Tag: story

Beppe Palmieri, the best maître in the world, tells his story – Italian Cuisine

Interview with the master and sommelier of the Franciscan Osteria in Modena. That reveals the honors and burdens of a room master. Between rigor, passatelli and zero alcohol. In 25 career years

"This is the historic office of me and Massimo, it has existed for about 15 years. A space only ours .

I'm with Giuseppe Palmieri, called Beppe, restaurant manager, maître historian and sommelier of the Franciscan Osteria in Modena, in his "secret refuge" a stone's throw from the restaurant, a place full of contemporary art, a long wooden table, like those of the famous Franciscan Refectors of the Food for Soul project, for their meetings and a wardrobe room where he, very elegant, changes every day before the service. Called "the most famous waiter in the world", Palmieri is practically a legend in the sector. But he mocks "I consciously chose the role of wingman years ago", but without victimization, indeed "the real revolution takes place in the dining room. It is here that the economic success and ideas of a chef are decreed. What makes the difference? The human factor . We at La Cucina Italiana spent a day with the staff of Massimo Bottura's restaurant, (the service in the July issue, co-directed with the chef) twice better in the world according to the ranking World’s 50 Best Restaurant, also meeting him, since 2000 at the service in via Stella, in Modena, in the room taken 5 years earlier by Bottura. Born in Matera in 1975, a strong and determined character, he has a blog with the evocative name Glocal, a manifesto of his vision of food and catering, a book «Room and Kitchen (Artioli 1899, pp. 169, 35 euros), logbook of his experience in Osteria Francescana. Entrepreneur, he managed for 7 years a grocery store selling high quality sandwiches, in Modena, the legendary Geni Alimentari Da Panino, which after the lockdown decided to close but only to look at new adventures and «keep up with the times .

How do you manage a hall from the first in the world?
«It has always been natural for us to look at the collective, there are no groups: for this reason, from the oldest to the youngest we have always placed and related on the same level. I built it immediately: to function, our structure could not be vertical but horizontal, making us equally responsible ".

What does a good waiter stand out from?
«I love to repeat that waiters are made, not born, experience, work ethic are required. Then the leadership and talent actually emerge on their own. A leader is recognized for his sense of responsibility towards his colleagues. I find the term "collaborators" detestable. If you invest in an authentic way on a relationship of esteem and friendship between colleagues in a strong way, great respect is born, there are no subordinates .

Explain yourself better
«If you have a dream, you need others to make it happen: everyone must give something, with the same commitment, with the utmost pride. Then of course, it takes self-discipline and an exceptional psychophysical condition that allows you to go beyond your limits. We must be well, be happy with what we do. If the individual is not aligned, it compromises the work of the whole .

It is said that even if Hell is in the kitchen, Heaven must reign in the dining room. How do you find time to recharge and how do you manage to always transmit harmony, even in your busy days?
"There is a very important moment for me and it is when I come to my" bedroom ", as I call it, right in this studio. Here I change and pick up my clothes. I have a ritual that particularly relaxes me: I rinse my face, always rest the keys on the same place, brush my teeth, choose the dress, polish the shoes, tie my tie. In all, I don't spend more than 10 minutes .

Very short as relaxation.
"It's the spirit of the room, you can't stop."

It is always very elegant: is shape also substance?
«I think so, given my role. Even in what I wear, I want to give importance to my past, and therefore to things that are of a certain age. Let me give you an example: a shirt or a jacket even if they wear out, I am certainly not to be archived: first of all because they remind me of experiences and those lived moments give value. Then because a quality garment, the older it gets, the more beautiful it is. Imperfections give charm .

Is there a dish that you associate with many meals eaten with the staff of the Osteria Francescana? Maybe a holiday recipe?

«I think what I loved most here was the passatelli in broth. When we grant them, and occasions are really rare, that dish takes on the connotations of a kind of comfort. It represents us more than others because it is a great historical recipe from Emilia. Then it has a symbolic value: it is the recovery dish par excellence, although prepared with noble ingredients. Broth is a luxury: to make it good, you need excellent raw materials and a long time. Finally, there is a world in the dough for passatelli: the bread crumbs and another main ingredient for us of the Francescana, or the crusts of Parmigiano Reggiano. Finally, to prepare them you need the contribution of an entire community because you have to collect many ingredients. Usually it works like this: there are those who remember that there are two bags of leftover bread or a little grated Parmesan. Then in 2 or 3 the broth is prepared. It is one of the dishes of our collective in which I have not seen anyone reject the encore. Then, every time there is a comic aspect … ".

«Yes: the moment you use passatelli, the rough path from the pot to the chair begins. We see broths falling, people sliding. We laugh. This too is part of the party, of the magic .

In the Franciscan hall, there are incredible works of contemporary art: what do they represent for you?
"Those who make avant-garde re-discuss the classics: here, these works are the proof, the summa. On the other hand, I like to think that we have always lived in rigor. "

In fact, his motto is "low profile, very high performance". It has a military feel to it.
"Exact. From an artistic point of view there is a work that represents me and that I find at the same time a milestone. It has been exhibited for several years right here in Franciscan: Us Navy Seals by Vanessa Beecroft. For the first time a woman managed to photograph these deployed US Navy soldiers. It means breaking a bulwark. The same approach that guides the creation of our dishes .

You are a great sommelier: how does the staff toast?
"It does not do it. In our history of the Franciscan, in 25 years, we have never drunk a glass of wine. We love what we do so much that we couldn't do otherwise. The luxury of a good glass of wine, whether it is a Nebbiolo, a Sangiovese, a Lambrusco or a glass of Bordeaux, we grant it when we are not operating. The secret for those who do our job is concentration in the intensity of the effort. Always".

The story of a rice machine: Igiea Adami – Italian Cuisine

The story of a rice machine: Igiea Adami

From a degree in History to the love of agriculture, Igiea Adami tells and tells her own rice

We had a chat with Igiea Adami, mind of Goods of Busonengo, his Risicola company.
Rice in Busonengo is an old story, a story that begins in the mid-1500s.
An ancient and profound love, that of Igiea, after graduation decided that she had to follow her instincts and return to the earth. The company and the ancient village are located between two important rivers in the Vercelli area, the Cervo and the Elvo.
Busonengo Rice of Beni is 100% Carnaroli.

Can you tell us who is Igiea Adami?

My name is Igiea, an ancient and somewhat original name. Igiea was a nymph in ancient Greece, dedicated to health and medicine, and was the name of my Sicilian great-grandmother.
I was born and raised in Turin, I studied history at university and history is a passion that follows me in all that what I see and what I do. I always think of the stories of men I know, of the things I see and the places I visit; mine is a kind of professional deformation.

Why did you decide to grow rice? Is it a family tradition?

Despite having undertaken humanistic studies, I always thought that when I grew up I would be a farmer and take care of a large rice paddy, a somewhat mysterious and little-known place that my family owned in the Vercelli area.
It has been rented for years, then for a certain period no one has taken care of it, except my aunt, she was in charge of the paperwork and relations with the tenants.
Finally in 2009, Busonengo – a small hamlet of Villarboit, in the province of Vercelli – became “ours” again and out of nothing (that is, from very few knowledge of the subject) we began to take care of her.
It was love immediately. Busonengo exudes history from every brick. Here you could write the history of Italy walking in the small village, there are traces of peasant history (starting from the XII century, the era to which the first buildings date back), of water passages, people, shepherds, transhumances, of faith and there are three small churches.
In the eighteenth century Busonengo was a fief of the Falletti of Barolo; in the nineteenth century Giulia and Tancredi di Barolo made it their social and agricultural experiment.
Then there are traces of an inglorious fascist passage, traces of peasant protests (on the walls you can read writings such as Viva Togliatti and Abbasso De Gasperi) and the dormitories of mondine are a real treasure trove of history and intangible culture.
In short, Busonengo is the my place.
And this is only a small part, the most pleasant part, of what our real job is: growing rice.
It all starts with the chance meeting with Matteo, a young farmer from Olcenengo, a small neighboring town, who immediately helped us in this venture. I was attending a course of History and Institutions of the Arab World at the University with his wife and meeting with him and Matteo, who is now the cornerstone of Busonengo, was the classic example of serendipity.
Together with Matteo, we designed our way of growing rice, his experience and our vision of environmentally friendly agriculture.
We studied and created Terreamano, the hand-transplanted rice with zero weeds.
An ambitious rice cultivation project with the old transplanting technique, now abandoned and replaced by machinery and pesticides.
In short, our dream for Busonengo is to revive it, find new stimuli and people who can live in it, maybe open a small restaurant (once there were two inns). The ideas are many and we hope sooner or later to realize them all.

After this pandemic (which we hope will be at the end of its days) we have awakened from a numbness, from a somewhat cataloged life, made of serial and unhealthy habits. For many there has been a return to nature, to different priorities. For you, who live and work in direct contact with nature, what do you think will happen in the coming years? Will we be able to get out of this state of global frenzy to return to a simpler way of life or is it an irreversible process?

During the pandemic I believed that everything would change in everyone's habits, I believed that this imprisonment had taught us to slow down, not to stuff our lives with a thousand activities, perhaps useless, certainly redundant, but I fear that the period was "short"? Now it seems that we are all slowly returning to the frenzy of before.
For our family, the boys are 12 and 13 years old, it was the first time we really lived the countryside in such a total way: it's paradoxical! For the first time we made the vegetable garden starting from the seeds, for the first time we really and deeply witnessed the birth of spring, for the first time the boys spent the whole day cycling and outdoors. In contact with animals, to observe the hatching of the eggs in the nests.
Many signs of imprisonment, however, will remain fixed in our society: one of these is a desire for nature: and then the baking.
In short, a small thorn is wedged and pushes; there has been more attention to the products, people have probably learned to select them, to do research, if they have them sent home. Online commerce has increased exponentially.
We have created a site for the sale of rice and met with some success. It can be done.

The story of Luigi Fassio and Amaro Mentha – Italian Cuisine

The story of Luigi Fassio and Amaro Mentha

Can a liqueur born in the early twentieth century rise again and have a whole new life in 2020? The answer is yes. Thanks to the brilliant idea of ​​Monica Buzio, great-granddaughter of a liquorist and bar manager in Turin in the years from 1910 to 1957

The liquorist in question is Luigi Fassio, passionate about herbs and macerations.
Among the great-grandfather's old memorabilia, Monica also found some notebooks, two old notebooks from 1911 full of original liqueur recipes he created.
From one of these recipes was bornBitter Mentha.

The notebooks

The great-grandfather of Monica Buzio he was a very active person: in 1905 he opened his first bar in San Salvario and after some time he graduated as a liquorist. In 1910 he inaugurated his second bar in Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, next to Palazzo Rossi di Montelera. Lover of billiards, under the bar he creates a large billiard room which, apparently, was the largest billiard room in Italy.
With the liquorist diploma, Fassio could finally produce his liqueurs to be offered to the Turin clientele and every idea and thought was noted in those two famous recipe books.

This is how Monica found herself studying and getting passionate about those notebooks, the 110 recipes including liqueurs, vermouth, rosoli, creams, elixirs of long life. There is even a very rare Coca Elixir, which for 50 liters of product included 500 coca leaves in maceration. An unthinkable recipe for our times.
The alcohol level of the liqueurs, the doses and the percentages of product were very high and it is surprising how they survived by drinking these preparations.

The great grandfather continued to open premises and then sell them when they started to perform well. His fun, his passion, was to design, build, start the business and then sell it once it became profitable. In all the premises he opened in Turin, Luigi Fassio had a personal distillery at his disposal, where he prepared the liqueurs and created recipes.

Monica's story

Two years ago, after studying her great-grandfather's notebooks and recipes for some time, Monica feels that she must follow up on that precious work. So, after careful research, he decides to contact Fulvio Piccinino, one of the top vermouth and liqueur experts in Italy.
Piccinino directs her to Chieri, to the Vermouth Il Reale factory, which still works in an artisanal way. The Aromiere del Reale guarantees that the original recipe and its quality will be maintained during the production of the amaro.

The Amaro Mentha

After some tests and tests to calibrate the product, in 2019 it was born Bitter Mentha.
The high quality of the product, its craftsmanship, prompted Monica not to entrust the sale of the Amaro Mentha to a distributor, but to deal with it personally.
Momentarily abandoning the shoes of the translator, her main activity, Monica Buzio dresses those of the commercial manager of the Amaro Mentha and begins to propose it in the most famous clubs in Turin. And so, not without some difficulty and distrust, Amaro Mentha is now on the menu at the Ristorante del Cambio, in some historic Turin shops such as Latteria Bera and Damarco wine shop and grocery store, in three starred restaurants in Liguria.
At the moment 1000 bottles are produced, but the goal is to reach at least double this year.
A beautiful and positive story of female entrepreneurship, a story that deserves to be told. Monica has revealed to us that there are other fabulous recipes in her thoughts, her homage to a brilliant and unique man who was her great grandfather.

Amaro Mentha 1911 is obtained from alcohol of agricultural origin with the addition of caramel, natural flavors and infusion of different botanicals. In addition to the mint of Piedmontese origin, it is infused with other spices and aromatic herbs, such as, among the most important, aloe, angostura, bitter orange, sweet orange, cinchona, coriander quass, mace and gentian.

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