Editor’s note: This is a series highlighting just some of the fascinating skills on SkillPages. Gianfranco Chiarini is an Italian celebrity and Michelin starred chef. His career has included work in Michelin starred restaurants, deluxe hotels, consultancy and has even starred in over 50 cooking shows. We chatted with Gianfranco Chiarini to find more about his skill and his advice for others starting out.
Tell us a bit about yourself?
I was born in Italy in a multicultural environment with an Italian father, Colombian mother and American relatives. At the tender age of nine my family immigrated to New York City. I learned to grow up between the delicious contradictions of an Italian-Latin family with strict values on a fast paced metropolis like New York; which still remains my favourite city in the world. I guess New York describes my personality from every angle. I am an upbeat, ambitious chef, which recreates himself in creativity and innovation with the true flavours of Europe.
Have you always known you wanted to be a chef?
I think so. I grew up surrounded with great, natural, honest and nurturing food and had a value and appreciation for raw products. Although I did choose at some point, a Latin musical career, I realized that the culinary side of art was less superficial and more in line with my personal values and ambitions.
Would you have any advice for people starting a similar path?
An optimistic attitude, passion for what you do, and remember to work smarter, not harder. To become a top chef you need to learn and apply quickly to remain competitive, but that doesn’t come without a lot of effort!
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m currently departing for Ecuador for one month and then I go to Colombia for another month. My company Chiarini Culinary Consultants are opening new frontiers not only for our business, but for the culinary world at large. Both American and European governments have hired our expertise to immerse ourselves into the heart of the Amazons to study indigenous plants, ingredients and much more. This could be the next generation of ingredients for the world to enjoy and for the culinary to express in different and delicious ways. I will also be doing a photo-shoot for my fifth and sixth books that will be published in 2013 and 2014 back-to-back.
Could you explain what skills are necessary to become a world class chef?
I think the most important skills for a chef are creativity and passion. These are the skills that will contribute to culinary arts and to others.
What has been your favourite dish to create and why?
I love all my dishes, but if I have to stand out one that will be my ‘Honey Truffle glazed Duck breast, over a nest of Tropea onions marmalade and Umami-Chocolate-Rum demiglace’.
This dish combines the goodness and sex appeal of a perfect blend between Europe and the South American region. I consider this a superb dish!
What do you enjoy most about your work?
I enjoy anything and everything about my trade. The people, the raw materials, the cultures and countries that I have had the privilege to be in contact with. But especially the people, I love the fact that the new generation are so eager and hungry for knowledge. I enjoy passing that knowledge on to the future of culinary.
Can you tell us about how you use SkillPages?
SkillPages has helped me to build my on-line portfolio and promote my new books and recipes. SkillPages allows your skill to become more credible when others recommend you on your performance and activities. It’s a great tool!
Has featuring your services on-line helped you to generate business?
Absolutely! In this new technology and on-line driven generation it is vital to be present on-line and feature your services to wider and bigger audiences out there. My business is very healthy, thanks to the on-line presence.
Apart from cooking, what new skills would you like to learn?
I would love to learn how to fly planes and in any case I am open for new creative ways of spending my life here, whilst helping others to achieve the best of their potential, so that they can make their own dreams come true!
Send us Your Story
Have you a fascinating or uncommon skill with an extraordinary story that needs to be told? Email us!
Every day on SkillPages more and more people are adding their skills. As SkillPages caters for such a wide variety of skills each member has a unique story and that’s why we love hearing their stories.
We recently came across Sabrina Low’s portfolio on SkillPages and caught up with her to see how she has transformed and developed her passion into a successful event business.
Tell us a bit about yourself?
I currently own two companies, one being a property development company and the other an events company. I have been an event planner for over 11 years now and I quickly found a passion for creating an event and organizing to the very last detail. Event planning is not only my full-time job but also my passion. I thoroughly enjoy making my clients vision come to life!
How has your skill developed over the years?
Over the years my skill has developed as my confidence grows. I am a very creative person, a very driven person and I take great pleasure in learning from my suppliers and fellow event planners alike. The beauty of being in this industry is that I’m constantly learning as new things are being developed all the time.
Where does your inspiration come from?
My inspiration comes from my friends, family, my children, fashion, culture, fabric, television, movies, and iconic people like Marilyn Monroe, Jackie Kennedy and Humphrey Bogart. My favourite theme for an event has to be vintage as I’m heavily inspired by the likes of Chanel and the 1920’s. I take inspiration from everything and everyone and always have my camera and diary with me as inspiration hits you when you least expect it!
Who has been most influential in your skill?
I would say that I have been the most influential in my skill as I am the person who decides to take that leap of faith and try something new and fresh or even revive a classic.
Is most of your business generated online or is it more word of mouth?
For my business it’s a little bit of both right now. But I would have to say that both my website and my online portfolio have really helped me to showcase my work and skills both to suppliers and potential clients. It’s a fast and easy way to get yourself out there and get noticed.
What advice would you give to someone starting out in event planning?
Be calm and be brave. It’s a tough industry to get into but once you start it’s a rollercoaster. One thing that you should always remember is to have fun and listen to your clients. It’s important to keep in mind that all events are not about you but about what you can do for your client and how you capture their vision. How you represent your client in an event is very important.
Apart from event planning, what new skills would you like to learn?
I would love to learn to ride a bike (hands over eyes). Yes, you heard me, I cannot ride a bike! I’d love to skydive, take scuba diving lessons and do an advanced driving course with Mercedes. 🙂
Thanks Sabrina for sharing your story!
Event planners from around the world
For a sample of more event planners on SkillPages click the links to view their great portfolios:
Romsha Singh from Mumbai is richly experienced in event production and has a very strong resource network. Nicolaas Bosman from Rustenburg specialises in event planning for weddings, private functions and Christmas parties. Lauren Cameron from Massachusetts has been an event planner for over six years and has experience in hosting workshops, night club events and conferences. Lallit Nayyar from Shimla Colony has managed both private and corporate events from weddings, theme parties to client coordinating.
Send us your story