BBW MEMBER INTERVIEW: Francesca Montillo, Owner + Founder, Lazy Italian Culinary Adventures

What is your name?

Francesca Montillo

What is your occupation?

Owner + Founder

What is your business name?

How long have you been a Boston Business Women’s Member?

Less than a year

What is your instagram handle?

@lazyitalianculinaryadventures

What is your linked in URL?

Were you born and raised in Boston? If not, what brought you here?

I was born and raised in Italy. My family moved here when I was 11 years old. Like many immigrants, the hope for a better future brought us to the US. My mom was raised in Boston's North End, so for her, it wasn't much of a stretch to return to the US. I was 11 years old and adapted very quickly.

Tell us more about your job or company and what led you to your career?

I own Lazy Italian Culinary Adventures. Despite my love for living in Boston, I love traveling to Italy equally as much. I wanted to be my own boss doing something that included lots of travel back and forth to Italy, so I designed a small business that offers culinary tours there. I am also a cookbook author (2x published with Rockridge Press) and I offer Zoom cooking classes for the public, as well as team building events, or private virtual gatherings. Sadly, the trips are on hold due to COVID, but my cooking classes have seen a huge increase in attendance, so celebrating this new aspect of my business. Although I am looking forward to traveling again soon, as are my clients!

What would your clients say about you and your company?

I'm been blessed, many clients have said how much they love traveling to Italy with a native Italian, how comfortable I make them feel, and how my tours are different than large bus tours. We travel like family and build a great relationship during the course of the week. Due to COVID, I've had to take my cooking classes to Zoom, and many people have commented on how much they adore the classes, and it's giving them something to do with friends in a safe way.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

Sounds like a cliche' because it is, but do what you love. My mom always said that I had to start a business doing ``something with food`` because people love food and it's the one thing we all have in common, we all have to eat! She was right, my business, especially my cooking classes, is thriving, and I am doing something I love. My mom also advised to not worry so much about what people say, that too has served me well!

What is your favorite book?

Key to Yourself by Venice Bloodworth. It's an oldie but goodie.

What is your secret weapon? An app, a tool, a organization method, anything?! (Can be a personal or professional life tool)

I am not super teckie, I still keep track of things with an excel spreadsheet, saved on a flash drive, so that tells you how much I love apps and such! I do love simplicity as much as possible, and don't like to complicate anything, that's for how I run my business, as well as when it comes to my cooking philosophy. So I would say keeping things simply has worked for me.

What is your most recent WIN? How are you slaying it in your career or business?

A reported from Business Insider emailed me to be interviewed for a future article. It's always nice when reporters reach out to you instead of the other way around. I was also featured in a Forbes article recently, again, with the reporter reaching out to me. These are huge wins for small business.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Live life a bit more adventurously, take more chances, make the best of everything as much as possible without giving it too much thought.

How do you enjoy your free time?

I love spending time with my dog Trixie. She's a year and a half and brings so much joy to my life. She loves her walks, so she's gotten me out in the fresh air a lot, which is not something I would ever do if not for her. A walk in the winter, no thanks! But now with her, we bundle up and go. She also loves to go to Home Goods with me to shop for new housewares for my classes! LOL.

What is something that not many people know about you?

I graduated with a 4.0 GPA with a Masters degree in Healthcare Administration, but never talk about it because I don't feel it has anything to do with my current life. I feel like that was another person because it was never a field I had any passion for.

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