Francesco Panella: Open letter to restaurateurs at the time of Covid-19 – Italian Cuisine

Guest at EPCC, Francesco Panella tells Alessandro Cattelan about the future of catering and sends a message of positivity to colleagues, heart in hand.

Francis Panella he is not only a successful restaurateur who conquered the United States with Italian cuisine, he is above all a visionary. So he defined it Alessandro Cattelan, on the occasion of his participation in the TV program EPCC – And then there is Cattelan on Sky. Live from the Milan studios, Francesco Panella brought his testimony on the restaurant situation at the time of Covid-19, which turned out to be a true declaration of love.

Friends of … table

Alessandro Cattelan has known Francesco Panella last year when he went to New York to record the special episode with Jimmy Fallon, one of the most famous American anchormans. To celebrate the milestone, Cattelan and the crew chose Francesco's restaurant and a good friendship was born from there. Cattelan could not have chosen anyone better than the known face of Little Big Italy to feel the pulse of the restaurant world from one side of the ocean to the other.

Raised in the historic Antica Pesa restaurant since 1922 in Rome owned by his family for four generations, in 2012 Francesco Panella set out to conquer New York by opening Antica Pesa Brooklyn and then Feroce in Manhattan in 2017. In his restaurants made in the U.S.A., resumes the Italian culinary tradition that in Rome carries on the brother chef Simone Panella with creativity and dedication. The American success of Francesco Panella and his restaurants is confirmed by the large clientele, which has VIP names of the caliber of Leonardo Dicaprio, Quentin Tarantino or Charlize Theron, for an endless list of Italian and international stars (take a look at the Gallery!). A further confirmation took place live during the EPCC broadcast when Cattelan and Panella connected live with the actor Andy Garcia, passionate about his carbonara strictly without cream.

Panella and the lockdown

Francesco Panella he lives in New York, but managed to return to Italy in time before the lockdown. Incurable optimist, the Roman gentleman has transformed the unpleasant situation into an opportunity to spend more time with the family and to help others. If on the one hand he became a "professor" for young Food & Beverage students, on the other he collaborated with the Italian chefs of theItalian Chefs Association New York creating una onlus Italians Feed America which served to prepare one hundred thousand meals for people in need in coronavirus emergency. As communication director of AICNY, Panella thanked his friends chefs connected live as a virtual audience for the wonderful collaboration, all superstars of Italian cuisine in the Big Apple, from Rocco DiSpirito to Ciro Iovine or Fabrizio Facchini until Barbara Pollastrini, just to name a few.

The future of catering at the time of covid-19

Between a joke and a laugh, Cattelan has dealt with Francesco Panella the future of catering, in serious difficulty due to the pandemic. It is time to put an end to the invention and work in a way that was not imagined before, suggests the conductor. "Now there is the emergency that needs to be addressed as such. I think the two fundamental things in this period are communication and the focus on security. If once the benchmark of a restaurant was the name, a dish, an ingredient, now the polar star to follow is definitely safety ", said Francesco Panella confidently.

Between social distancing, masks, gloves, and all the (very right) precautions of the case, it is difficult to combine security with the pleasure of being at the table together, says Cattelan. With his proverbial positivity, Francesco Panella he replies smiling: “There was a bit of confusion in my opinion, but luckily we have fantastic engineers, very good teachers, creatives, designers, who have given us solutions that are beautiful, innovative and also very technological! ".

Hear about it Francesco Panella about the future of catering is reassuring: “Many things will change in catering. Fortunately, architects, designers, etc … have done a lot of crazy things, for example on conservation. We will have a hot fridge that will keep the dishes at temperature and will be served in two minutes because they were previously cooked and made safe in the hot refrigerator ". Another innovation due to the ban on paper menus concerns the technology closest to us, smartphones: "The menus will be directly on the mobile phone thanks to the QR code that goes beyond the order with the waiter and the tablet, it is you who interact directly with the kitchen by sending the order. " There is no shortage of curious news such as special copper pots, antibacterial material, which will also act as a dish and allow the chef to bring the dish directly to the table by recreating theexperience direct. The importance of the experience will also be redesigned as regards the ritual of the cocktail at the counter before sitting at the table for dinner: “When we enter, it will no longer be possible to stand at the counter to enjoy the cocktail before dinner, it will be a direct experience one on one at a safe distance from the table. "

Open letter to caterers at the time of covid-19

Upon conclusion of the participation in EPCC, Francesco Panella he put on his glasses to read what his message is for the restaurant and his actors, all together to make it a film with a happy ending.

"A love story" by Francesco Panella

Work is not a job if it is not done with passion. How many times have we heard this phrase? So many. How many is it really like? Few. I am among them.

Being a restaurateur is more than a passion for me, it is life. I was actually born in a restaurant and from that moment it has always been my home.

The noise of the kitchen in full service, the screams of the chef, the waiters who move to the rhythm of the courses, the voices of the diners, the laughter, the tears … you will think "what a mess!", A mess that, to my ears , it is better than rock'n'roll.

But catering is also renunciation: it means not having schedules, it means taking risks… because a dish does not have a second chance and if you are wrong, you have failed; it means questioning yourself every day, making miles and miles to find the perfect ingredient … is giving up parties, family …

In short … You are there day after day, between the kitchen, the hall, the customers and in the end you don't know what time it is and how long you have been there. You work while others celebrate, you concentrate while others relax your nerves, you don't drink while others enjoy a good glass of wine … Yet there is something that keeps you there, nailed, that makes you get up every morning with one big awareness: that with your dishes you can make people happy. Yes, people. How important are they? For me they count more than anything else and I try to please them by doing the simplest thing in the world, by feeding them.

For this I will continue to do what I do and I know it will be hard, that we will want to throw in the towel and give up, but I want to tell you one thing dear colleagues: even if the covid-19 has bent us and many of us have failed to reopen, we must remember that what we do is important. We make people forget problems and make them feel what they really are: special. We take care of them … that's why we can't give up.

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