Celia was raised in a large Italo-American family just a short train ride from New York City, where her life centered around cooking and sharing meals with family and friends. Most of her culinary inspiration comes from recipes inherited from her parents and grandparents. Living in Rome for a year, not only reinforced her love of Italian cuisine, but helped her discover her true calling: feeding people and sharing the "Italian love of life". After graduating from Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia she worked at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the International Center of Photography in NYC. Upon moving to Charleston South Carolina, she was on staff at the Gibbes Museum of Art as Curator of Collections.
During her years as a single mom, she turned to her love of cooking and started a private catering business. Her success eventually encouraged her to return to NYC where she graduated from the New York Restaurant School. After working as a chef in a New York hotel, she returned to Charleston in the mid 1980's and open Celia's Porta Via. For 15 years, this neighborhood Italian bistro was a favorite of locals and tourists alike.
The "Porta Via Years" coincided with Charleston's Renaissance as a premier tourist and culinary destination. During this time Celia introduced Charlestonians to the delights of homemade fresh mozzarella, creamy risotto, and Carnevale!
These were busy years as Celia served the community as President of the Charleston Concert Association, Vice President of the Greater Charleston Restaurant Association, and helped plan numerous fundraising events including Taste of the Nation, Share Our Strength. Celia was invited as a guest chef at the James Beard House in NYC, where she collaborated with her Mom, Tina Cerasoli (an incredible cook in her own right) who had been invited there years before to consult in preparing an authentic Sicilian Easter Dinner.
When Celia closed the restaurant in the Fall of 1999, she worked as the curator of a private art collection, and consulted on a number of fund raising projects and events.
She is now back in the kitchen, happily preparing her famous lasagne and other favorite foods for the people of Charleston and beyond!