My name is Manuela Collarella. I grew up in Palermo, Sicily (Italy). After ten years in Rome, I now live in Dublin, Ireland.
Sicily is that triangle shaped island in the center of the Mediterranean Sea that during the centuries has been conquered by Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Bizantines, Arabs, Normans, and also French and Spanish people.
They came, they enjoyed the good weather and the good food and, in exchange of all that, everyone of them left us a good number of recipes and a brand new stock of knowledge.
That is probably why in Sicily we enjoy so much a good conversation and, above of all, we are all so crazy about food.
Me too, of course. I have my share of ancestral obsessions and I have always been passionate about food and writing.
I started my journey in writing during university years, when I was studying Communication and Mass media. I worked as a journalist in a local Palermo newspaper (L’Ora). I was editorial secretary in a literary magazine (Accattone) in Rome. I was involved as co-founder and press officer in the Occhirossi Independent Photography Festival. I was a communications manager and a youth worker in a Roma NGO and I volunteered in the International Roma and non Roma youth network Ternype. And of course I was also a free lance editor during all these years.
(Well, you know, in the jungle of Italian job market you have to be versatile to survive!)
Besides writing and interculturality, food has always been at the centre of my life. From my Nonna (the beloved grandma), excellent cook and former grocer who taught me all her tricks about food shopping in the Palermo traditional street markets, to my mum and her sisters that still today get together to cook for every holiday in the calendar. In my family every woman had its own specialization when it was time to organize the family menu.
Coming from this heritage, could I escape from a destiny in the food world? Definitely not. So, from time to time I found myself involved as a cook and food event organizer in youth centres, social enterprises and cultural associations. A discreet number of friends and guests seemed to appreciate and when I moved to Ireland a lot of them pushed me to make a job from this passion.
I started with a foodblog, previously called Skitikkio. I have been running it for a couple of years and it was a great experience because through that I had the chance to meet a lot of new friends in the Irish blogging community and to know more about Irish food sector and its amazing products and producers.
After my experience as chef at the County Fare, at laaaaaaaasst here I am!
I have been dreaming of Sicilianbake project for a long time and now it is finally a reality.
Whether you are craving almond biscuits, savoury brioches or cakes, have a look at the menu.
I look forward to cook for you. Or… we can cook together if you book one of my cooking demo.
If you want to contact me you can send your emails at info[at]sicilianbake[dot]ie