About Yummy Italy

Yummy Italy was founded in 2014, quite simply because I was fascinated with the fact that Italians and those from Emilia Romagna, in particular, spend most of their time talking about food. The reason for this is that the quality of the food offering in this region is far superior to most other places in the world. I was mostly inspired, however, by the artisan producers in the region, who make huge sacrifices and work with an incredible passion to make the best product possible - for themselves and for their customers. 

I was brought up in a multi-cultural household in North London, England, with Italian next-door neighbours from Piacenza making all sorts of Emilian pasta delights and pressing grapes in the garden in the summer. I also spent endless hours of my childhood in the kitchen with my Greek-Cypriot grandmother, in order to avoid Greek grammar lessons with my grandfather! After graduating, my conscious rendez-vous with food began during my first permanent job in the early 90s in London, where I spent four years as Assistant to Julian Metcalfe, founder and Chairman of the famous PRET A MANGER chain. It was here, guided by Julian, that I began to analyse and communicate every aspect of every item of food that found its way onto PRET shelves. 

When the opportunity arose to work for a food company in Vevey, Switzerland, I decided to embrace a new challenge. It was certainly light years away from the PRET concept, but analysing food quality and interpreting it in marketing and communication terms was a fundamental part of my job and continued to fascinate me.

In 2000 my fate brought me to Bologna, Italy, where my true voyage of discovery for the food of Emilia Romagna began. As International Event Manager for Automobili Lamborghini, I travelled the world creating first-class events and seeking out the finest Italian/Emilian food and the best chefs for all the events I organised both in Italy and abroad. 

Some years after the birth of my son, I decided to abandon the corporate life-style and began consulting for various brands, whilst at the same time delving even more deeply into the cuisine of the region, carrying out a myriad of Balsamic Vinegar, Parmesan, chocolate and wine tasting courses and working as a freelance food and gastronomy interpreter and guide. After all, I had everything offered to me on a platter, right on my doorstep. 

It is during my 18 years in Bologna that I have become as food obsessed as the locals. I freely admit to being a gastro snob and am happy to talk for hours about anything food and wine related. 

I am also on a personal mission to promote the little known (but excellent) wines of the region, in a quest to enable local, passionate wine-producers to gain a platform internationally and to enable food lovers from all over the world to pair the typical food of the region with the wines of the region. 

In addition to my status as a qualified Sommelier (Italian Federation of Sommeliers), I am also a qualified Balsamic Vinegar and Parmigiano Reggiano taster, have a National Cheese Tasting Diploma (ONAF) and am a member of the Italian Slow Food Association. I regularly work together with the Emilia Romagna Tourist Board, Bologna Welcome and Regional Wine Cellar, hosting the international press on gastronomy experiences on their behalf as well as being involved in other projects with the aim of promoting the food and wine of Emilia Romagna internationally. 

It is thanks to the people that I have been working with over the last few years that the courses and programmes Yummy Italy offers have become a reality. It is the wonderful artisan producers, food experts and chefs and a hand-picked selection of certified and passionate guides with whom I work, who make Yummy Italy possible.

Check out my LinkedIn profile here.

Helena Kyriakides

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