Shawsheen Tech Graduate Has Cooked Up A Tasty Career
Dave and Michelle Valicenti create their own their own fresh gourmet pastas and sauces.
(The following story was submitted by the Public Relations Department at Shawsheen Tech.)
BILLERICA – Visit the website of Valicenti Organico and see the story of Dave and Michelle Valicenti.
The couple resides in Hollis, N.H. and has owned its own company for the past seven years or so, making their own fresh gourmet pastas and sauces and selling to restaurants and citizens alike.
The company states proudly, “We are committed to growing organically and sourcing within our community for the freshest, healthiest and most delicious ingredients season after season.”
Dave and Michelle have been passionate about food since childhood.
Both began cooking at an early age and have always worked in the culinary field – together they have more than 40 years of experience cooking and baking in the restaurant industry.
Dave’s family has always been in the food business and he was a Chef at some of the best restaurants in New Orleans for almost 15 years before moving back to the area.
Michelle graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. and was Pastry Chef at many fine restaurants, but she’s quick to remember where she got her start - Shawsheen Valley Technical High School in Billerica.
Michelle Splaine graduated from Shawsheen in 1997 after studying culinary arts and spending most of her time in the school’s popular bakery.
“My dad always said it was a terrific career,” said Michelle, who decided on culinary after going through Shawsheen’s exploratory program.
She’d go on to work for Michael’s Bakery in Billerica while in high school before attending college.
“[Shawsheen] certainly gave me an edge,” she said. “I always felt my first [college] courses were almost unnecessary with all of the things I learned at Shawsheen.”
Dave and Michelle met in 2005 and decided to start their own business in 2008. Working in the fully licensed commercial Farm Kitchen that they created from a restored barn on their property, Dave and Michelle boast many flavors of ravioli and pasta. They have a long list of farmer’s markets and wholesale accounts.
Consider Maura Russell of the Department of Education as a fan of Valicenti Organico.
“I bought some ravioli, Brown Butter and Sage Roasted Sweet Potato and also Moroccan Braised Carrot and Chickpea,” Russell said. “They were excellent. I'd actually like to try many of their other flavors. They also had a very practical pamphlet that had suggested pasta and sauce pairings.”
While Michelle admits that she loves when she does, she also acknowledges that it isn’t easy.
“It’s really tough,” she said. “It’s relentless. Just when you think you can take a break, the phone rings.”
Michelle insists, her time at Shawsheen not only helped prepare her for a career in the food industry, but also working hard in a real-world environment.
“Attention to detail,” she said. “Those are the things that hold people back, but the bakery instructors always said that if you pay attention, there’s no reason you can’t open your own business. They were always nice and funny, but they were no-nonsense. I learned a lot.”
To see the website for Valicenti Organico visit www.gimmiespaghetti.com
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