Michele Topor unlocks the secrets of Boston’s North End neighborhood and its cuisine. Her cooking classes, shopping tours, and culinary excursions to Italy have been featured on TV and radio programs and reviewed in major national and international publications. A professional chef by training, Michele is one of Boston’s leading authorities on Italian food, wine and culture.
She has studied with some of Europe’s leading chefs and is the recipient of numerous professional diplomas and certificates from, among others, Bologna’s La Scuola Di Cucina (Marcella Hazan), the “Cooking in Florence” Program (Giuliano Bugialli), and Madeleine Kamman’s Modern Gourmet. She is certified by the National Institute of the Food Service Industry.
Michele is actively involved with numerous local and national professional culinary associations, including The James Beard Foundation, American Institute of Wine and Food, the International Association of Cooking Professionals, Chefs Collaborative, Women Chefs and Restauranteurs, Culinary Historians of Boston and Radcliffe Culinary Friends.
A 30-plus-year resident of Boston’s North End, Michele has taught cooking, catered, and consulted on Italian food since 1979. She has served as Guest Chef at several Boston-area restaurants, including Davio’s “Salute to Calabria” (1996) and The Seaport Hotel’s “Les Dames d’Escoffier” (1998).
Her infectious enthusiasm, broad knowledge of Italian cuisine, and her extensive travels throughout Italy make Michele an ideal cooking colleague, tour guide and travel companion on your quest for discovery of La Bella Vita.
From a very early age Michele could be found either tending to the garden with her mother or helping her father in their little family grocery store in central Massachusetts. She took great pride and enjoyed their Polish heritage and was eager to learn the family customs.
Despite the comfort of family and her hometown, the big city was calling and she left for Boston to train as a registered nurse. Although a nursing career was rewarding, food and cooking remained a magnet and a great way to be creative and entertain her friends.
Hoping to replicate her small town atmosphere, Michele discovered and moved into Boston’s North End. This tiny, warm and somewhat foreign community felt like the village of her youth. She felt at home as she wandered and shopped the little markets and began a quest to learn a new culture and cuisine.
Her spare time now turned into endless jaunts to study, and learn the Italian culture and cuisine, and her passion took her to Italy, where she studied with such luminaries as Marcella Hazan, Giuliano Bugialli, and, back in the States, Madeleine Kamman.
As a 37- year resident of Boston’s North End, Michele designed The North End Market Tour to introduce her cooking class participants to her neighborhood and sources for authentic Italian ingredients. Since 1994, Michele and her personally trained guides have shared their passion for the food and wine of Italy on this one-of-a-kind, five-senses-alive, walking cooking class. Their goal is to convey not only the secrets of the cuisine in the high quality of ingredients but also the sense of regional tradition, the healthfulness of the Italian diet, and that very Italian love of life.
Michele’s cooking classes, market tours and culinary trip’s to Italy have been featured on television — including Travel Channel, TVFood Network, HGTV and CNN, on the radio, and in various national and international publications. As one of Boston’s leading authorities on Italian food, wine and culture, Michele’s infectious enthusiasm, broad knowledge of Italian cuisine, and her extensive travels throughout Italy make Michele an ideal cooking colleague, tour guide and travel companion on your quest for discovery of La Bella Vita.
In her free time, Michele enjoys traveling, tending to her award winning roof-top garden and entertaining friends. If you can’t find her, she’s likely to be wandering for hours at any farmer’s market, fish pier or ethnic grocery store.