When Lucia left University, she found the desire to be working in and around food far too strong to consign herself to life in the world of business. For nearly six years, she struggled to discover her true calling in life and was unable to switch off from issues at work, at times when she should have been relaxing and enjoying some well-earned leisure time.
Discontented with what she was doing with her life, Lucia found the courage to switch careers and enrolled at the DIEFFE culinary school in Padova. Her burning desire was to build upon the knowledge she had acquired from her grandmother, learning the reasons why food had to be cooked in certain ways. Up to that point, she had followed certain techniques simply because “granny said so”. She went to Padova seeking a more scientific understanding of food, the chemical reactions that occur during the cooking process, and how different ingredients complement each other.
Lucia achieved her Diploma after a year’s study, but was still yearning for a more hands-on role within the world of cookery and cuisine. The course had taught her many things, but making pasta with a machine was no substitute for the artisan skills she had picked up from her grandmother and mother. Lucia considered working in, or opening, a restaurant, but wisely decided to canvas the opinion of people she respected within the food scene in Bologna. One of these ‘gurus’ was Stefano Corvucci.
Stefano’s response to Lucia’s enquiries was to advise that there was no job for her at ‘Il Rosso’, but there was a possibility of her helping him in his new venture of CIBO – the Culinary Institute of Bologna. He shared the vision of his professional and state-of-the-art Bologna cookery school with her and invited her to return the next day to see how a class operated. When she arrived, he was armed with an apron for her and asked her to make pasta with that day’s students. She hasn’t left CIBO since!
Lucia realised her dream of working in a culinary environment, combining tutoring classes at CIBO, utilising the home-grown skills that her granny gave her, with preparing her excellent handmade pasta for Il Rosso’s customers.
She has found fulfilment in her role at CIBO and relishes the fact that no two days are the same. Variety is the spice of life for Lucia and she could be helping students cook seafood one day and then discover how to handle a ‘matterello’ the next. She is a devotee of lifelong learning and that’s what CIBO is giving her. Every single class enables her to stretch her abilities and discover new things, sometimes picking up knowledge from students, or suddenly finding the inspiration to combine different ingredients in a brand new dish, which works at every level – taste, texture, colour and presentation.
While perhaps more analytical in her teaching approach than Stefano – and is some ways his perfect foil – her passion for food is definitely no less ardent. She loves patiently communicating to students how they can take a step-by-step approach and create something special for their lunch or dinner at CIBO. She also delights in empowering business people, enrolled on CIBO’s culinary team-building courses, to work together in new ways, achieving mutual respect and understanding of each other’s capabilities, through the handling of cooking tasks and challenges.
Lucia has a highly creative streak running through her and channels this into family cookery classes at CIBO, outside catering events and her day-to-day work with CIBO’s students. When not spending time away from the cookery school (though often in the kitchen) with her young son, Riccardo, she can be found researching dishes served at other local and worldwide restaurants and eateries so she can compute why some work and some don’t, improve upon them, or use them as the inspiration for new Lucia Bezzi dishes. These can then be shared with her CIBO students, to inspire them to try new things.
For Lucia, there is simply nothing better than delivering a fresh stream of ideas to her students. She never stops thinking about food and how different flavours, textures and techniques can be combined to create something exceptional and innovative.
Unsurprisingly, a particular joy for her are the new nutritional classes being held at CIBO, as these present her with a brand new challenge – that of substituting one ingredient for another, to suit nutritional needs, whilst losing none of the taste of the original dish – and sometimes even improving upon it.
These days, she gets to share Nonna Irene’s recipes and tips with course attendees, giving them the benefit of 84 years of Italian housewife knowledge, acquired in a traditional Emilia-Romagna home kitchen. The difference is that Lucia now fully appreciates why Nonna’s dishes were created in a certain way – thanks to understanding the science behind them – rather than just thinking that they were some of the tastiest creations in Italy, just because Nonna said so and knew, in her bones, that she was right!