The seed that grew to become Whatscookin was planted over a decade ago, when the paths of the company’s founders, Marco Giusti and Claudio Bernardoni, first crossed. As they became better acquainted, they soon discovered they shared a strong interest in Italy’s rich history, art and culture, not to mention its variegated regional cuisine. Both had acquired experience in the restaurant business and their educational backgrounds included a focus in the fields of art and architecture. Before too long, they had come up with the idea of joining forces in their quest to find a way to channel their eclectic interests into an enterprise that would allow them to showcase their individual talents. Thus began their gradual ascent towards what was to become Whatscookin – a labor of love that was painstakingly built over the course of several years.
The fact that Marco was a bilingual American expatriate, also fluent in Spanish and French, who had resided in Italy for several years, made it easier for him and Claudio to be hired as a team for a British company specializing in gourmet cooking and special-interest tours focused on such diverse activities as cooking and painting classes, heirloom rose garden visits, and Pilates workouts. The duo’s efforts planning itineraries, menus, and cooking lessons eventually paid off, as they deepened their knowledge and sharpened their skills, soon realizing they were just as comfortable guiding tourists down the steps of a Renaissance cathedral, while discussing the art treasures housed within, as leading them through the steps of a typical Italian regional dish.
Claudio and Marco’s humorous, sociable natures did the rest, allowing them to form warm bonds of friendship with a number of tour participants. This led the pair to develop a growing clientele of their own, composed of people with a wide range of interests in common who wished to enjoy the kinds of small-scale, tailored tours the two were singularly suited to design and lead. Many of the exclusive tours they were now running of their own accord were held in charming ancient villas and farmhouses, while others were focused on such specialized interests as mushroom hunting with expert mycologists and cooking classes with Marco and Claudio. This, along with the additional skills both of them acquired running a beachside bar and restaurant, where they were the sole managers and chefs of its busy kitchen, allowed them to become even more adept at handling a business of their own, preparing sumptuous meals for large groups of people, or coaching them through the phases of preparing such a feast on their own.
The enthusiastic support of their expanding clientele thus gradually convinced them to fully devote themselves to devising, promoting and leading their own customized tours, which offer the kinds of authentic, memorable travel experiences that only Whatscookin can deliver.