Chefs & Nonnas – Sandhurst Fine Foods
Our Chefs & Nonnas
Valerie and Andrew Cibej

Andrew Cibej is a name synonymous with the best of Italian cooking in Australia. He’s the owner of popular establishments Vini, Berta and 121BC and uses recipes passed down from his northern Italian Nonna and his mother Valerie – home-cooked goodness and shared eating. For two weeks only they presented their best family recipes in a five-course extravaganza at our beautiful pop-up restaurant.

Maria and Massimo Mele

Massimo Mele was born in Australia but spent his first 8 years in Naples, playing in a crowded kitchen while his Nonna and aunts cooked up a storm. Mele is a self confessed mummy’s boy, and understands the great importance of Nonna’s influence in producing the finest Italian street food. Mele and his mother Maria at Festival of Nonna, lead a workshop, where they showed how to whip up veal meatballs, ferretti pasta with prawns and torta caprese.

Geraldine Lubrano and Luca Ciano

Luca Ciano was born and raised in Milan and started cooking with his Nonna and mother when he was just eight-years old. It was their influence and inspiration that led him to a career in the kitchen, resulting in him running a two-star Michelin restaurant in Milan. With Luca’s family living in Italy, Sandhurst’s very own Nonna, Geraldine Lubrano, joined him to run Nonna’s Gnocchi Workshop, as well as a tiramisu demo.

Carmela La Pegna and Sara Oteri

You’ll probably recognise Sara Oteri’s face from her time on Masterchef, which was a transformational moment for her, taking cooking Italian food from a hobby to a life-force. She grew up in Perth and would stay with her Nonna, Carmela La Pegna, quite regularly, spending most of their time in the kitchen, cooking up new creations. With Nonna La Pegna being deaf from birth they communicated through their love of cooking, and continue doing so to this day.

Our Chefs & Nonnas
Behind every great Italian chef is a wise, recipe-toting Nonna. Meet four of Australia’s top Italian chefs and their Nonnas - women who have proven to be irreplaceable mentors.
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