How one woman took the leap into entrepreneurship—and never looked back

Natalina's kitchen
Photo by Natalina Campagnolo

In this new series we will be hearing from Natalina Campagnolo, who turned her passion for cooking into a full-time job. Natalina will tell us why and how she built her business—and show you how you can turn your hobby into a second career. To learn more about Natalina, check out her two-part Freedom Film series

During my 12 years as a stay-at-home mom, I spent a lot of time with other mothers. We all had the same challenges of raising a young family: husbands travelling, sick kids, numerous activities that had us running in all different directions—usually in the early evening. But, while others often lamented having to go home and cook a meal, I always looked forward to making dinner.

Until my children started going to their friends’ homes for meals, I thought every household was like ours. Mom or dad made a home cooked meal every night and the whole family sat down together, discussed their day, argued, laughed, and then did the dishes together! Well, as I grew older it seemed that was not the case.

My dedication to cooking was part of my Italian heritage—we’re definitely a culture that takes food and cooking to extremes. I realized not everyone was taught how to cook by their families, and even fewer enjoyed making food as much as my family did. That’s when I recognized an opportunity. I founded La Cucina di Natalina, a cooking school operated out of my home and supplied by the garden my husband and I grew together. I basically took my passion—really, my birthright as an Italian Mama—and made a career out of it.

Beyond wanting to show people how to properly execute a recipe, I also wanted to teach them about Italian food culture. This had the added benefit of setting my business apart from other schools. Nowadays anyone can find a recipe or cooking class online, Italian or otherwise, but is there a real Italian Mama that will show you how to properly make pasta leading that class? Probably not.

So, I had the idea. In my next post I’ll tell you how I got it off the ground!