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Wilton Chef Opens Her Home for a Tasting

WILTON, Conn. – Eileen Ast and her fiancé, Michael Brown, attended Wilton Chef Sally Maraventano's open house to put her cooking to the taste test, and left happy.

Which is good, since Ast is giving Brown cooking lessons from Maraventano for Christmas and the couple wanted to be sure they would like the food.

Maraventano runs the Italian cooking school Cucina Casalinga out of her home kitchen, where she has been giving private classes for 30 years.

“I said that we’ll come here and if there isn’t enough food for lunch, we’ll go out after,” Ast said. “But I don’t think we will be going out.”

Both raved about the prepared foods and plates of antipasti.

“I started the open house for my kid’s teachers,” Maraventano said. “And from the teachers and friends I opened it up to the business as an opportunity to share about my classes.”

Her daughter, Fran Kirmser, remembers being 10 and her mother starting the business and the open houses. “It was exciting being a child and having this big event. It was just awesome to have.”

The food Kirmser grew up with is a huge part of the event, though many of her favorite dishes – her mother’s meat sauce and arancini (fried rice balls) – weren’t a part of the open house.

“What’s really fun about being a child of a chef is you see the lineage of the traditions,” Kirmser said. She added that learning how to cook from her mother and grandmother was also a family history lesson.

Maraventano spent weeks preparing for the open house, making dishes ahead and freezing what she could for the 100-150 people she expected to visit. All the food is homemade.

Around six years ago, Maraventano opened a boutique for imported oils, vinegars and Italian goods. It was a way to help students find the ingredients used in her lessons.

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