edit 11.jpg

Meet Luca Bianchessi
Bergamo, Italy

"As an Expat, there have been times when being far from home has been very hard. One of the hardest times was after winter break of freshman year, when I was still at UCI. I had gone with my family to vacation in the Dominican Republic and returning to school was hard and unsettling. It was the first time that I got homesick. I had the irrational thought that I had cut off all the bridges to home and that I was never going to be able to go back. Many of my international friends were also in similar situations. Together, we supported each other, and I realized that home was always going to be there. I had friends and family that were supportive of my decision to go abroad for college, a decision that Italian students rarely take.

During my Sophomore year, I was finally able to move from the dorm to a bigger apartment. I had a kitchen there, and that’s when I started cooking. What started as a convenient alternative to the barely-eatable food on campus at UCI quickly became a way to reconnect to those origins of mine that valued food so greatly. Although I had never cooked anything before coming to college, it was pretty easy for me to pick it up. Having frequent dinners - of course with an abundance of red wine - quickly became a way to socialize with friends.

My favorite dish is what I’m making right now; the Bolognese sauce. There are a lot of different recipes in Italy for the Bolognese sauce, making it easy to add a personal touch to the recipe.

It’s hard to put into words how attached I am to Italy. Spending time away from home actually made me love it more. One of the most positive aspects of being an Expat, I think, is how much more you get to value your traditions and background. Seeing other realities and being able to really appreciate what you have at home and where you come from is something not everyone can appreciate – and that perspective is invaluable. One of my favorite quotes is from the Italian movie The Great Beauty, “Do you know why I only eat roots? …Because roots are important.” It refers back to the importance of traditions and staying true to your origins, even though it is easy to forget. Being an expat is not only being able to leave home, but it is also constantly carrying a piece of it with you."

Recipe:

First, you warm up the extra virgin olive oil. Then, you fry a white onion until it gets caramelized. Once you’re done with that, you add ground beef together with a glass of red wine and wait for the meat to absorb. Then, you add fresh cut Roma tomatoes. You can then add sliced carrots, salt and half a cup of milk. Let it cook for about two and a half to three hours and voilà, your Ragù sauce is ready!

Luca Bianchessi is launching Le Mura, a tailor-made Collar Shirt line entirely handmade in Italy using the finest fabrics and design.