The School of Culinary Arts Cordon Bleu Florence is undeniably the oldest, and still operating cooking academy in Tuscany.
The school has been captained since the beginning by Cristina Blasi and Gabriella Mari, two very different though totally supportive directors. Since 1985 competence, professionalism, a variety of formative offers and teaching have made Cordon Bleu Florence a cooking academy of excellence - the ideal site to rediscover not only cooking traditions and history but also to break new grounds. To celebrate the school’s 30th anniversary there has been a change of premises, from Via di Mezzo to Via Giusti. The new location is in Palazzo Panciatichi Ximenes, and the 450 sqm school is housed in a charming sixteenth century historic building. The new school premises are large, welcoming, and well structured: three kitchens with state of the art professional equipment. There is also a themed library for student consultation.
- 1985 Cristina and Gabriella attend a course sponsored by the local government on herbs and food
- 1986 They both become members of the "Commanderie des Cordons Bleus de France".
- 1987 They attend a one-week cooking course at the "Locanda dell'Angelo" owned by Angelo Paracucchi. They do catering for the presentation of books and other cultural events.
- 1988 They run the restaurant of a tennis club in Sesto Fiorentino. They attend a national course on olive oil run by the Corporazione dei Mastri Oleari.
- 1989 They attend a course on Oriental cooking run by Burmese Princess June Bellamy.
- 1990 The new premises of the "Scuola di Arte Culinaria Cordon Bleu" of Florence open. Cristina and Gabriella stop the catering activity and running the restaurant at the tennis club to teach full time. From 1990 to 1995 they record videos of their lessons and recipies, and periodically participate to a regional television programme "Vivere e Convivere" (Italia 7).
- 1991 They attend a short course with Alain Ducasse and H. Winkler. They start collaborating with English schools where Cristina and Gabriella teach Italian Cooking (Worchester and Birmingham). Pubblication of the book: "Come Cucinare la Storia" ed. Klaus Monreal. Gabriella is elected by the "Commanderie des Cordon Bleus de France" to represent Tuscany.
- 1994 They attend a Boulangerie and French Cooking Course at the "Cordon Bleu School" in Paris.
- 1995 They join I.A.C.P., the prestigious International Association of Culinary Professionals. They join A.I.C.O.O. (Italian Association of Olive and Oil Experts).
- 1996 Pubblication of the book "Senape e Mostarda" ed. Nardini, Firenze. They hold a course on Italian cooking, wine and food culture and products at "William Angliss College" Melbourne, Australia. A consulting work on pastry products Vahiné for Ducros Industry.
- 1997 Cristina is elected member of A.I.C.I. board (Italian Association of Cooking Teachers).
- 1999 They teach a lesson on "L'arte bianca in casa" about the art of home-made bread, during the "Breakfast" event in Perugia, March. They take part in the TV programme "La vecchia fattoria" on RAI 1 dealing with chocolate preparation. They organize courses for Buitoni, the famous pasta industry. They take part in a TV programme on New Year's Eve's menus on a local channel (Canale 10).
- 2000 They collaborate with the Spanish magazine "Pizza y restauración" writing articles devoted to Italian cuisine.
- 2001 They attend a course on Old Neapolitan Cuisine ("La cucina di Napoli e dei Borbone") in Naples.
- 2002 They teach one lesson at the Sephardic Community in Brooklyn and two lessons at King's Studio in New Jersey (USA).
- 2004 2 lessons at ICE, Institute of Culinary Education on Italian and Tuscan Cuisine. Co-authors and food stylist of "Mediterranean cuisine" Ed McRae books. Authors and food stylist of "Pasta Machine" a book entirely devoted to home made pasta and creative recipies Ed. McRae books.
- 2005 Authors and food stylist of "Pasta Italia" ed. McRae Books.