My culinary flair mostlyor ginates with familial influence. "Cooking has always been an integral part of my life. Ever since I was a little girl I remember summers in my grandmothers’ kitchens." What inspires me most is the joy I experience when I can bring together my greatest passions; people and food. Simple recipes, delicious food, simply wonderful...
ANNA MARIA FLORIO, the proprietor of La Cucina at the Market, is a Philadelphia native and the daughter of Italian-born parents from the Campania region of Italy. Her family brought their love of food and rich traditions of la cucinawith them and Anna grew up speaking Italian in a family where the kitchen was the center of the house. When people came together in their home there was always cooking, talking, laughing and sharing of their passion for food. During her childhood she spent summers in Benevento where she played and worked in the kitchens of family trattorias and cafés.
Fourteen years ago she accepted an invitation to join Temple University Center City
("TUCC") as an Italian language instructor and began to share her Italian heritage with the Philadelphia community. Her students were lovers of all things Italian and the topic of food was part of every class. Anna wanted to recreate and share the experience of her own family kitchen directly with her students. About five years ago Anna approached the Director at TUCC, about developing a series that combined food and language. "It seemed a natural segue to combine the two things that are essential to an Italian household: talking and eating. When people are around food they are naturally more relaxed and conversation is inevitable." TUCC’s first Italian cooking/language class, entitled "Mangiamo in Italiano", completely sold out. Students said they had a marvelous time and asked for more. In a short time, this became Anna’s signature program for TUCC.
In 2007, when space in the Reading Terminal Market became available, Anna decided it was certainly the right time for La Cucina at the Market to be born. "I saw La Cucina as the dynamic location that could bring together urban professionals who happen to be lovers of food with the vibrant venue that is the Reading Terminal Market. I couldn’t think of a better spot to cultivate one’s passion for cooking or even join a group of friends to prepare a meal. With the great variety of specialty ingredients available at RTM, La Cucina would offer the perfect place to eat, shop and learn." Anna’s enthusiastic idea: a space exclusively dedicated to cooking and culinary demonstration. The concept and the process began with a lively, warm and inviting space; where people who love food could come together and share their passion, where prominent Philadelphia chefs and other members of the food community could be showcased and where visitors to Philadelphia could experience the vibrant atmosphere of the Market in a personal way.
Epicurean has been "on board" since day one. I love working with these boards; they’re durable, eco-friendly and just downright sexy beautiful, aging with grace!
Today, classes continue, along with private culinary events and corporate team building. A great staff of instructors ensure a diverse menu of new and interesting options to cultivate your passion for cooking!The Future:
A brand new kitchen to be completed in January, 2012 in a central location within the market and the continued blessing of doing what I love!Memberships:
Les Dames Des Escoffier, Slow Food PhiladelphiaPhiladelphia Magazine:
Best of Philly, 2011: Cooking classesNew York Times:
Bachelorette Parties Gone Mild: August, 2010 Back to Ambassadors