Episode 8: Matt Absalom in conversation with Stefano de Pieri
In the next part of our Community Conversations series, lecturer in Italian Studies Matt Absalom is joined by restaurateur, chef and Faculty of Arts alum Stefano de Pieri. The pair chat about their shared-Italian roots, Stefano's adopted home – Mildura and their passion for food and politics.
Stefano was born in Treviso, near Venice and migrated to Australia in 1974. He quickly became involved in community causes in Australia and studied a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Melbourne, with majors in Politics and Italian Studies. Since 1991, he has lived and worked in Mildura where he runs successful restaurant, Stefano's and continues to be heavily involved within the Mildura community.
Matt Absalom is a university teacher and researcher, professional linguist, Italian language coach, translator and published author. A regular visitor to Italy over the last 30 years, he has carried out research, led study tours, and negotiated in-country study opportunities for his students. Matt is a passionate advocate for languages.
About Stefano de Pieri
Stefano de Pieri was born in Treviso, near Venice. He migrated to Australia in 1974. Stefano attended Sydney Road Community School in Brunswick and went on to the University of Melbourne. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Politics and Italian Studies.
Stefano became actively involved in many community causes from the moment he came to Australia. He edited an Italian fortnightly newspaper called “Nuovo Paese” through which he came into contact with many political and cultural identities. He dabbled with food – always his passion – in the early eighties, training for a little while in a professional environment, but finally chose a job in the Victorian Public Service. He became a private secretary to Minister Peter Spyker and then an advisor to a number of Ethnic Affairs Ministers. He married Donata Carrazza in 1991 and settled in Mildura at the same time. Together they have two children, Domenico and Claudia.
He was impressed with local produce and wine – but was frustrated by the lack of recognition of the district. He begun imagining a book that would include his food memories from his native Veneto and the produce of Mildura. The book took the title of ‘A Gondola on the Murray’ after it was accepted by the ABC. It was then turned into the television series of the same name.
Stefano’s Restaurant became the recipient of many prestigious awards and continues to attract the support of many patrons. Stefano and Donata continue a family tradition in hospitality with the hope of providing variety and interest for residents and the many visitors who come to Mildura.
About Matt Absalom
Matt Absalom is a university teacher and researcher, professional linguist, Italian language coach, translator and published author. His current appointment is in the Italian Studies program at the University of Melbourne.
He holds qualifications in music, education, languages and linguistics, and his research interests cover Italian linguistics, computer assisted language learning, languages education and a variety of related issues in applied linguistics
A regular visitor to Italy over the last 30 years, he has carried out research, led study tours including the Federal Government's Endeavour Language Teacher Fellowship to Italy, and negotiated in-country study opportunities for his students.
Matt is a passionate advocate for languages and has published opinions in the national media.
In the past he has filled roles in the executive of the Australian Federation of Modern Language Teachers Associations, including President and Editor.
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