Saturday, January 16, 2016


Wonderful STARA friends!

Here's the spring schedule! Classes recommence on Tuesday February 16. 
Please either email on or send me a message in the STARAfood Beijing wechat group. I will NOT acknowledge emails or wechat messages to my personal email, text or wechat NOR the east meets west wechat group Phone calls are ok though to 186 1112 1184.
As always: first come - first served. See you soon in the kitchen!

Sara and Marisol

Class schedule Spring 2016

Tuesday February 16
Wednesday February 17

Never ever will we sacrifice the taste – not even when we need to cut the calories.
With some scientifically proved detoxing ingredients we will create a meal that still keeps in mind your New Years resolution…

Chicken soup for the soul
Tuesday February 23
Wednesday February 24

Those bitingly cold Gobi desert winds may still chill us down but what warms us up better than a nice bowl of chicken soup?! Obviously accompanied by nice trimmings and a fabulous dessert!

Après ski
Tuesday March 1
Wednesday March 2

Though it’s warming up outside we can still spend the day on the slopes. And after a day swishing down Nanshan overlooking the beautiful Chinese Alps we need a hearty meal to replenish those spent calories.

International Women’s Day
Tuesday March 8
Wednesday March 9

The theme for IWD 2016 is Pledge for Parity (not Party).

Celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women. Yet let's also be aware progress towards gender parity has actually slowed in many places around the world so urgent concrete action is needed to accelerate gender parity.” (

But hey; let’s have a party and celebrate the awesomeness of being of woman!

Irish cocktails
Tuesday March 15
Wednesday March16

I guess it’s time to bring out the Jameson once again and figure out ways to make delicate canapés from cabbage! To celebrate Saint Patrick who brought Christianity to Ireland (and for driving snakes out) we will make a fabulous green cocktail party

Bikini line
Tuesday March 22
Wednesday March 23

Spring break is coming up and summer is just around the corner! Time again to cut the calories without sacrificing the taste and style. A delicate menu filled with flavor, but on the lighter side.

Rub it on
Tuesday April 12
Wednesday April 13

Spring has sprung and it’s the perfect weather for a bbq.
We’ll cook up finger lickin’ good rubs and glazes and throw it all on the open fire.

There’s something fishy going on
Tuesday April 19
Wednesday April 20

Wish you want – fish you will get! Despite living in the desert there is an abundance of fish to be found – you just have to go looking for it. And by looking we do not mean in Roma lake or Shunyi river. Let’s stick to Sanyuanli and Momo’s shall we?

Mood swings
Tuesday April 26
Wednesday April 27

Staying or going? Summer plans up in the air?
These can be stressful days, weeks and months before decisions have been made, tickets have been bought and farewells have been schedule. To battle it all we will do what we do best – eat and drink fabulously and enjoy it while lasts.

Cinco de Mayo
Tuesday May 3
Wednesday May 4

For the third year in a row we will cook up a Mexican fiesta to celebrate Mexico’s independence from France. You thought we had made it all? Nope, you are wrong chica; with a real latina in the house you are in for a surprise!

Picnic in the park
Tuesday May 10
Wednesday May 11

Before the heat hits us – let’s enjoy eating al fresco and hope the mosquitos do not attack us too much. There will be no sad sandwiches or dry jiaozi on this picnic! Did we mention that we never sacrifice style or taste? Nope, not even when we are eating in the park.

BBQ galore
Tuesday May 17
Wednesday May 18

Leaving party coming up? What is better than cooking up a barbecue with style? Keeps the guests outside and why not put them to help with the cooking as well? After having prepared everything – you can relax and enjoy the party.

Summer holiday – clean out the pantry
Tuesday May 24 OR
Wednesday May 25

Time to clean out the pantry! We will repeat the success of last year and have a master chef competition. Everyone is welcome and the proceeds of the class will go to charity.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Exciting new beginnings

Stacey has already arrived in Sydney; ready to take on her new life in Australia and I am writing this ready to start another long, hot day in Bangkok.
Though it is very real and she has already left, I am still in denial – I do not want to loose the day to day, easy and comfortable way of spending time with my best friend!

But, it is happening and though I am obviously very sad; I am also excited. Stacey will continue to be a part of the STARA team remotely from Sydney. Most likely will she be more successful in posting on both the blog and on Facebook not having to rely on VPN, and we can look forward to regular updates on her new life down under.

I am also very excited to finally announce that as from next season Marisol Razik will join the STARA team and that classes will be held in her kitchen in Yosemite B section. Details as well as class schedule will be sent out after the winter break.
Marisol has a comprehensive culinary background and is an innovative and accomplished cook and will bring new, exciting and innovated ideas to the STARA kitchen. She will not replace Stacey but will help me to bring STARA to a new level.

The spring season will resume on Tuesday 16 February and will with a few exceptions run on Tuesdays and Wednesdays as they have in the past.

To facilitate registration I have created a hotmail account: as well as a wechat group: STARAfood Beijing. Please find the QR code below. Scan it and join the group and the fun! The gmail address will remain in use but, given the circumstances here in China; hopefully these two ways of communication will make it easier for everyone.

If you cannot wait until February 16 to get back into the kitchen I will be back on January 11 and will be happy to hold private classes in the comfort of your own home. We can together agree on the theme and either pick and mix from old recipes or create new ones – it’s up to you! Simply gather a minimum of six friends and we can take it from there. Please contact me during the break and we can plan it.

With that, I want to wish you a very Merry Christmas a Happy New Year and a relaxing and rejuvenating Winter Break.

I am looking forward to seeing you all in the kitchen in 2016!


Monday, December 14, 2015

10 Tips for a Healthier Holiday

By Stella Chan Marinaro, Nutritionist

The holidays are a time for celebrating with family friends, but often come with a multitude of opportunities to overindulge. With balance, moderation and exercise you can enjoy all of the holiday cheer without expanding your waistline. Eat, exercise, enjoy, and follow these 10 tips for a happy and healthier holiday!
1. Snacking ahead
Arrive hungry to a party, and you will likely overeat. Eat a healthy snack beforehand and then go easy on the hors d’oeuvres.

2. Dressing the part
Wear something flattering and slightly snug. Your outfit will stop you from overdoing it.

3. Strategic placement and planning ahead
Limit yourself to just one small plate. Then walk away from the holiday spread. Be selective when many courses are offered. Consider skipping desert. You can be just as social sipping coffee.

4. Chew gum
Stop mindless eating. Pop a piece of sugarless gum into your mouth, so you won’t be tempted to eat more.

5. B.H.D
Bring a healthy dish to a party for you and others to enjoy instead of a bringing a bottle of wine.

6. Sweet temptations
Balance sugary sweets with healthy options such as fruit.

7. Limit alcohol
A glass of wine contains 120-150 calories, mixed drinks 150+, martinis around 150, beer up to 200, eggnog 225, and a cosmopolitan has as many as 285 calories! Alternate between alcoholic drinks and water to reduce your caloric intake.

8. On the go
Be social. Work your way around the room, mingling with the other guests, leaves you with less time for over eating and drinking.

9. Keep moving
Stay active. Why wait until the New Year to make a resolution to get fit? Schedule workouts with a fitness trainer or a friend for the day after each holiday party.

10. Be accountable
Keep a food and exercise journal. Record everything you eat. Be sure to include your workouts too. Seeing it all in print will make you more accountable for a healthier holiday season.

To make an appointment with Stella Chan Marinaro please call: +86 10 6462 9112

Suite 105 Wing 1 Kunsha Building
No 16 Xinyuanli Chaoyang District
Beijing 100027 P.R China

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Times Are a’Changin

The expat life is one of instability. We have talked about this before. When you live in a place like China, it is almost for certain that one day you will leave. Some people know exactly when it will happen and can prepare accordingly but for most of us it is sudden and while not unexpected, quite of a shock when we are actually faced with the reality of change.

After many months of speculations, we can finally announce that changes are about to happen to the STARA team.  At the end of this year, Stacey and her family will relocate to Sydney, Australia.  I am very happy for them, of course, and wish them all the luck, but am devastated since I will not only loose my business partner but also my best friend.

So, what does this mean for STARAfood?

Well, most important, we will not quit – that is of course not an option. Unfortunately the cooking classes cannot continue as before since we will loose the kitchen (I don’t think the new tenant at Yosemite C2194 will enjoy having me around) and my own kitchen is not appropriate for teaching. We are currently discussing where (let us know if you have any connections!) and at what capacity we can continue to teach but, until we have found a new spot, I will be available for private classes at your home and I will also hold them regularly at Clicias.

We will also continue to work with Liduska, baker extraordinaire from Lidu’s Sweets, and also with Cheryl, Style Maven, so together we are for sure moving STARAfood into 2016 and beyond.

We are also working on a book to tell our story of this amazing journey we have been on. A book of recipes, for sure, but also about our philosophy and approach to food, wine and entertaining.

Stacey might move to Sydney, but she will only be an email, text or plane ride away. Understandably she will be very busy with her relocation preparations in the upcoming months but never fear, our classes will go on as planned.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact either of us via email, facebook or wechat.