Valentina Harris is a noted authority on Italian food and food culture. Descended from the Renaissance family Sforza, she is the youngest of a large Anglo-Italian family. She attained two diplomas for teaching and cooking at the Scuola di Alta Cucina Cordon Bleu School in Rome in 1976. From there, Valentina moved to London and established herself as an authentic Italian chef. In 1984 she published her first cookbook, which won an award for literature and gastronomy in Germany. Many other books followed, as well as a six-part BBC television series, Italian Regional Cookery, in 1990. The book of the series became a top-ten bestseller. Since then, Valentina has written and contributed to many other books. She regularly features on radio and television, writes for national newspapers and magazines, and acts as a consultant to supermarkets, food manufacturers, restaurants and hotels. She holds residential cooking courses in Sardinia, Sicily and Tuscany under the name 'Villa Valentina'.