#070 – Alessandra Manias: How Saor Project is Bringing Italy to LA

  • July 10, 2018
Alessandra Manias of the SAOR Project

Alessandra Manias

Formerly an architect and marketing consultant in Italy, now a production designer and private chef in LA: today’s guest, Alessandra Manias, is just bursting at the seams with passion and creativity.

Alessandra started Saor Project with her husband, Gianluca Zago, to share the origin of ancient Italian culture, particularly northeastern Italian cuisine, with a wider audience. The real Italian traditions are based on a peasant culture and poor food, which is disappearing in the modern world. Through private dinners, forking awesome events, and a mouth-watering blog, Saor offers Italian dishes and traditions that are slowly disappearing and very important to preserve.

“The food has to be really good, the presentation has to be good – but everybody has to be happy!” –Alessandra Manias

We also discuss:

  • The lovely spritz we enjoy during our conversation (Prosecco, aperol, & sparkling water)
  • Creating SAOR Project with her husband, Gianluca
  • Seeking out food from the Northeast region of Italy
  • Delicious smoked cheeses
  • Differences between the cuisines in different regions of Italy
  • Alessandra Manias’ favorite spots to shop in LA
  • Making fresh bread & pasta
  • Once a month, Alessandra opens up her apartment for a lovely meal (sign up on MeetUp)
  • The geography of Italy
  • Why Alessandra and her husband are pursuing this passion project
  • The peasant culture behind Italian food

Alessandra’s Top Secret Crostata Recipe:


  • 2 cups of flour
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ~150g of Unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp of Italian yeast (Alessandra uses Paneangeli)
  • A little bit of vanilla extract OR a little bit of lemon zest


  • Mix everything
  • If it’s too dry, add a little bit of milk
  • Put in freezer for 10 minutes
  • Arrange dough in pan
  • Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees
  • If you want, you can serve with whipped cream on the side


Alessandra Manias’ Bio:

Alessandra Manias was an architect and consultant in Italy, and now she’s a production designer and private chef in Los Angeles. Alessandra is a creative person that expresses herself in many ways: design, art and food. She created SAOR Project with her husband Gianluca, a company about private chef service. Alessandra is the main chef, but she also collaborates with other chefs. 

She started to cook when she was 12 years old, taking recipes and secrets from her mother and grandmother.

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