Rick Monsipapa with The Hungry Italian slicing homemade pastrami inside his kitchen.

Riverview resident Rick Monsipapa always had a passion for cooking. This love became instilled in him when he began cooking at 8 years old in the kitchen with his mother. Without any culinary training, Monsipapa figured out how to utilize spices and other ingredients to create tasteful dishes, which led to the birth of The Hungry Italian.

Monsipapa grew up in a household where food was a focal point. For several years he pondered the idea of The Hungry Italian, and this year he launched his dream, a Facebook page with live cooking displays and much more.

The name behind The Hungry Italian came about from his mother, a first-generation Hungarian, and father, a first-generation Italian.

Monsipapa shares his input on what individuals should know in regards to The Hungry Italian.

“Getting the opportunity to consume great food with friends and family, along with being an inspiration to people all while having fun, is what The Hungry Italian is all about,” Monsipapa said.

So far he has made quite a variety of dishes, such as lump crab bisque, paella and so much more.

Monsipapa recently developed a product line consisting of a spice mix and Arabica coffee. A 2-ounce bottle of spice mix costs $5.95 and the 8-ounce Arabica coffee is $7.95. This does not include pricing for shipping.

In the future, Monsipapa would like to offer educational programs for youth and teach them the basics of cooking through the creation of videos and other culinary classes. A cookbook will be coming out, called Foodie Made Easy, and a member subscription website will also be available soon.

Monsipapa found his passion. He hopes that others will be able to do the same.

“The Hungry Italian does not just make Italian food, but also anything easy and fresh,” Monsipapa said.

For more information, visit Facebook at www.facebook.com/RickTheHungryItalian, call 210-2695 or email rickthehungryitalian@yahoo.com.