Today, I shine the spotlight on fierce Chef Valentina Santanicchio. She grew up on her parents’ organic farm in nearby Ficulle where, I imagine, her dedication to real food began – it’s in her blood. She opened her first restaurant at the age of 28 and created a style of cooking that is a wonderful combo of tradition mixed with an edgy, contemporary flare – kind of like Vale…(Disclaimer: She’s also one of my closest friends). She is strong, determined, independent and loyal….and she makes a mean fried chicken! (Photos: Top: Vale and me 2011. Bottom: Vale and me now, and Below: The ‘welcome back’ cookie she once made for me!) Like! Share! Visit! Eat!