Lazy Italian Culinary Adventures – Francesca Montillo
I started Lazy Italian Culinary Adventures in 2016 as a way of combining my two passions: Italian Food and Travel. Although we incorporated that year, I was preparing for this role my entire life. As a native Italian, I grew up surrounded by beautiful scenery in Southern Italy. My dad was a greengrocer, so we never lacked for delicious fresh produce. My mom was a stay-at-home mom, so every day when dismissed from school, a delicious home cooked meal awaited my sister and I. For many years, I took my upbringing for granted and it wasn’t until I was older that I realized just how incredibly lucky I was to have been raised in such an authentic way.
My family and I moved to Massachusetts when I was 11 years old, and growing up, we returned to Italy just about every year. My parents definitely maintained as much of our Italian culture as possible and the trips helped. I loved our trips back but they never felt like they were enough. I returned craving more, wanting more. As I got older, I went to Suffolk University; obtained a Bachelor and Masters degrees and I worked my way up to a successful career in healthcare management. I became known to my co-workers as “the Italian one” so everyone would come to me for advice on cooking and traveling to Italy. I started planning people’s menus for parties, giving cooking advice, and baking for the office parties. I also started planning people’s vacations, making recommendations of where to go, what to see, what to skip. I even brought people back to Italy on adventures and excursions.
In 2016, I decided to take my strengths and what came naturally to me and officially build Lazy Italian Culinary Adventures, LLC. As the name might imply, I now lead culinary adventures to Italy as well as teach Italian cooking locally, when not traveling in Italy. Our weeklong trips focus on Italian food, wine, desserts and some culture. We stay in one region, so we can get to know it better, and take day trips during the week. I have found that participants prefer this, so they only need to pack and unpack once, and can really get to know a region. Some areas include Emilia Romagna, Puglia, Calabria, Tuscany, Rome and Sicily. We take cooking classes, visit wineries, enjoy farm visits, sample specialty foods, visit food factories, such as where Parmigiano cheese or Parma Prosciutto is made, and enjoy hefty doses of gelato! We like to think we walk off all the calories by sightseeing and visiting museums or castles!
I am also a culinary instructor and teach both on a private level as well as the adult education centers in our community. Private events include team building, corporate gatherings, parties for birthdays or graduations, as well as just gatherings with friends looking to do something different while learning a new skill. The classes actually end up being less about culinary technique and more of an opportunity to socialize, with a few new recipes being shared. It’s great fun for all involved, and everyone is very well fed!
We are also a “custom” company. While we have scheduled departures and classes, we also offer clients the opportunity to custom create any of our offerings, either a cooking class or private tour. This is perfect for folks who want to travel with their own group of friends or family.
My top priority as the owner of this business is to make sure the travelers are kept entertained, are educated in the Italian lifestyle, are offered authentic experiences, build memorable friendships and overall have a wonderful time. I recognize that a trip like this may be a “once in a lifetime” experience, so we take nothing for granted in making sure that the client is well taken care of. Our team of collaborators now consists of certified native guides, home and professional chef instructors, historians and artisans. Clients really love the idea that I am native Italian and not only speak the language, which can be learned by anyone relatively easily, but that I understand the culture and even superstitions that make Italy what it is. I love sharing stories of my upbringing, my family, my youth and my relationship with this great country. It really is as authentic as traveling can get and clients love that.
Francesca Montillo, Founder
Lazy Italian Culinary Adventures