Giordana learned to cook at her mother knee in the north of Italy. In 1996 she bought a round trip plane ticket to Mexico, planning to spend a pleasant few weeks’ vacation. But once she saw a small slice of Mexico, she wanted to see more. Giordana tore up her return ticket and spent the next two years traveling around Mexico and Guatemala.
In 1998, she settled down in San Cristobal de las Casas, in the state of Chiapas. This picturesque mountain town gets a lot of tourism, and she opened her own restaurant, serving homemade Italian food that she as familiar with.
San Cristobal is at altitude. The climate can be cold and wet. Even in the summer months it’s common to see your breath in the clear morning air. When her infant son developed asthma, the doctor suggested that her son would do better in a warmer climate. So, in 2004 she packed up and relocated to Huatulco.
She opened a small eatery with only three tables but Giordana is an excellent cook, has a vivacious personality and she works hard. Over time, she had expanded this to a sixty-seat establishment. Rigoletto’s became so popular that both locals and visitors lined up out the door every night.
As her son was growing up, Giordana wanted to spend more time with him. She sold Rigoletto’s in 2010 and opened a small deli with takeout pasta, sauce, cheeses and salami. But people kept wanting to eat it there. One table morphed into three, and as seating spilled onto the sidewalk, she relocated again to a larger space. With eight tabled, Giordana’s Restaurant is almost always full of patrons, both Mexican and expats..
Part of Giordanas success is that she works long hours. She is usually in the kitchen each morning from Tuesday to Saturday, preparing for lunch and dinner and she may not leave until late that night. But she always makes time to come out of the kitchen and greet patrons with a warm hug. Her gregarious personality is infectious, and she has the ability to remember people by name who return from one year to the next.
When she arrived in Huatulco two things surprised her. “Normally there are Italians are all over the country, but none had found Huatulco. “. Of course, that has changed and there are now at least forty of her countrymen in residence. The peacefulness was also something she had not expected. “Not just the quiet, although it is, but it feels so safe, everyone leaves their doors open and no one comes in -WOW!”
She says that as a small town it lacks some of the sophistication of a more cosmopolitan center and sometimes it can be a challenge to get the products needed to supply her restaurant, but she has never had any problem running her business in Huatulco.
Giordana likes the friendliness of the people. “In this small town, everyone seems to know everyone else. I call the municipal President and he says ‘Oh yes Giordana, with the restaurant’. I like that”.
Her advise to anyone planning to live here is that if you have a serious medical problem, getting treatment is difficult and you should have a plan in advance.