Bellisima Eats: An Alternative Meal Option

Despite the number of restaurants in the Village of Hamilton, with so many local restaurants closed on Sundays, finding food on Sunday can be a challenge. Senior Bella Giammalva is making it much easier to find a delicious meal Sunday evening through her cooking company, Bellissima Eats.

Giammalva started her cooking company for two reasons: her love for cooking and a desire to bring the warmth of home-cooked meals to Colgate.

“I love to cook and [I] missed cooking for my family while at school last year. With the harsh [COVID-19] rules I was not able to see my family often and I missed sharing and creating meals for them,” Giammalva said, continuing that she wanted “to bring students comforting, delicious, wholesome meals that [she] missed so much.”

Giammalva’s cooking journey, however, did not start at Colgate, but has instead been a passion of hers since before Colgate, when she would help her mom cook meals for her family. As her mother’s sous-chef, she started with the basics. It wasn’t until the COVID-19 pandemic that Giammalva began to get adventurous with recipes.

“[COVID-19] hit and I felt bored and tired of the same meals my family would eat. I started looking on food magazines and websites — Food52, NYT cooking and Bon Appétit, my favorites — and started creating my own meals from their inspiration. I continue to find my inspiration from these websites and most of my meals are based on seeing a recipe or ingredient I liked and making it my own.”

Prior to starting her company, Giammalva began to post her meals on an Instagram page, called @bellissima_eats. She started

the page as a cooking diary where she posted her meals and recipes created by herself for her family of five. Since its establishment, Giammalva’s Instagram page has grown into a successful website and business in the Colgate community. She now takes orders, cooks and delivers meals to Colgate students on Sunday evenings, when most restaurants are closed in Hamilton. Giammalva has grown her business through Colgate’s TIA program. She shared that TIA has made her want to be more involved in the Colgate and Hamilton community since living in a small town like Hamilton often makes dining options limited.

Giammalva’s cooking and preparation process is extensive: she spends nearly a week preparing in order to provide fresh and quality meals.

When asked to explain her preparation process, Giammalva admitted that preparation for Sunday begins six days earlier on Monday, when she asks her followers on Instagram, “What foods they miss the most or what they wish they could get at Colgate.”

With this information, Giammalva then crafts a menu, which goes live online on Tuesday. On Friday, she and her partner, Dennis Kennedy, take a trip to Costco in Syracuse and Price Chopper in Hamilton to shop for ingredients. Prep work begins on Friday, “I make all the salad dressing and sauces that I will need for the meal on Friday. I put all the sauces and salad dressing into mini containers, so it is one less thing I have to worry about on Sunday.” When Sunday arrives, Bella begins cooking at 8 a.m. and strives to have all meals finished, packaged and ready for delivery by 5:30 p.m.

Giammalva varies the meal every week. A few weeks ago, the meal included grilled chicken, lemon rice, feta, tomato and cucumber salad, homemade pita chips, homemade tzatziki and hummus. Another Sunday, Giammalva served pan-seared chicken breasts with chipotle sauce, guacamole, salsa, peppers and onions, spiced corn and chopped romaine. The variation in the meals keeps her customers excited and very satisfied.

As customers of a Bellisima Eats meals share, they are incredibly impressed with the quality of the meal and also really appreciated the convenience of delivery. Via her Instagram stories, where customers share their thoughts, they admit that everything tastes incredibly fresh and the flavors are gourmet. Based on the photos, the portions are also very generous.

In terms of the future, Giammalva aspires to continue cooking. Joining the TIA program has encouraged Bella to think about the future of Bellissima Eats following graduation in the spring. Giammalva is looking forward to going to Culinary School following Colgate so she can continue to learn more and grow her cooking skills. In terms of Bellisima Eats, Giammalva has hopes of continuing it post-Colgate.

“If all works out, I am considering continuing my Sunday night meal delivery service in New York City.”