Home Chef & Entrepreneur | Niagara Falls, ON
Born in Toronto to Italian immigrant parents, Rita Visca is a business owner, mother of three and grandmother of two who lives Niagara Falls, Ontario. Together with her husband, she has owned a medium-sized electrical contracting business since 1991 that employs over 50 people locally. She is an accomplished home chef who enjoys creating new recipes and cooking for her family and friends, and her precious grandchildren.
A lifelong foodie and student of global flavours, Rita loves to experiment. “My palate is quite extensive—I will literally try anything.”
Like many people, Rita began cooking at a young age but her passion caught fire in her 30s. “I would often be in the kitchen with my mother chopping, washing, stirring and tasting. Cooking for me was very much influenced by the culture I grew up in. My mother was recognized and branded as one of the best cooks in our family, including all our cousins, friends and relatives (and believe me, I have a lot of cousins). My children would always say that Nonna was first and I was second when it came to preparing amazing food. More recently my mother has stepped down from that role and has told me in her own words, “I think you have surpassed me, Rita”. To me that was like, “WOW—if my mom thinks that, then I must be alright!”
As a business owner herself, Rita understands how much local economies matter, and does what she can to walk the “shop local” talk. “I prefer to buy local. This is probably because I’m a business owner myself. I would rather do business with a local company than someone who is not local—it’s all about supporting one another.”
“I always try and buy Ontario pork when I’m shopping,” she says. “Pork is so versatile. I love making ribs. I often do a Southwestern dinner with Spicy Pork Side Ribs, smashed potatoes, corn and all the fixings.”
As generous with her expertise as her food, Rita also has some great tips for other home chefs, “Pork cutlets are another favourite, and a great alternative to veal. They are lean, mild, tender and so delicious. And, who doesn’t love a good pork shoulder? It has just the right amount of fat for braising. Crown pork roast done with rosemary and garlic and white wine is always a winner over beef, as far as I am concerned, for three reasons: it’s leaner, tastier and never dry! I also love using ground pork for meatballs or a blend of pork and ground chicken—do you have any idea how delicious this combination is? A super moist meatball is the result.”
While Rita’s enthusiasm is evident, she really lights up when the conversation turns to pork sausage. “We Italians do it right! We recently made sopressata, a dry Italian-style pork salami. We make it every year with another close family—everyone gets involved because everyone loves the results!”
Recipes from Rita
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