A Cooking Class and Bonding Experience in Florence

Jul 4, 2018 10:30:00 AM / by Allyson Barnes

Allyson Barnes

Allyson Barnes is an official CAPA blogger for summer 2018, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. An Anthropology, Evolutionary Biology and Ecology, and Studio Arts major at University of Colorado - Boulder, she is studying abroad in Florence this semester.

In this week's post, Allyson attends a My Global City cooking class with her roommates in Florence and learns how to make Italian dishes from scratch.


As an adventurous person everywhere except for the kitchen, I was excited to try my hand at cooking some traditional Italian dishes when I made my journey to Florence. I was over the moon that I would not only be able to try that in my apartment, but also in an actual cooking class! Now, to give you some background on me, I am probably the worst cook you could ever meet. I once ruined a perfectly good can of soup trying to heat it up on the stove. Don’t ask me how, I don’t even know. I just have a knack for ruining foods that I attempt to cook. Needless to say, I was nervous for the class and the fact that I would have to learn how to make 3 courses of pasta dishes from scratch.

CAPAStudyAbroad_Florence_Summer2018_From Allyson Barnes - At a Cooking ClassReady to get started in this cooking class!

This was my My Global City experience. Two of my roommates signed up for the cooking class with me and I couldn’t recommend it more to someone looking for one of those unique hands-on experiences.

It all started at our apartment trying to make sure we weren’t wearing something we would ruin by spilling food all over it. Then we started the trek over to the apartment of our hosts and teachers. We got there to find aprons for each of us and we got right into it. We started by getting an overview of all that we would be making. The dishes included gnocchi with pesto sauce, spinach and cheese ravioli with a butter sage sauce, and a long pasta with tomato cream sauce. All of the dishes sounded so mouthwatering we couldn’t wait to learn how to make it.

Learning How to CookMaking the dough for the pasta.

We each got to help little by little to make the dough then cut the noodles or roll the gnocchi. We were going back and forth between the table to make pasta and the stove to make the sauces. It was an adventure for me, learning how to efficiently move around the kitchen, which I hope to continue to utilize in my cooking endeavors, that is if I can actually achieve the same results when I do it without supervision.

This experience was not just one for learning how to properly cook pasta, it was also one for bonding with all of my fellow study abroad students. We were all laughing and learning together making it a true friendship-building evening. I have pictures from the evening with so many people I had never spoken to before and now we continue to talk and travel together throughout our stay here in Florence.

Learning How to Make PastaThe pasta is cut and ready to be cooked.

It was certainly difficult at times to make sure we were cooking everything correctly and that the pasta was cut perfectly, but in the end we were famished. We had definitely worked up an appetite and when we finally got to eat the pasta we worked so hard on, we were not disappointed. They seemed to all turn out perfect, and the fact that we had done it ourselves made them taste all the better. We were all so proud of ourselves and each other that we couldn’t stop beaming. We all laughed around the table eating together and enjoying each other’s company.

CAPA was amazingly helpful in organizing this experience. Everything from arranging the class and getting us a discounted price, it all went so smoothly and I won’t soon forget my first successful cooking experience. It was definitely one of my favorite nights in Florence, and an experience I will never forget.


Thanks Allyson!

Allyson's journey continues every Tuesday so stay tuned.

Learn More about the CAPA Florence Program

Topics: Florence, Italy, Food in Florence, My Global City