Culinary & Baking Program, Classic & Modern Italian Regional Cuisine, Specialty Breads, Pizza and Focaccia


Certificate Program Instructed by the ICI Masters

One Week Full Immersion for Chefs, Bakers & Home Gourmets

LEARN COOK FEAST and live this everyday

About this program

Whether you are a professional chef or a serious home gourmet, no other one week course in the world will give you more knowledge and Italian regional cooking experience than the Foundation of Italian Cuisine.

Several areas of the menu are prepared and presented including perfect base sauces, pastas, vegetarian and Mediterranean cuisine. Special emphasis is placed on baking, integrating specialty breads, hearth breads, pizza, focaccia and desserts into the chef’s repertoire.

Working alongside master chefs you will discover how to recreate the authentic vibrant flavours that have made Italy the food capital of the world.

As always, this program is all inclusive from the time of arrival at the airport until departure. Accommodations, ground transfers, all meals and cultural travel are all included.


  • Private transfer from Lamezia Terme Airport to the hotel.
  • Check in at the hotel.
  • Dinner at a traditional trattoria with ICI president John Nocita and other members of the equipe.

A ‘trattoria’ is a restaurant that is usually family owned and operated and, most importantly, exemplifies the character of the genuine local cuisine in any part of Italy. Here, menus are not needed as patrons are only served the best dishes the area has to offer…

  • Overnight at the hotel.

A dish is only as good as the raw ingredients that are used to construct it. This intensive introductory day gives participants a profound understanding of the most indispensable products used in regional Italian cuisine and patisserie.

Degustation and gustatory analysis are the processes by which culinarians taste and analyze each single ingredient and classifies them according to intensity and region thus enabling him or her to create dishes and recipes authentically and, if necessary, to make suitable substitutions based on a clear guideline.

The day culminates with the preparation of ‘component’ ingredients. This technique personalises the most basic raw ingredients since some countries have availability limitations of some Italian products. This allows participants to create authentic Italian cuisine anywhere in the world.

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Orientation for the program’s lessons and events
  • Overview of Italian Regional and Mediterranean Cuisine and Patisserie: facts, myths and history
  • Distinguishing quality:
  • Analysis and tasting of the lesser known raw materials necessary to construct authentic dishes in Regional Italian and Mediterranean Cuisine.
    • Cheeses DOP
    • Cured Meats
    • Olives, Sundried and Conserved Vegetables
    • Salt and spices
    • Sugar and sweeteners

Day 1 begins with a mega-tasting of over 50 types of cheese, cured meats, extra virgin olive oils, balsamics and more!

Truffles and Mushrooms

Nero named them Cibus Deorum (food of the gods). Ancient Greeks believed that Venus created them as an aphrodisiac. Apicius in his 1st century thesis on culinary art dedicated an entire chapter to them. Gastronomic pioneer Brillat Savarin described them as “diamonds of cuisine”. Others who have taken the time to write about them include Napoleon Bonaparte, Pope Gregory IV, Kings Louis XIV and Louis XVIII, Gioacchino Rossini, Queen Elizabeth II, President Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe.

Truffles! Those who are familiar with them will fall in love with their unique aroma and exciting flavor. Those who have not yet had the pleasure of tasting truffles, only know them as the white or black tubers that can cost as much as €6000 per kilogram…

  • Introduction to truffles & wild mushrooms
    • Truffle Fact Sheet: identifying and distinguishing black vs. white
    • The truffle throughout the centuries: history and legend.
    • Where truffles come from
    • Truffle hunters
    • Preparing and preserving truffles
    • Cooking with Truffles
    • Black vs. White

  • In-depth examination of Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oils including regional differentiation, gustatory perception and the proper methods which define the use of specific oils with particular cuisines as well as their positions in the menu. Tasting conducted according to guidelines established by Maestri Oleari (Italian Master Olive Oil Sommelier Association).
  • Infusing oils
    • Cold
    • Hot
    • Fast infusions
    • Infusing for long conservation
  • Lunch
  • Distinguishing Genuine Balsamic Vinegar: Labeling, Tasting and Pairing Vinegars:
    • Balsamic: 3 Years; 12 Years; 25 Years
    • Alternative Vinegars
  • Chemistry review

  • Flours & Grains: analysis of Italy’s unique flours for taste, texture, elasticity, longevity of the finished product, cost and international availability or substitutions. Includes the common types of flours used for pasta and bread making such as semola, durum wheat, corn flour and whole wheat as well as more uncommon flours such as spelt, buckwheat, truffle flour, and chestnut flour.The possibilities for fine flavor are endless…
  • Molecular Gastronomy: truths and myths
  • Overview of the materials, tools, procedures and techniques for better cooking and plate decoration.
  • The preparation of component recipes used in traditional Italian Regional cuisine.
  • The preparation of innovative sauces utilized in appetizers, first and main dishes and their improvisation according to market availability, season and price. These sauces will center on modern healthier cuisine emphasizing reduction techniques, emulsions and infusions.
  • Experimenting with sauce uniformities for plating procedures.
  • End of lesson
  • Dinner at ICI
  • Overnight at the hotel

An exclusive day where the maestro spans all twenty regions of Italy. This full immersion day allows participants not only to prepare, see and taste flavors from every part of the Italian peninsula, it also gives the necessary techniques to create scores of different dishes for each one presented.

 Modern eating trends, health consciousness, individual tastes, availability of raw materials, etc., are all factors in the evolution of cuisine. However, in order to “update”, “modify” or “innovate” a recipe, we must do so while retaining as much integrity as possible to the original recipe and, specifically, the original FLAVOR. This isn’t solely for the sake of tradition but for the fact that many of these famous Italian dishes have remained popular for centuries because local chefs and nature got them right the first time!

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Primi Tradizionali (Traditional Regional Italian First Courses)
    • “Long” Sauces
      • ABRUZZO: Ragù di Agnello con Maccheroni alla Chitarra
      • EMILIA ROMAGNA: Lasagne alla BologneseParticipants making fresh egg based pasta sheets for stuffed pasta and lasagna.
    • Risotto
      • VENETO: Risotto al Nero di Seppia
      • LOMBARDIA: Risotto alla Milanese
    • Gnocchi
      • CAMPANIA: Gnocchi Napoli con Pomodoro e Mozzarella di Bufala
      • SARDEGNA: Gnocchi Sardi allo Zafferano o Le Fregole

Fregole ai Frutti di Mare

  • “La Cucina Stagnata” (Deep Dishes/Casseroles): Traditionally, these “deep dishes” have a long cooking time and are prepared in large quantities. They are then transferred to terracotta dishware and many times are first passed into a wood burning oven, giving them a unique richness, and served in the same terracotta either family style or in individual servings. They are perfect for high volume banquet catering.

    • TUSCANY: RibollitaRibollito…revisited..
    • SICILY: Coccia
    • CALABRIA: Morzello
  • La Cucina alla Padella: the technique of working from a “mystery basket” creating sublime flavors from the best the day’s marketplace has to offer…
    • LIGURIA: Zuppa di Pesce
    • PUGLIA: Cozze N’Pepata
    • LAZIO: Saltimbocca
  • Lunch
  • Cooking with Truffles
    • UMBRIA: Zuppa di Farro
    • PIEMONTE: Verdure con Fonduta
  • Mushrooms: Fresh or Frozen vs. Dried. Both are considered delicacies but they cannot be interchanged. A side by side comparison demonstrates proper usage and the cooking techniques to attain sublime flavors for both.Polenta Concia, Trentino, Italy

Risotto, Quail, Wild Fennel & Truffles (Tuber Melanosporum vitt)

    • BASILICATA: Funghi Porcini Trifolata
    • TRENTINO-ALTO ADIGE: Polenta Concia
  • Tasting of sweet delicacies from the remaining regions of Italy.
  • End of lesson.
  • Dinner at the hotel.
  • Overnight at the hotel.

In Italy, restaurateurs know that it’s not a question IF a patron will order pasta, it’s simply a matter of which one. Internationally, what was a trend has now become an essential part of menus in Italian and Continental restaurants, and hotels throughout the world. For diners, pasta represents a healthy, tasty, colourful dish. For chefs and home cooks, pasta represents unlimited creativity and for restaurateurs it represents enormous profits…

In addition to hands-on preparation, participants learn Regionalism. Understanding where each pasta comes from in Italy enables culinarians to identify the appropriate sauces or condiments for that dish. It also gives a clear idea of how to pair that dish with the perfect wine and, most importantly, create an entire regional menu with pasta as the starter.

In this one day lesson, participants work hands-on alongside the master preparing over 50 types of pasta in just one day!

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Chemistry review
  • Brief history of pasta and the role of pasta in regional Italian cooking and the F&B sector generally.
  • Making natural colors and dyes

  • Hands-on preparation of a series of white, colored and multicolored egg based pasta:
    • Angel Hair
    • Farfalle
    • Farfalline
    • Farfallone
    • Fettuccine
    • Garganelle
    • Maltagliati
    • Pappardelle
    • Tagliatelle
    • Tagliolini
    • Taglierini

  • Hands-on preparation of a series of white, colored and multicolored stuffed pasta:
    • Agnolotti
    • Cannelloni
    • Caramelle
    • Fornarina
    • Lasagne
    • Open Lasagne
    • Manicotti
    • Panzarotti
    • Ravioli
    • Sacchettini
    • Tortelle
    • TortelliniPasta ai Frutta di Mare
    • Tortelloni
  • Lunch
  • Hands-on preparation of a series of eggless and alternative flour pasta:
    • Casarecce
    • Cavatelli
    • Fusilli Bucati
    • Pici
    • Pizzoccheri
    • Scilatelle
    • Strozzapreti
    • Trofie

Angel Hair Pasta with Braised Calamari, Scorched Tomato and Basil Emulsion

  • The technique of matching pasta and sauces according to gustatory perception, aesthetics and menu position.
  • A new series of innovative stuffed pastas and baked “gratinati” will be introduced demonstrating the technique of developing new recipes based on market availability and cost factors.
  • Preparation of traditional and innovative pasta pies, torts and “timballi”.
  • Preparation of gnocchi: potato and vegetable based “low carb” pasta.
  • Plating and decoration.
  • Preparation of the biga for next day’s lesson.
  • End of lesson.
  • Dinner at the hotel
  • Overnight at the hotel

This full day hands-on program features world champion bakers and master chefs as they bring even the most experienced chefs to new levels. During this intense day, participants work alongside the masters preparing traditional Italian regional baked specialties using natural yeast techniques.

Following the preparation of traditional baked products, a line of innovative delicacies are made demonstrating how participants can personalise their recipes for their clients or guests.

A series of specialty breads for are prepared using Italy’s unique flour combinations combined with seasonal ingredients. Breads, pizza, focaccia and all prepared with a fabulous spectrum of of textures, flavours and colours.

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Lesson begins with Colazione Italiana alla Artigiana.

In the age of frozen breakfast pastries, packaged breads and industrially made condiments, the classic Italian breakfast has become as exclusive as fine dining is at any other time of day.

Assorted hearth breads, freshly prepared creams of nuts and chocolate mass, and jams made with seasonal fruit highlight this “colazione” or first meal.

So rare, even in Italy, an artisan breakfast can only be found at select cafés at triple the price of a common continental breakfast. A brief explanation of the meal and its importance is followed by a tasting.

  • Chemistry review
  • Hands-on preparation of specialty rolls for home, restaurant or banquet service using dry, fresh and liquid flavors:
    • Dry: cracked pepper, sesame, oregano
    • Fresh: sundried tomatoes, olives, dill
    • Liquid: pureed and emulsified vegetables
  • Hands-on preparation of traditional Italian regional and international leavened breads and “sfizioisi” using mixed yeast combinations
    • Ciabatta
    • Ciabattina
    • Baguette
    • Grissini

  • Lunch
  • Examination of regional Italian pizze and focaccie and their international gastronomic and economic importance in commercial food service and fine dining.
  • Preparation of classic Regional focaccia and pizza followed by their innovative counterparts.
    • Participants prepare several types of pizza and focaccia utilising various doughs and ingredients while changing cooking methods for each item, revealing vastly diverse results for each with simple modifications in technique.
  • The lesson ends with tasting and discussion of the various techniques and flavour combinations used by each participant. Special attention is focused on the conservation of all preparations.
  • Assembly of a hearth buffet.
  • End of lesson
  • Dinner at a classic hearth oven pizzeria.

Pizzerias in Italy are distinguished in several ways in Italy. Tonight we visit a hearth pizzeria. Pizza from a wood burning oven is a delicacy enjoyed in a unique festive atmosphere, especially amongst colleagues. After a day of pizza production, participants are ready to make the comparison…

  • Overnight at the hotel.

By combining all of the knowledge gained thus far, participants will now prepare dishes alongside the master in this unique combined program. Recipes are now replaced by techniques as culinarians create personal dishes that can either be traditional and authentically Italian or modified according to a specific clientele or guest.

‘Neither Meat nor Fish’, ‘Mediterranean and Alternative Cuisine’ and ‘Cucina Espressa’ are where modern Mediterranean and vegetarian cuisine are combined and presented with a thoroughness and clarity unique to the industry even in Italy…

When tradition needs no innovation..
Pesto all genovese, a vegetarian flavour explosion..

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Mise en place

  • Assembley of avant-garde hot and cold antipasti (appetizers) are prepared incorporating meat, fish, wild game and verdure. Substitutions for meat and fish components will be discussed and presented. Factors for determining appetizers as stand alone plates or buffet items will be examined depending on cost considerations and “need for speed”.
  • Tradition vs. Innovation
    • A side-by-side preparation of inter-regional Italian cuisine where dishes are prepared in the traditional manner and then elevated to the standards of modern cuisine, aesthetics and health standards clearly demonstrating the evolution of Italian cuisine.
  • Lunch

  • La Cucina Espressa – Mediterranean Cooking in under 10 minutes.
    • The techniques used in these preparations give participants the ability to create literally hundreds of unique, healthy and colorful “express” dishes. Dishes are seasonal and change accordingly.
  • Risotto
    • Choosing the best rice.
    • Preparation and execution of perfect risotto.
  • Cooking with Truffles
    • Several delicacies are prepared using one of the world’s most precious ingredients.

Following the latest trends in Italy, techniques will enable the chef to interchange vegetarian menu items for appetizers, first courses and main courses. Applications of emulsions reveal flavour medleys and techniques for new recipe development.

Particular focus towards advanced plating technique and presentation.

  • End of lesson.
  • ICI Master Chef’s dinner: Multi-course dinner accompanied with Italy’s top wines.
  • Overnight at the hotel.

Saffron risotto with black truffles and veggie demi..

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Market Visit
  • Early morning visit to a traditional mercatino for tastings and shopping.

A typical Italian open air market offers culinarians an insight to the country’s most traditional customs and an opportunity to browse foods, cheeses, wines and cured meats that are still produced by artisans.

Mercatino is a culinary playground..

  • Free time at mercatino
  • Transfer a the seaside town for a tasting of Cirò wines.

Cirò means “Cyprus” in Italian and is the place where the Ancient Greeks founded in 710BC as part of Magna Grecia or Great Greece. Here, participants will taste the same wines that opened the ceremonies at the 2004 Olympic Ceremonies in Athens.

The Cirò D.O.C. red wines are among the oldest wines in Europe and have recently been dubbed as “Super Southerns” by the world’s most authoritative wine publications.

In the last 20 years, the region has become renown for a limited selection of super whites as well. We’ll taste them alongside typical cured meats and cheeses from the area’s top producers.


  • Artisan Gelato Tasting

Gelato is now the world’s fastest growing sector of patisserie In Italy, it even exceeds pizza in sales volume. A chef must know everything about gastronomy. This knowledge not only comes from studying but from tasting as well.

ICI is equipped with both conventional and wood fired pizza ovens

  • Lunch
  • Return to the laboratory.
  • Review of tools and base techniques for wood burning pizza making.
  • Fundamentals: knowing the raw materials, characteristics of the equipment and general production techniques.
  • Preparing the doughs and levitation.
  • Alternative doughs
  • Alternative cooking methods
  • Colored doughs
  • Overview of variations according to season and theme.
  • Awarding of Certificates
  • Pizza party at ICI’s hearth oven pizzeria where every participant makes individual personal pizzas.
  • Overnight at the hotel.
  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Transfer to Lamezia Terme airport
  • Arrivederci!!!


PRICE: €2595 per person


  • Private transfer from Lamezia Terme International Airport to the hotel.
  • Theoretical and practical lessons & all related costs at the Italian Culinary Institute. (50+ hrs. Full Immersion over 1 week)
  • Accommodations at the ICI Hotel. (**Dbl. Occ.) 7 Nts.
  • Full use of Hotel facilities.
  • Complete board: All meals with wines included at the Hotel, local restaurants and special destinations during excursions.
  • *Special excursions (including transfers):
  • Welcome dinner at a trattoria
  • Visit and Wine Tasting in an Enoteca; Artisan Gelato Tasting
  • Dinner at an Agriturismo
  • Dinner at a Hearth Oven Pizzeria
  • Dinner at the Fine Dining Restaurant Le Terrazze
  • Visit to Mercatino
  • Certificate of Completion
  • Tax and gratuities
  • All meals include wines, bottled water, tax and gratuities.

*Price does not include airfare or other travel during free time.
*Price based on double occupancy
Single supplement is €225 pp


  • January 13 – 20, 2024 FULL
  • April 20 – 27, 2023
  • May 11 – 18, 2024 FULL
  • June 8 – 15, 2024 FULL
  • September 14 – 21, 2024 FULL
  • January 11 – 18, 2025 FULL
  • May 3 – 10, 2025
  • May 17 – 24, 2025
  • June 7 – 14, 2025
  • June 14 – 21, 2025
  • September 6 – 13, 2025
  • September 20 – 27, 2025
  • October 11 – 18, 2025

Enroll and change dates free of charge
The Italian Culinary Institute offers participants the flexibility to change course dates and even switch courses at anytime and for any reason at no cost.