Chef Lenore Pinello talks to students during an In the Kitchen cooking class. / Contributed
For the last nine years, Lenore Pinello has been in Florida doing what she really loves – cooking and sharing food. The former New Yorker, who was in magazine publishing for almost 30 years, stumbled into her second career as an instructor, personal chef and party-service provider after the book she wrote with her sister Barbara DeVita in 2006 started selling.
Mangia Mama began as a family project to preserve their mother’s recipes. But after hundreds of copies were sold, Pinello was asked to teach a class, and that’s how “In the Kitchen” began.
At her Tequesta shop, Pinello teaches cooking like her mother taught her – hands-on, by personal instruction. Or in a group. Or you can just have fun by watching a demonstration and drinking a glass of wine. Class prices range from $75 to $150 per person. Many locals come there as an alternative to dining out.
In the Kitchen also is a small retail store with aprons, holiday hosting gifts for fall and, of course, cookbooks. She also does a demonstration class using recipes from her cookbook.
Pinello and her husband Charlie moved to Tequesta a year ago, and her niece started a small garden for her in the back yard. But Pinello soon became too busy running her “retirement” career, so Charlie became the farmer in the family.
He grows cherry and heirloom tomatoes, romaine lettuce, baby reds, and herbs – much like Lenore’s mother used to do. They’ve since discovered that, 60 years ago, their property was part of a pineapple farm, so that’s next on the “to grow” list.
For her clients, Pinello shops at a variety of places, from farmers markets to Kai Kai and Farriss farms, from retail to wholesale. She buys grass-fed meats, soy-free eggs and poultry, and fresh Florida produce whenever possible.
She even cans Florida tomatoes in season and uses them throughout the year. As a mini-grower, she shares any excess she has with clients.
“I like to cook more from my heritage – more Mediterranean,” explains Pinello. “But I do other types of cooking as well.”
Her other instructor is Chef Ashley Moorehead, a graduate of the Florida Culinary Institute who teaches regional American foods as well as German, Asian, Thai, Vietnamese and French cuisines.
Pinello also travels every other year with a group. This year, she went to Art Basil in Switzerland, where, of course, there was a lot of eating, too.
In the Kitchen
Gallery Square North
389 Tequesta Drive, Tequesta
Mikki Royce is a writer and publicist. A “foodie,” she is a member of Slow Food, a local CSA; and is learning about food and nutrition, gearing up to complete a natural-style cookbook. Royce is a graduate of the University of Miami’s School of Communications.