The first Italian shop of the famous pastry chef and beloved television face opens in Lucca: here are all the news in preview
Is called Damiano Carrara Atelier, to underline its preciousness, the first Italian shop of the famous pastry chef and beloved TV personality that opens in Lucca on 2nd October. "It seemed strange to me, after a whole career abroad, not to have my own place here. I chose my Lucca to breathe the air of my Tuscany, of my origins, to give a new look to even lesser known places in my city ". A return to the homeland considered during the lockdown. The protagonist of Bake Off Italy – Sweets in the oven And Cake Star has in fact decided to make a return to origins in a big way, after the three stores Carrara's in California. Like? With a new space that we at "La Cucina Italiana" will show you with a small preview: an open laboratory with an impressive display case and a menu dedicated to seasonal desserts. Inside, a staff of 8 people. "There are young people, but also those with a long experience behind them: age doesn't matter to me, today these stakes no longer make sense", the chef points out.
Inside the pastry-atelier
But what will this delightful laboratory look like? «We punctured the shop, Damiano jokes, «to allow us to show you all our secrets: each processing phase can be followed live. The thought that guided me is to offer a menu of seasonal desserts: 8 cakes that change monthly for example, 20 different types of pralines that change with the seasons and their ingredients . A gem? "The cake that I called" The garden of my house "with a combination of fruit and vegetables inspired by the products of the moment: it is no coincidence that I collaborate with an" ancient "stall in the historic center: it has just brought me some wonderful wild blueberries". Therefore precious raw materials, but also a lot of technique. "We will undertake complicated preparations that take a long time, in short: we will amaze you."
The basic concept is first of all "freshness, Comments the chef who left Lucca for Ireland at the age of 19 and became famous, with his brother, in the United States. "Enough with the sweets that we have to remove from the fridge hours before: everything will be expressed here."
His inspiration, he explains, is a contemporary pastry shop, where research is more "about removing, than adding: less sugar, less fat, more goodness and a sense of lightness". Space for research, yes, but also for tradition. Among the desserts offered there is the reinterpretation of a typical local cake, namely the cake with beaks, so called because the pastry is stapled with the hands to give the shape of a beak. "I used a chard meringue to make them", the chef revealed, "and I stuffed everything with a cream of rice cooked in milk: it will be more complex than the original, but it will recall its essence". Great attention is also paid to inclusiveness: "I felt the need to propose an ideal pastry open to everyone, with ad hoc recipes, all naturally gluten-free and some lactose-free. In fact, the entire production includes raw materials designed also for those suffering from intolerance to rice flour, rice or corn starch, and others. I don't want the difference to be felt, I want everyone to enjoy only the pleasure of a good dessert . The result is baked cakes, fresh cakes, single portions, pralines, dragees and a line of spreads (hazelnut, pistachio, almond), chocolate bars (70% dark, Papua New Guinea Milk 204 or White 111), jams and marmalades ( apricots, lime and vanilla, fig jam, peach jam snacks and pink pepper, lemon and turmeric jam). And if you want a little gadget, there are also aprons for young and old, for sale.
Damiano's intent is also to offer "a total immersive experience in the world of pastry, through a path that stimulates the 5 senses obviously starting from taste, to discover all the confectionery proposals made with fresh products, almost all at Km zero and of the highest quality, passing through the sense of smell, through a specially created fragrance with vanilla extracts, which will take customers on an imaginary olfactory journey that goes from Madagascar to the mountains rich in berries. Let's not forget the touch, stimulated through special packaging; sight and hearing with one ad hoc playlist".
Damiano Carrara: his beginnings as a bartender and American success
Born in 1985, he started as bartender before moving to Ireland for a year. In 2008 he settled in California, on the outskirts of Los Angeles, where, after a few years of work behind the counter together with his brother Massimiliano, he opens the first Carrara Pastries pastry shop in Moorpark (CA). Shortly thereafter, a second not far away is added, in Agoura Hills (in 2020 the third pastry shop also opens in Pasadena and today the brand bears the name Carrara's).
Success comes in 2015 when he participates as a contestant in the first season of the talent show Spring Baking Championship, broadcast on the US channel Food Network, ranking second. And then he continues with his career as a cooking show competitor in 2016. He then arrives as a finalist in season 12 of Food Network Star. He later becomes a judge of the second season of Halloween Baking Championship and the new season of Spring Baking Championship.
In 2017 he was recalled to Italy and became a judge of Bake Off Italia – Sweets in the oven and its spin-offs alongside Benedetta Parodi, Ernst Knam and Clelia d’Onofrio on the Real Time television network. From 2018 he leads the program, again on Real Time and alongside Katia Follesa Cake Star – Confectioners in challenge. The following year he is the protagonist of Recipes of a dreamer, where he enjoys cooking even savory recipes, while in 2020 he leads Out of Menu, joined in the last season by Gino D’Acampo. In 2021, he conceives and leads the format Tarabaralla – As long as there is sweet there is hope.
The pastry chef is also an author: for Italy he published the autobiography in 2018 In life everything is possible (Harper Collins Italy) and in 2020 A little sweeter – I travel to my patisserie (Cairo Editore), his first recipe book in Italian. He is also currently working on a new pastry book, which is coming soon.
Where and when
Atelier Damiano Carrara opens to the public on 2 October in via Matteo Civitali 559 in Lucca.