I love food. But I almost love Italy more.
Curious Appetite is Coral Sisk, an Italian/Persian Made-In-America gourmet food blogger from Seattle however seriously captivated (and captured) by Italy for 12 years and counting. I love sharing my passion for Italian food, wine and culture with everyone I meet.
I’ve been an avid “culinarian” for as long as I can remember- cooking and eating with curiosity. My love affair with food began with my Iranian family, I was lucky to grow up in part eating gamey lamb & herb stews (ghormeh sabzi), pomegranates from my grandmother’s garden and saffron & pistachio rose water bastani (persian ice cream) with my aunties. As an adult, I attribute an adventurous palate to my Iranian half.
My love for Italy (and rights to Italian citizenship) comes from the bit of my Sicilian blood. However, my determination to move to Italy formally began in 2005 when I visited Florence for the first time. As soon as I stepped foot in Piazza del Duomo, I knew I wanted to make Italy my life’s passion. From that day in 2005, I dreamt of moving to Italy and I spent subsequent years working towards this goal.
Since 2005, I put in my dues by earning a Bachelor’s Degree Italian Language and Literature, formal coursework in food & wine, traveling to as many regions as possible, making precious friendships along the way, volunteering on organic farms, working in the industry since I was old enough to work (food tourism, specialty food sales, waitressing, etc) living and breathing Italian culture whenever possible.
I started this food blog after I graduated in 2010 from the University in Washington. I had spent considerable time studying food and agriculture in Italy, and I came back to Seattle with a college degree and lots of opinions about Italian food. My blog originally started as a hobbyist platform to practice (extremely amateur) food criticism, mostly about Italian restaurants in Seattle. When I moved to Florence in 2012, I started to write about restaurants in Florence and an occasional travel adventure (like when I went to Iran) plus random recipes.
Not just a “critic”, I cook at home a lot so I share random experiments in the kitchen such as avocado chocolate mousse pies, fresh pasta making, Tuscan ribollita and coconut flour waffles. I should note my big sister is a functional holistic nutritionist in Los Angeles so in addition to growing up with international flavors, I learned to treat food as medicine. (except the days where my diet consists mostly of Negoni, gelato and pasta)
In 2012, I finally made the leap to move to Italy and Florence was not planned but that’s where I ended up. During my last couple years in Seattle, I was earning a certificate in food & wine pairing at a vocational culinary academy, working as a sales representative for a wine distributor and moonlighting as a food tour guide for Seattle Food Tours. I had nearly given up on my dream to move to Italy, despite holding a University degree in Italian Studies, food & wine training and an Italian passport/citizenship.
I noticed a flyer around campus advertising a culinary study abroad in Florence, and somehow saw this as the gateway to my dreams of moving to Italy. The universe checkmated me and here I am. Since arriving in Florence, I’ve kept busy working in food & wine tourism & events. Now I run my own show of tasting tours, cooking classes and freelance writing!
I holds a bachelor’s degree in Italian Studies (language, literature & history) with a minor in Food Studies from the University of Washington in Seattle, a food & wine pairing certificate from the Northwest Wine Academy in Seattle, award in Wine & Spirits from WSET London and am currently pursuing sommelier certification from FISAR in Florence. Basically, I’m a certified Italian-speaking wino!
During my academic career, I studied abroad in Rome on 2 separate occasions, once on a food-specific academic program titled: “The Anthropology and Geopolitics of Food” where we surveyed world food production and consumption, starting with the food culture of Rome. I WWOOF’ed (workstay) on an organic farm in Puglia to learn about self-sustaining agriculture.
In Seattle, I was involved in the food community via giving tours at the Pike Place Market to volunteering on urban farms in under-served communities (Seattle Tilth, Cascade Harvest Coalition, etc). I originally wanted to work in food policy or in community food non-profits, but after a stint as a Food Policy intern at the Washington Health Foundation, I realized the food battle needed to start with our forks and to learn where we should be putting them. Italy, to me, is a prime example of what an ideal food culture should look like and I do my best to promote that (in a fun and non-judgmental environment) through my carefully crafted food tours.
My writing has appeared in food and travel publications such as Eater, Vice Munchies, Vogue Magazine, Conde Nast and more. Check out my latest press clippings here. So what’s your job (people ask) Well, I write for but more notably, I manage a bespoke line of tasting tours that I designed and created. I am very proud to provide memorable experiences to visitors to my adopted country. You can check out all my gastronomic and culinary experiences here. Even Lonely Planet approves.
Buon curious appetito!