Becoming a restaurateur

Patrizia Maraviglia began to work in the dining room following her love for good food

Patrizia Maraviglia from Timè in Milan, tel. +39.

Patrizia Maraviglia from Timè in Milan, tel. +39.02.29061051, tells us how, after following the advice of a friend, she followed her passion for restaurants, leaving a job as secretary to become a waitress. First at work in some cafes, then moving onto restaurants, until she opened a place of her own, together with Italo Manca

I’ve become a restaurateur because I love restaurants. I used to work as a secretary, it wasn’t bad, but I adored “eating out”. At the time, companies had more ease in spending money and with my colleagues from the sales department we always chose the best. I remember a restaurant in Via Marghera, Armando, which was famous because it served lots of early fruit and vegetables and the bill was very high, and another one in Corso Sempione, on the first floor, called Da Romano, very elegant elegant.

I made my entrance in this world when I began to help Pinuccia, a friend who had a restaurant in Via Bramante, called Bramantino. It was fun, the food was homely, I remember the Polenta with eggs and porcini, and the cook, Tina, was very talented and passionate about her work. In fact, she then worked in many homes in Milan. I wanted to go to England to work as a waitress but my friend Carla simply said “if you want to do this job, you don’t need to go abroad, you can do it in Milan as well”.

The dining room of Timè seen through a glass

The dining room of Timè seen through a glass

So this is what I did, starting at Libera, then at the great Banco, at Bandiere, and finally at Timè. Always under the protection of Italo Manca, a man who is known in Milan for his restaurants, his professionalism but also his innate elegance. During the great Eighties, together with Italo I visited the restaurants in which Italian “nouvelle cuisine” was then being born. There were many such restaurants, though many were improvised (today this is no longer the case, chefs are truly chefs and they often open with wealthy partners). The best and most serious one was Gualtiero Marchesi in Via Bonvesin della Riva, the Master of Italian Cuisine, a unique and still unsurpassed talent. However, he was too much ahead of his time and the people from Milan did not go there. Today his pupils are incredibly popular and the people in Milan love them...

The years at Libera and Banco were those of the so called «Milano da bere», we were working non-stop and our clients were always relaxed, they had fun and we had fun working: we all know how it ended! My first restaurant was Le Bandiere in Via Palermo, the food was inspired by North-Eastern Italy, trying to source the ingredients over there, such as carne salada [salted meat] in Trentino, prosciutto cotto affumicato [smoked, cooked prosciutto] and speck in Egna, prosciutto crudo in Sauris, smoked ricotta in Carnia, montasio cheese in Belluno, casatella in Treviso, and as for wine, there was plenty of choice while the beer was Moretti.

I used to have a partner who knew little about food but was a special woman and she helped me a lot with her savoir faire, from 1985 to 1999. As of 2000 I’m at Timè. Here the cuisine is based on tradition but then tries to offer some new pairings too, for instance with the Paccheri with cheese and Sarawak pepper with red prawns or Hake with nori pesto and Sicilian caponata: really delicious! I work with young chefs who enjoy testing new dishes, even using the new cooking techniques that have been revolutionising the restaurant scene for years now. It is stimulating and I must admit that the results are sometimes surprising.

Patrizia Maraviglia’s restaurant is enriched, every now and then, with exhibitions by various artists

Patrizia Maraviglia’s restaurant is enriched, every now and then, with exhibitions by various artists

The restaurant industry is changing and there are also the new means of communication and I must say it’s quite hard to keep up to date. To be honest, I must say I am not. I can say that I do what I wanted to do. My friend, however, was mistaken: it would have been better to go abroad and I regret not doing it. I’ve been working in this sector since 1982, I have learnt by working and making mistakes, perhaps I have missed the fact I didn’t attend a real catering school, but I made do with (I hope) a relaxed and pleasant service.

In any case, my restaurant is welcoming, the food we serve is just, we do not save on raw materials and I am rewarded by the quality of my clients, allowing me to meet interesting people. We’re in Brera and therefore we host art shows, thanks to which we renovate the restaurant’s decor and perhaps it allows the artists to sell too. However, there’s a lot of effort made, perhaps too much. I sometimes think: “wouldn’t it have been better just to eat out?".

See also
A quest for passion by Anneke Van Sande
Challenging oneself in Norway
 by Lucia Tellone
I want to make bread
by Roberta Pezzella
So young for everything
by Rosanna Marziale
Rigour and cheerfulness by Serenella Medone
The chef from Northern Naples by Marianna Vitale
In team with my mother
by Serena D'Alesio
Men, what a disaster
by Marzia Buzzanca
A total vocation
by Antonella Ricci
A full life
by Maria De La Paz
Mind and heart
by Marta Grassi
Effort with a smile
by Nadia Moscardi
Nothing is impossible by Emanuela Tommolini
The other side of the dish
by Elisa Arduini
Giving value to differences by Viviana Varese
Weaker sex? Not at all by Sara Preceruti
Double effort by Iside De Cesare
Dear Santa Claus by Ana Roš
I am a cook by Antonia Klugmann
Talent has nothing to do with gender by Aurora Mazzucchelli
It’s not easy but it’s not impossible either by Loretta Fanella
We’re not angels of the hearth by Cristina Bowerman

Female chef's life stories

Women who, for a moment, leave pots and pans to tell us their experience and point of view


Patrizia Maraviglia