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Anna Tasca Lanza

anna-tasca-lanzaAnna Tasca Lanza was the first of four children (born Tasca, married to a Lanza) and has always lived in Palermo. At 15 she was sent to L’Ecole Ménagère de Lausanne Briamond, where she learned some notions of French cuisine and, basically, how to be a good wife. Back home after two years, was immediately put to the test with the preparation of classic cheese puffs. This was her debut as a cook in the family! In 1959 she married Venceslao Lanza di Mazzarino, the scion of one of the noblest families on the island. In 1961 she gave birth to her only daughter, Fabrizia. In 1989, Anna, with the help and support of her parents, the now established wine producers Giuseppe and Franca Tasca, put together a small cooking school at Regaleali, the family winery. The idea was to spread Sicilian home cooking to America, where she was immediately greeted with great enthusiasm. In 1898 the first group of American students arrived. Within a few years Anna knew and worked with stars of international cuisine, such as Julia Child, James Beard, Alice Waters, Carol Field, Robert Mondavi, the Coppolas.

Anna went on to publish two books in America, Heart of Sicily and Flavours of Sicily, which introduced the author to the American public as the Marcella Hazan of Sicilian cuisine. Her lectures and demonstrations were presented by the Smithsonian, by James Beard, by Cipriani, by the Culinary Institute of America. Anna was also invited to several talk shows and radio programs, and traveled annually to promote Sicilian cuisine across America-- from New York to Portland and San Francisco, from New Orleans to Las Vegas and Vancouver. In 1998, in addition to her inaugural speech, Anna also delivered the commencement speech at the Culinary Institute of America, the world’s most prestigious cooking school, in which she made a speech launching these young American students into their future career! Gastronomica has covered Anna’s efforts, and articles about her appear in Gourmet, Saveur, and Food and Wine as well as magazines around the world, including Sweden, Denmark, Poland, Russia, China, India and Korea. In addition to the United States, Anna lead the promotion of Sicilian cuisine in Hong Kong and India with her daughter Fabrizia, in the UK, Malta, and Canada. In addition to two American books published by Mondadori entitled "Sicily in the Kitchen", Anna also released two self-published books on herbs and fruits. Anna associated her passion for the kitchen with her passion for flowers and the beautiful garden/orchard where she grew endangered species and wild herbs that had been collected in the fields.