The Italian Cultural Institute of Washington invites you to a talk titled “Cooking with Caterina” where Italian Chef Rita Monastero and Dr. Leah Chang will present Caterina de’ Medici both in terms of her importance for Italian and French gastronomy as well as her importance as a political figure of that time.
During the evening our speakers will define the parallels between Italian and French cuisine, drawing inspiration from the historical certainties we possess. We will highlight the dishes loved by this Italian queen as they were prepared by her chefs and look into the evolution a number of Sixteenth Century recipes undertook to the present day and delve into a comparison between their Italian and French dishes.
A Q&A session following the presentation will give the public an opportunity to engage with our speakers.
To join us for the evening, a registration is required.
📍Embassy of Italy
3000 Whitehaven Street, NW
Washington, DC 20008
About Caterina de’ Medici
Caterina de’ Medici, a noblewoman from Florence, left an indelible mark on history and culture, tightly and forever connecting Italy to France. Her unusual erudition for women of her time, her good taste and refinement along with her undeniable political skills, distinguished her and placed her among the Greats of the past.
Caterina is remembered for organizing sumptuous and elegant banquets – using the then-unknown fork – and for her great love for food. It is well documented that when she left Florence to marry Henry de Valois, she brought numerous chefs with her to continue enjoying the dishes she loved. It is thanks to her love for food, that starting from 1547 onwards, the Italian gastronomic scene became intertwined with the French one, and the foundations for the current French cuisine were laid.
About Rita Monastero
Rita Monastero, “The LovelyCheffa,” is a distinguished Cookery Teacher and Food Writer. She collaborates with top cooking schools globally, including Il Gambero Rosso, teaching professional and amateur classes. Rita also teaches Italian Cuisine in Bangkok and contributes English articles on Italian Cuisine for the Bangkok Post. An accomplished author with 10 cooking books published by Gribaudo-Feltrinelli, Rita is part of “La Prova del Cuoco” an Italian television series airing on Rai1 where she creates visually stunning dishes. Universally known as “The LovelyCheffa,” Rita embodies the philosophy of looking good and feeling well. “LovelyCheffa®” is her registered trademark.
About Leah Chang
Dr. Leah Redmond Chang is a historian and biographer, and the author of Young Queens: Three Renaissance Women and the Price of Power, about the intertwined lives of Catherine de’ Medici, Elisabeth de Valois, and Mary, Queen of Scots, published by Bloomsbury UK and by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 2023. Her previous books include Into Print, on Renaissance French women writers and the printing industry, and Portraits of the Queen Mother, a study of the many faces of Catherine de’ Medici. Portraits won the Josephine Roberts Award from the International Society for the Study of Early Modern Women. A former Associate Professor of French at The George Washington University, Leah has also been a Senior Research Associate at University College London. She lives with her family in Washington, DC.