It is always time for good manners........Readers, I want you to meet a very talented friend of mine. She is Petra Carsetti from Italy. From an early age, she showed a great passion for the table. Petra was born into a gastronomically minded family, but over the years she grew into an enthusiastic student of medicine. During university, Petra supported her medical studies by working in restaurants as a cook’s assistant. While there, she realized her true passion was food and wine, and subsequently diverted her studies to gastronomy and the festal table.
Since 2005, Petra has written many books on food and wine, along with guides to Italian restaurants, along with her husband, Carlo Cambi, a well-known journalist who writes articles for Italian media. Carlo was one of the founders of ‘I Viaggi di Repubblica,’ an Italian daily general-interest newspaper. He is a regular presence on a TV program on RAI1 called ‘La Prova del cuoco’. He writes on Italian economics, but has been made famous for his books on food and wine and has written over 12 more books called ‘Il Mangiarozzo’. This popular and well read book series helps the Italian gourmand traveller decide to which traditional restaurants to go, Italy-wide.
From 2017 Petra studied etiquette and now specialises in ‘galateo’ or etiquette, at the ‘Accademia Italiana Galateo’ and ANCEP (the Association of Ceremonialists for Public Institutes). Together, with knowledge gained over time and her husband’s foray into the food arena, Petra made an easy transition into her current profession, which is the history of etiquette, and it has evolved to modern etiquette. She is now teaching this subject all over Italy.
She teaches etiquette in schools to adults and children, is a consultant for various political and economic authorities, and has a weekly column in a historic newspaper. She also writes for various other newspapers, and has come out with her new book, “‘Galatime:’ it is always time for good manners!”
Petra continues to teach individuals and groups providing culinary experiences coupled with the etiquette of the table, socially and business. Her ultimate dream is to open the first etiquette and food museum in Italy, displaying tableware of long ago, so as not to forget how etiquette has changed and that dining is a truly beautiful experience to be shared.
Petra, in her own words, from my interview with her:
Petra what did you do in your early years for work? How long have you been researching food, and why? What else do have you specialized in?
“I started at the university at medical studies and to support myself I worked in restaurants as a cook assistant. I realized that my true passion was food and wine and therefore I directed my studies in this sector. I have written numerous cookbooks and a restaurant guide. My research on food therefore originates from my university days. So, attending many restaurants, I also became passionate about the equipment and the ‘mise en place,’ or having everything in its place. Consequently, I decided to study and specialize on the etiquette.”
Did you delve more into food when you married Carlo?
“Carlo is a great wine expert and in 2009 he won the “wine Oscar” as best journalist; it is no coincidence that he led tastings of famous wines such as Sassicaia or Champagne. Today he is called on various television broadcasts, he writes for various newspapers and for various publishing houses. I learned many things from my husband about wine and food, but my passion for food started when I was a child!”
How long have you been researching etiquette and why?
“My studies on etiquette and etiquette formally began in 2017. After losing my home and the editorial staff due to the earthquake that hit central Italy in 2016. In 2017, I decided to enroll at the ‘Accademia Italiana Galateo’ and to specialize more and more. Since then I have never stopped and I have directed my life towards this passion that constantly fascinates me.”