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Katie Parla

From the art of the United States to the food of Rome

We are in New Jersey where, in a family of Italian American origin working in the hospitality world, a new culinary publishing prodigy: we are talking about Katie Parla.

Our origins run deep, and they pulled her enough for her to leave behind her degree in art history from Yale to run to Italy. Once she landed in Rome, Katie decided to take a master’s degree in gastronomy at the University of Tor Vergata. Still not satisfied, she is certified as a sommelier at the FISAR (Italian Federation of Sommelier Hoteliers Restaurateurs). Alongside the various awards obtained in the course of her career, what really animates her is the desire to know and create excellence. For Katie Parla, food is a fundamental cultural tool to break down barriers and unify what is called ‘different.’ Each dish is linked to the past and memories; therefore, she can keep moments, people, smells, and flavors alive. She says the most stimulating part of her work is to learn traditional recipes from those who have lived them with their own skin; bakers, farmers, winemakers, and housewives are her favorite subjects.

But, what does it mean to spend a day in the company of the Italian capital’s most influential writer/ guide?

First, it means breakfast. Katie is not an early riser and always needs a coffee to start with the day, possibly accompanied by a Danish pastry. If near whatever bar she breakfasts in there is a market, Katie will not hesitate and will enter the stalls buying products to experiment with; she is always looking for new recipes for her books. Time goes by, so, when she gets hungry, she goes to her trusted baker to refresh herself with pizza bianca and porchetta. Being at her side brings a succession of anecdotes about gricia, carbonara, and amatriciana pasta, but above all she is not shy in expressing her disappointment to those who believe that dishes such as chicken parmesan and spaghetti with meatballs are Italian.

Going back through the alleys and among the local Romans, Katie Parla will pull out the ace from her sleeve; her studies in art. As an excellent guide, she will lead her tour guests through the street art of the suburbs, those that are only recently rising from the torpor that had them asleep. She may be the hottest food writer in the capital, but Katie proves to be able to combine her passions very well; enough to create a phone app in 2013.

The aim is to generate interesting routes for foreigners, although most of those who use her are Italians, to help them to spread themselves between food, history, and shopping in the eternal city. Versatile and passionate, Katie is a reference point for all lovers of gastronomy.

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