January 2023 3' of reading time
CONVERSATIONS BY THE SEA
Was your love for cooking born inside the walls of your childhood home?
Yes: I’ve always loved to eat, so much so that when I was little I used to steal food from the pot! I was hungry – I was the eighth of nine children in a family in Apulia – but above all, I wanted to be the first to taste the dishes. It wasn’t long before my father made me the official taster, a role that was normally reserved for the head of the family. He always recognized and encouraged that side of me.
You seem to have discovered the secret of eternal youth...
Ah, my secret! Do what you love most and you’ll never get old. I’ve been working since I was twelve, yet every day I wake up with the same enthusiasm as the first day. Giorgio Armani is my idol: at his age, he still oversees every aspect of his businesses. His real talent lies in the essential quality of his designs. That’s what really gets me: my cuisine speaks to simplicity, and essentiality is the most difficult thing to achieve, whether in fashion or in the kitchen.
What was your first important dish?
What does the sea mean to you?
What’s your idea of a perfect moment in Paraggi?
Paccheri with mussels and tomatoes. When I was just starting out as a cook, in Bari, everyone used long pasta for this dish, like spaghetti, but I wanted to take a chance, so I used paccheri macaroni, so compact and round, and it was a great success. Even today, in tribute to my Mediterranean roots, I find that the combination of pasta, tomatoes and extra virgin olive oil achieves absolute perfection.
I was born by the sea and I’ve worked with seafood my whole life. I have deep respect for its gifts and I try to impress the same attitude on the young people I work with. If we treat the sea with care, it will continue to give us marvelous things. One way to accomplish this is to support the small-scale fishermen, who follow strict rules in their work. At Langosteria, we guarantee respect for the sea and for our land; our fishermen play a key role in this.
Imagine the sun setting on this little bay, caressed by a sea breeze that flaps the edges of the green and white striped beach umbrellas, the evening serenade of the cicadas... All you need is an oyster, a pinch of caviar and a quick sip of Champagne... You’ve got to seize the moment: a single second can contain all eternity.