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My Tucson: Coralie “Chef Ghini” Satta of Ghini’s French Caffe

Chef Ghini tells about her love for Tucson’s dining scene and favorite things to do around the city.

Coralie Satta’s childhood days and culinary teachings may have taken place in France, but her heart lies in Tucson’s local dining scene. The owner of Ghini’s French Caffe is also on the board of Tucson Originals, an alliance of local restaurant owners and purveyors. Her nickname “Chef Ghini” was given to her by her father, and it is no secret that family plays an important role in her life—both in her younger years and today with a daughter of her own. 

When did you first realize you wanted to be a chef?

When I was young I would cook for my friends and they would all tell me my cooking was delicious. To me it was just normal; I didn’t think much of it. In hindsight, I think those little moments had an impact on my decision to become a chef.

What has been your No. 1 favorite meal?

Eating ratatouille at my grandmother’s home in France as a child. Well, eating anything my grandmother made really.

Which ingredients could you not live without?

Tomatoes or garlic, both of which are prolific on our menu.  

Tomatoes and Garlic
(©Ian Brown/Flickr, Creative Commons)

What was one of the most important teachings by chef Piro of Marseille while you where learning the craft during your time in France?

He taught me discipline and appreciation of simplicity.

Your restaurant is pet-friendly; do you have any dogs in your own family?

I do have a part-time or traveling dog, if you will. As a divorced single mom, I have a dog when I have my daughter, as it is her dog.

What do you enjoy most about being on the board of Tucson Originals?

I love being alongside my fellow restaurateurs the most, and creating awareness in Tucson about the importance and benefits in supporting a local business.

How do you maintain a healthy and fit lifestyle?

As with everything in life, you can have your cake and eat it too, as long as you aren’t having your cake every day.

Eggs Provençal
Eggs Provençal at Ghini’s French Caffe (©David Fox)

If you could travel anywhere to explore and learn about the cuisine, where would you go?

Anywhere in Asia. I love Asian cuisine.

What is one thing most people would be surprised to learn about you?

That I am actually pretty shy.

What genre of music do you prefer to listen to when in the kitchen?

That entirely depends on my mood. If I am relaxing it will be some delicious jazz; if I need a boost it will be some tasty hip-hop as I dance my way around the house.

What would your perfect evening off of work include?

A delicious dinner at any of my local favorite restaurants with some good friends, followed by a cocktail on the patio and a friendly game of 51 Rummy (a game I grew up with).

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Chef Ghini’s Faves

When not at the cafe, Chef Ghini takes pleasure in Tucson’s outdoor beauty, lounging in local cinemas and road-tripping north and south, but most of all, spending time anywhere with her daughter. Some favorite spots include:

Mount Lemmon
Mount Lemmon is an escape from the city with its varied landscapes and numerous hiking trails. (©kanu101/Flickr, Creative Commons)