Growing up in the breadbasket of the American Midwest, Mary Beth Clark was raised on the home cooked meals of her mother and grandmother, meals made from scratch with fresh produce from the garden. Her culinary education began as soon as she could walk and talk, making soups, jams, pasta, sauces, desserts, and hand-churned ice cream at home with her family.
Extensive travel fed her curiosity and passion for cuisine and culture. By age 25, Mary Beth established her own cooking school in New York City, where she created and taught in-depth, hands-on cooking courses in European and Asian cuisines. A few years later, after recognition of her talents, esteemed Bolognese food authority Tamburini invited Mary Beth to study in his kitchen at Antica Salsamentaria Tamburini in Bologna, Italy. Mary Beth became the first American—and the first woman ever—to learn and cook alongside Tamburini and his team of chefs.
Within one year, she founded The International Cooking School Of Italian Food And Wine in Bologna, Italy. Mary Beth, an American cooking teacher, established one of the most respected culinary schools in the world. She has logged thousands of miles traveling the country and researching its cuisine firsthand. She has savored local ingredients and wines and learned regional styles and beloved dishes, from the top of the country’s peninsula down through its boot, heel, and islands. Mary Beth’s recipes record not only the history of a country and its people, but also her own personal experience, acquired over decades of eating, cooking, teaching, and living in Italy.
As mentor to amateur and professional cooks since 1977, Mary Beth’s students benefit from her deep understanding of diverse cultures and cuisines. In addition to her years of expertise in Italian cuisine and Italian cooking vacations, she is a recognized expert in Chinese cooking. Mary Beth travels extensively throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, and the United States studying cuisines, their corresponding cultures and the impact on today’s cooking, nutrition, and lifestyle. After thousands of miles and thousands of meals (and workouts at the gym!), she’s still savoring it all, tasting, teaching, inspired. Her understanding and passion for food, wine, and cuisines is an integral part of each hands-on course importing a deeper understanding and expertise in cooking to her students.
A contributor to cooking publications for decades, Mary Beth is the author of Trattoria and a contributor to award-winning Italy: A Culinary Journey. Her recipes are part of Cooking with Bon Appétit cookbook series and Time-Life’s Great Meals in Minutes cookbook series. As feature writer for many years for the Journal of Italian Food, Wine & Travel, she shared her expert knowledge of Italian culture, travel, restaurants, and chefs. Her articles, recipes, and commentary are published in The New York Times, Bon Appétit, House Beautiful, Food & Wine, LIFE, Organic Gardening, Cooking Light, and USA Today.
Mary Beth Clark and her cooking school are enthusiastically recommended in print and online, in publications based in the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Portugal, and Italy. These publications include Food & Wine, Condé Nast Traveler, Sunset, Forbes, Bon Appétit, Departures, Williams-Sonoma Taste, Cooking Light, The New York Times, The Financial Times, The Atlanta Journal & Constitution, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Newsday, USA Today, The Washington Post, Civilta del Bere, Corriere Della Sera, Erudita e Gostosa, Il Resto del Carlino, Berlitz Guides, Fodor’s, Frommer’s Italy, and Frommer’s 500 Places for Food & Wine Lovers.
Mary Beth and her cooking courses have been featured as a Bon Appetit cover story and front page article of the “Living Section” for The New York Times. In addition to teaching in Italy, she created special Italian cooking classes for the New School, King’s Supermarkets, and the Rhode Island School of Design. She has made an award-winning video, appeared as guest chef for The Food Network and other television programs, Crystal Cruises, and the American Craft Museum, and participated in several radio programs including New York’s AM 710 WOR and Wisconsin Public Radio.
In 2010, the Italian government honored Mary Beth with the Distinguished Service Award, under the auspices of the Italian Ministry for Economic Development and the Italian Trade Commission, recognizing her contribution to Italian culture. She is a Certified Culinary Professional (CCP), and member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals and Slow Food. Mary Beth is a consultant to food, cookware, publishing, and retail corporations, and divides her time between New York City and Italy.
Contact Chef Clark for culinary services, guest chef appearances, publications contributor, and media appearances.