We must be invisible actors

Vanessa Melis of Pascucci al Porticciolo: the dining room service must be present without appearing

Vanessa Melis of Pascucci al Porticciolo also cont

Vanessa Melis of Pascucci al Porticciolo also contributed to our debate on the dining room

My passion for the dining room certainly dates back to my childhood, when one could already notice, so my parents say, an inclination to take care of the table on every occasion the family met. I would take care of the mise en place, starting from the tablecloth, strictly linen, the choice of plates, glasses, cutlery and, to finish, the selection of flowers that would give the guests a sense of pleasure and well being. Since I was a child I was always stimulated by traditional aromas and flavours, thanks to my grandmothers who were very good cooks. Laura, originally from Rome, was good at cooking fish; Dora was instead excellent with fresh pasta, also thanks to her origins from the Marche. Such lovely memories, flavours, emotions!

Vanessa Melis with Gianfranco Pascucci

Vanessa Melis with Gianfranco Pascucci

During my career, after finishing my studies, during the summer I would help a friend of mine who had a cafeteria in Fiumicino, where I grew up. I would take care of the dining room, the work was fast, based on large numbers but I certainly made sure the guests would leave happily and most of all, they would return! Already at the time I could see myself in my future dining room, where I would create a professional system through which I could express myself in the best possible way. I guess my humanistic studies contributed to my training and developed my sensitivity; I’ve always felt pleasure in speaking with new people, trying to understand who I really had in front of me, interpreting the human side. In the restaurant, you can sense all this, it’s a real school of life.

In the Nineties, during an unplanned holiday in Pugnochiuso, in Gargano, I met Gianfranco, a crazy windsurfer with a strong passion for cooking. From that moment on our story began, and with it a professional journey full of sacrifices, passions. With one wish above all: to create a restaurant that would belong to us and represent us.

Working in the dining room requires preparation and competence but most of all strong sensitivity; I always say that every table has its story and therefore needs an interpretation. You need to understand the needs, the tastes and you should even anticipate the requests of the guests. Working in the dining room we have a mission of taking care of our guests, enhancing the human touch without ever neglecting attention to detail, comfort, hospitality. The starting point is often a simple smile.

A smile, indeed! This is and must be the business card destined to every client who chose to be our guest and try to find at Pascucci al Porticciolo lots of serenity, truth, as if it were a small haven. I’m strongly convinced that the dining room is a real stage, a theatre where every day you get on stage interpreting and telling your story, your experience and most of all the value of a territory we represent through our food.

The theatre begins in front of an audience, our clients; the dining room, a real school of emotions and feelings must feed unique and captivating experiences, through skilled actors. I believe the presentation and explanation of the various courses has a crucial role in the management of the dining room and anticipates the flavours to the client, amplifying the technique and elegance.

Every day we have a reason to grow, to change; we must face the art of the dining room service, or at least our way of interpreting it, with a careful and continuous research, knowing a good service is based on being capable of not showing yourself, of being present, yet invisible. We are actors with the task of not appearing.

Harmonising dining room and kitchen, by Salvatore Vicari and Carmelo Iozzia Rossi
A training ground for the dining room, in memory of Frank, by Giuseppe Palmieri
Mountain maître, byJgor Tessari
More than a restaurant manager, by Alberto Tasinato
Good dining room? Good restaurant, by Renata Fugazzi
The dining room is like a football match, by Roberto Adduono
Life, work, passion, values, by Mariella Caputo
With the eyes of a child, by Matteo Bernardi
The make-you-feel-good people, by Denis Bretta
Ten questions for the perfect dining room, by Enrico Camelio
The invisible restaurant, by Lisa Foletti
My rules for the dining room staff, by Donato Marzolla
Directing a dining room like this one, by Ruggero Penza
The importance of the real waiter, by Ramona Anello
The revolution starts from the dining room, by Ermes Cantera
United we make the dining room team, by Simone Dimitri
Let’s start again from the waiters, by Matteo Zappile​
Watchword: team, by Nicola Dell’Agnolo and Alberto Piras
My life, my dining room, by Mariella Organi
50 shades of a maître, by Nicola Ultimo

In sala

The public side of a restaurant seen by its protagonists: maître, restaurant managers, waiters


Vanessa Melis

Born in 1973, together with husband Gianfranco Pascucci she's the soul of Pascucci al Porticciolo in Fiumicino, where she runs the dining room and manages the staff

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