Toni Brancatisano grew up in Melbourne Australia as one of four children and the younger of twins. She graduated as a Registered Nurse from The Royal Melbourne School of Nursing in 1993.
In 1995, Toni travelled to London on a working holiday, intending to nanny 2 year old triplet girls for 6 months. The 6 months became 3 years, but the inevitable expiration of her VISA meant that Toni had to reluctantly leave London. From May 1998, Toni spent three months in La Jolla, San Diego where she worked as a prep chef in a friend’s Italian restaurant.
In August, 2008 Toni arrived in Tuscany for what she thought would be a ‘final summer abroad before returning to Australia’. (she is yet to return). Her love of cooking, and especially baking and cake decorating, meant that a hobby of making creative cakes for her children’s birthdays slowly become a little business as people started ordering cakes for birthdays, weddings and special events.
In 2009, Toni participated in the first cooking reality show on Italian TV (Before Masterchef came to Italy). ‘La Scuola – Cucina di Classe’ aired on Italy’s food channel, Gambero Rosso Channel on SKY. After 12 weeks of filming, Toni was declared the winner, beating 15 contestants in trials of cooking savoury & sweet dishes. The prize for winning the reality was to host a show on Gambero Rosso Channel.
Toni hosted a cake decorating show involving her daughter Annabella. ‘Le Torte di Toni’ went to air in 2010 with Toni teaching Annabella a different cake to make and decorate in each episode. Together, mother and daughter made 3 series of ‘Le Torte di Toni’. Then came 2 series of ‘Le Torte di Toni – Masterclass’, a show hosted by Toni, with a new guest decorator each episode. TV work also included a cooking show, hosted by Toni together with her twin sister, Lisa, ‘Twins – Gemelle in Cucina’.
Toni was also the Master of Ceremonies for a special dinner celebrating the close relationship and history between Australia and Italy. The evening was a collaboration between the Australian Embassy and Gambero Rosso. ‘i cugini dell’altro emisfero’ was broadcast on TV on 27 October 2014.
In 2011 Toni was invited to Australia for the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival where, for 3 weeks, she gave cooking demos (mainly pasta making), various radio interviews and also flew to Sydney to cook on The TODAY Show!
In 2012, Toni’s first book, ‘La Torta Perfetta di Toni’ was published by Gribaudo Feltrinelli Publishing.
2013 saw Toni move to Rome.
In 2014, amongst teaching all over Italy, Toni catered for the ANZAC day reception at the Australian Embassy in Rome.
In 2015, Toni worked for Tourism Australia speaking at events at Eataly and EXPO in Milan. It was at World EXPO that she also did cooking shows, sharing the event with Australian Aborignal chef Mark Olive.
In 2016, Toni once again single-handedly Catered for ANZAC Day morning tea at the Australian Ambassador’s residence in Rome.
In 2016 she also began working for Eating Europe Food Tours beginning as a guide and translator for the Cooking with Nonna classes, and then as a guide for their Food Tours in the neighbourhoods of Trastevere and Prati. Toni also offers private, tailor made Food Tours in Rome.
Toni can sometimes be found at trade fairs as a ‘special guest’, acting as Master of Ceremonies for various company events, or speaking as a special guest. She has created a series of YouTube videos to accompany her blog posts. Toni has also recently filmed a pilot episode for TV in English involving a foodie day in Rome, from breakfast to an evening aperitivo at the prestigious Hotel de Russie.
2017 saw Toni assist New York Food Stylist, Claudia Ficca during a three day photo shoot and publicity campaign in Rome for MARTINI. Photographers for the campaign were Guy Aroch & Anna Palma.
This year Toni also contributed seven recipes to Maria Pasquale’s book ‘I Heart Rome’. (Smith Street Books 31 ottobre 2017). She tested various recipes for Maria’s book and assisted in the food styling for her recipes.
Toni has two children, Annabella born in 2000 and Joseph born in 2004.