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Coralie "Ghini" Satta

Coralie "Ghini" Satta is chef/owner of Ghini's French Café at 1803 E .Prince Road. She opened her restaurant when she was 21 years old learning hands on, saying her "journey was fraught with mistakes but has been very memorable and pretty amazing." After 22 years, she is still very hands on at the café, getting on the line from time to time, but mostly spending time interacting with customers and back in the office. Besides ensuring that her restaurant is pumping out quality French food to Tucson, Coralie keeps herself ever so busy in the community as well. She teaches for Junior Achievement, teaching kids how to handle finances and create businesses, created a culinary department for the Boys and Girls Club teaching underprivileged and usually gravely neglected kids how to cook (and fend) for themselves, joined the board for the Tucson Originals as vice president and marketing director, fosters up to seven dogs and a cat, as well as any other charitable works that her schedule will allow, all the while raising her daughter whom she describes as "the light in my every day." Chef Ghini is currently creating a new lunch menu and new dinner menu (which changes seasonally).

What was the first dish you had that changed your perspective on food?

My grandmother's ratatouille ... It took her many hours to make, I helped her peel and chop and always helped to taste and serve. She is the inspiration for my love of the culinary arts. I equated cooking with creating and serving love to my family and friends, something I still feel every time I cook.

What are you eating these days?

I tend to eat mostly veggies and fish. Sushi I could eat at every sitting! And let's not forget my father's bread ...

What was the first dish you remember cooking?

I'm going to have to guess my grandmother's ratatouille, I have memories being around 2 years old with my feet in my grandmother's sink in France peeling vegetables and helping to wash them. I've been making meals with her since then.

What concept, ingredient or food trend does everyone seem to love, but you just can't stomach?

Kale! It's so thick and difficult to chew raw. I can eat it cooked just fine. I probably would like it more if there wasn't so much hype about it. It's not that hype-worthy in my opinion.

What chef, with us or passed on, would you most like to cook or eat dinner with?

Gordon Ramsay would be a hoot! Our personalities are similar and we would either really get along or there could be some bloodshed. Julia Child would also be amazing to be with; I love her life story and passion.

What city, other than Tucson, is your favorite place to eat?

My homeland of course! The south of France has [banned] GMOs and the ingredients are just out of this world! If you haven't been, it is a MUST!!! Imagine tasting a peach from the local grocer or food stand and it tastes as if you grew it from your own tree. Everything tastes like that! The seafood, oh my! The seafood from the Mediterranean Sea is just incredible! The sea is heavily iodized and the flavor is like no other. I can't really explain it any better than just saying it tastes like the freshest ocean with every bite. I can really go on and on. The bread, pastry, wine, weather, ocean, the people ... I'm getting homesick.

Speaking in junk food terms, what is your favorite guilty pleasure?

French fries, French fries, French fries!!!

Top three Tucson restaurants?

Do I really have to answer this one? I like far more than three!

With a figurative electric chair in your immediate future, what is your last meal?

As sad as I am to say this and only because I feel badly for the goose, but pan seared, mid rare foie gras with a beautiful drunken cherry demi glacé and some curly endive with toast points, followed by an ounce of beluga caviar (if you can find it) with a delicious bottle of Krug grand cuvée. For the entrée, my father's baguettes, a big bowl of my grandmother's ratatouille, and a beautiful serving of fresh caught dorade on the grill. For dessert, one of my father's mille-feuille. I think I would absolutely pop, and quite possibly get gout if the electric chair didn't zap me. But what a wonderful happy ending to my life.

More by C.J. Hamm

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