through table manners and etiquette.

MA: Besides you, who else teaches the course?

Prof. R.A.: Chef Javier Villavicencio, who also teaches in the adults program and serves as Coordinator of the Gastronomy Area of our Center. Chef Harlynt González, who teaches Light Meals, Gourmet Cuisine and cocktails in the adults’ program is part of the team as well. We have the assistance of first semester culinary students, young boys and years between the ages of 15 and 17 years old.

MA: For people interested in learning more about this program, how can you be contacted?

Prof. R.A.: By email:; our Facebook page is Escuela Arturo Sarcos Villena.

For more information about this program and a larger gallery of photographs, please CLICK HERE.

Leave a comment

Filed under Education, Events, Gastronomy, Study Abroad