One-on-One with Isabella Baffa
Creator of Sapori Di Tery – Home Made Sauces
*Interview conducted by Marie-Christine Tayah
‘I am Italian by birth and by heart. I discovered that cooking and sharing was my passion since I started to cook for my boys, my family and my friends.
After 18 years of working in advertising and communication I decided that it is time to start this journey that has been waiting for me all these years: cooking & sharing
My aim is to introduce the Italian authentic home cooking as well as spread the “made in Italy” cuisine and way of life, where love, warmth, colors and tastes spread in your homes
How did it all start?
My parents were my first eyes upon this world and they taught me to see through. Since then, everything keeps going in that very same energy. It’s a kind of eternal beginning. Be it through smiles, creation, the birth of a child or grandchild, this process is continuously eternal.
Where do you get your interest in cooking from?
Definitely from my mom’s cuisine! I was brought up in a home where I used to spend time watching my mother in action in her kitchen. Pans with simmering food, new dishes being prepared for friends and family to share. When asking about a recipe, my mom used to tell me: “stick to coffee making, you will have your whole life to cook later on”. Still, those scents and perfumes kept on enchanting me, Tastes, smells related to my childhood are engraved in me as they remind me of very privileged moments.
How did you decide to move on your own as an entrepreneur?
I spent 18 years of my life in the communication field, but yet I felt something different was calling in me in a different direction. I started questioning myself and concluded that at 50, it was about time I step into what I love to do and so I was guided by ‘follow your passion.’
Still, the mechanism was all really challenging for me. I started thinking what if I wasn’t up to what I expected from myself and others? What distressed me was always the preservation process. I became an expert in food tasting and enjoyed discovering new products. I wanted to create a product that would bring this feel to people. I started my market study upon a key market, the one of pasta sauces. The biggest challenge remained in preserving those ingredients. But then again, what needed to happen simply happened and I created a new brand: Sapori di Tery; which mean “savors of Tery” (Tery was my mom’s name). Homemade sauces for pasta and pizza. New products are in the process such us biscuits and special bread. My aim was to convey not only a taste, but also to communicate the pleasure of good food to others and sharing with them a true love story experience.
What are the biggest challenges you face?
I would say to be self-organized. Being master of one’s own time is not an easy task. I’m into arts and thus my brain functions differently. Creating a product that would remain on shelves is a challenge in itself. Souk El Tayyib was the first marketing and selling platform for me, it gave me the real feel of what customers thought about the experience of an Italian sauce cooked with basic and simple ingredients but yet very tasty. After that I started displaying my sauces in various points of sales.
What does success mean to you?
To me, success is reaching the biggest number of persons, homes… either with my products or with my cooking classes. When you put a target to yourself , follow it and go beyond it. If you are taken by panic at night about your operation and your business, it means you’re on the right track. If you want to kick start something from scratch, you need to spend overnights… in your mind.
What or who do you rely on?
First and foremost I rely on my 5 senses because cooking is one of the few activities that uses all five senses. Then I rely on people around me, the community I live in, and my children who were my drive and pushed me to go forward. In fact, there were the main initiators, as I used to cook for them and their friends and enjoying it so much.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Italian cuisine is the richest I have ever encountered. It is simple yet very tasty. My curiosity pushes me to discover the real authentic Italian old recipes and while visiting friends & family in Italy, I just love spending time in their kitchen sharing with them and learning from them. Having lived in a Mediterranean country gives me common grounds on which I can work with.
Would you consider having a partner or would you prefer to go on solo?
Embarking on an entrepreneurial project solo is not easy. One needs to keep on self-motivating oneself, to be up to the challenge and that’s not easy, knowing that at the end of the day, one remains alone with oneself. I would love to have a partner, but still, someone who can share the same passion and vision…. I don’t know if it would be easy to find but I am always open about it!
When do you find time to rest?
I rarely find time to rest, but there are some days where I feel I really need to totally disconnect from everything else. These moments are precious, they allow me to recharge my batteries and kick-start for a new day.
Describe a typical day of yours.
I wake up around 5:30, It is my favorite time of the day., I like to watch the light come up like a reminder that there is always a new day ahead coming for us. A kind of rebirth.
So I do my morning readings and plan my activities for the rest of the day. A day that is not planned is a wasted day. I write down my to do list : cooking classes, new recipes to try, visit points of sale and check on the sales of my Sapori di Tery sauces … At night, it gets very simple: read, watch TV, share dinner with friends, practice yoga….or even prepare for next day work when I have an over busy period.
What keeps you going?
The passion I have for my work. I always have the fear that I might lose this passion. But then I realize in each cooking class that I just love it more and more.
As well as when I get a positive feedback about my sauces, I know I did the right thing!
Any messages to women entrepreneurs?
Women are super creatures. They are evolving in constant creativity. Whatever their situation is or position they fill, they keep up to the different roles they have; the mom, the spouse, the sister, the friend, the daughter. Women should not fear to fail, that’s all. They just can’t fail.
One thing to focus on:
ACCOMPLISH EVERYTHING YOU ACHIEVE WITH LOVE !
Sapori Di Tery recipe for Pumpkin Gnocchis
Ingredients for 4 pax
350g of Pumpkin pulp
350 of Potatoes
2 big spoons of Parmesan
160g of Flour
Sprinkle of Cinnamon
Sprinkle of Nutmeg
Salt & Pepper
200g of Taleggio Cheese
150ml of Milk
-Cut the pumpkin in thick slices and put in oven to soften around 20min.
-Then smash it to become like for potatoes puree.
-Repeat the same process with potatoes that you would have boiled and peeled.
-Add to both ingredients smashed flour, cinnamon, egg, parmesan, nutmeg, salt and pepper.
-Work the dough until u have a smooth and homogenous ball.
-Let it rest for a few minutes.
-Then start working your dough and form long stripes.
-Then cut small pieces as small as a nut.
-You prepare a pan with full water that you boil.
-Then start throwing your gnocchis to cook.
-You it is ready when they float at the surface.
-You then remove them and put them in a serving dish.
-On another pan you put the milk in bain marie and add the cheese chopped in cubes.
-Steer gently and when ready pour on the gnocchis and serve hot.