Written by: Camille Manuncia, GiGi’s Annapolis Communications Intern

Ever since she was a little girl, Diane Fantone has loved to bake. She attended Johnson and Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island, where she received her bachelor’s degree in food service management, along with attending the culinary school there.  Diane’s personal chef business provides in-home meals for clients and caters on the side. As more people stay at home, this has become a great opportunity for her to revamp her business by offering deliveries for meals.

Now, she also uses her many kitchen skills not only in her business, Grateful Spreads which she founded in 2004, but also as one of the teachers in GiGi’s Kitchen. “Judy and Ginger have been wonderful at helping me with learning all about GiGi’s Playhouse. I have been very impressed with all the programs and opportunities they offer.  I used to do Meals on Wheels years back and found the work to be very rewarding.  I just love that I can offer my skill and teach others at GiGi’s how to make delicious healthy food,” Diane says.

With her foundation in food service management and a skilled hand in the kitchen, Diane has been a wonderful teacher for the participants! Her experience teaching cooking classes at Anne Arundel Community College and private classes was a baseline for GiGi’s Kitchen, but this was her first online gig. As we continue to use online platforms to engage with our participants, Diane finds this method useful as she has access to her full kitchen to teach the recipes. Online has helped her to reach a broader audience as well. Some of the recipes Diane has taught include chicken marsala, sloppy joes, and pesto pasta.

 “I love all the smiling faces especially once they have completed their dish. They just look so proud, which makes me proud,” says Diane.

GiGi’s Kitchen is an excellent way to learn new skills from amazing teachers with years of experience, recipes, and leadership in your kitchen. To RSVP for the GiGi’s Kitchen (18+) program, visit: GiGi’s At Home on Wednesdays at 5 pm (Eastern). Thank you for sharing your talents Diane!

GiGi’s Kitchen Adult is designed to emphasize the importance of health and wellness through nutrition education, kitchen safety, food preparation, social activities and a shared meal/snack. Under the guidance of program leaders, participants will learn about and progress through skills including measurements, food handling, knife skills, ingredient identification, palette expansion, and nutrition. Participants will be introduced to various cooking techniques. GiGi’s Kitchen program will build participants self-esteem and self-confidence through nutrition and wellness.

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