1) In a recent interview I read that you do not call Da' Pescatore a restaurant. Yours is more of a “kitchen house”. How do you bring style and personality to a restaurant, apart from through the dishes it serves, of course? Good food, in terms of our “taste memory”, takes us back to our memories of home. Flavours, aromas, colours, times and temperatures together make up a range of sensations in each one of us, which recall our home. Home is thus a place of comfort, of wonders and certainties discovered and rediscovered. And each home has its own inviting style, its own brand and personality. Da’ Pescatore is a “kitchen house”. And that means fish in Oltrarno, shopping at the market, the taste of the sea in your mouth.
2) You come from Campania, but are Florentine by adoption. Tell us about your background, your career... Where did your passion for cooking and for Florence come from? From Naples to Florence… more precisely from Scampia to San Frediano, art forms lived amidst crooks and artisans. Food is tasted, eaten and spread by real down-to-earth people, capable of identifying with their own home cooking. I grew up with the unmistakable aroma of Neapolitan meat sauce and of clams. I’ve had a sensual, satisfying relationship with flavours since I was a child. I was lucky to build my career on solid foundations, from Quisisana in Capri to Michelin-starred restaurants between Naples and Piedmont, achieving a conceptual-gustative leap with chefs Ferran Adria’ and Gualtiero Marchesi. Florence captured me by night; I was literally immobilised, enraptured as I walked through these narrow streets that wind through the old city centre. I had never felt such a powerful energy. And it was no accident that in 1998 my first restaurant was called “L’Amorosa Visione” (vision of love); a vision that took me from Piazza delle Cure as far as Cenacolo del Pescatore in Borgo Ognissanti to then cross over the bridge, to Casa di Cucina Da’Pescatore.
3) Your "restaurant" serves seafood specialities. Can you tell us something more about Da’ Pescatore... its menus are “journeys", where does that idea come from? How can a dinner be a journey through taste? And how can you guide your clients’ taste? Casa di Cucina Da’ Pescatore represents a magical place in which I take refuge everyday with my team. A workshop with a homely feel, where the search for taste and perfect balance becomes a feature of daily life and where joy springs from enthusiasm. Here, we cook fish and here you will feel cradled in a world made of flavours beyond the sea.
4) I’m sure you have plenty of recipes to recommend... but perhaps, since Baccalà (salt cod) is to play a leading role at Fuori di Taste... you could tell us a recipe inspired by salt cod? I thought of this recipe: Paccheri Cacio e Pepe al Baccalà.
Ingredients for 4:
8 paccheri pasta tubes per person, 100 g of previously-soaked salt cod per person, 50 g of pecorino romano cheese shavings, 1 clove of garlic, with germ removed, one tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil per person, 10 g of peppercorns, 10 parsley leaves, Juice of half a lemon, Ground black pepper to taste;
Method: Bring to the boil 2 litres of water aromatised with the peppercorns, parsley leaves, garlic clove and lemon juice. Turn off the heat and immerge all of the salt cod at once. Exactly 5 minutes later, remove the cod from the water and flake by hand while still hot. Dress with oil and season if necessary with salt. Place the salt cod mixture in the bottom of the dish and arrange the paccheri tubes, cooked ‘al dente’, on top. Lastly, sprinkle with pecorino cheese and ground pepper.