via S. Chiara, 1
70017 - Putignano (Bari)
+39 340 5101419
The first of three children, the only born at home to a seamstress and a farmer. It was the 26th December 1968, the home in Monopoli smelled of pettole and baby Jesus was just born but according to legend Angelo Sabatelli’s first cry was already upset. At six he starts to work in a butcher’s shop, filling clients’ bags and walking them home. «I did all sorts of jobs – he says – I’ve been painter, a repairman,a bricklayer. I picked olives when the cold burnt hands and feet. I’m not ashamed. I know what hunger means».
By chance or instinct, he enrolled in a school where they teach you to cook: catering school in Castellana, at the time a refuge for the idle. School in the morning and work in the afternoon. A sort of muscular training in the kitchen without real masters except one: pastry chef Mino Allegrini. «I spent a few years with him. I worked as much as three people, I was as curious as a cat, I’d ask plenty of questions and never avoided confrontation».
The rest is more or less known. A few more stops around Apulia and then Rome. He’s called at Convivio Troiani where he spends 3 years having great fun (cook-style, that is). Seven months working and here comes the first star. But he’s still restless. As soon as the chance arrives, he packs and leaves. The destination is known: Jakarta-Hong Kong-Shanghai-Mauritius. Twelve years during which he learns the language as well as the emotional vocabulary of oriental spices and aromas. His sans papier status forces him to leave again. The tarantula is still biting and in 2007 he returns home. In just a few years’ time Masseria Spina becomes the solitary stronghold where he can finally tell a completely different story. He’s devoted to traditional cuisine, but in his own way. Take Orecchiette al ragù+30: 30 hours of overcooking and a fondue of caciocavallo PDO to finish. The future is served in a seemingly familiar food. An indisputable tradition, of course, but concentrated and enhanced to the highest level. The star arrives in 2013.
Among the latest masterpieces in contamination born at Masseria Spina there’s the Incapriata with broad beans and chicory, lightly toasted bread, hot oyster and katsuobushi, scales of dry tuna move with the heat like open, living elytron. In that dish there’s an impressive summary: memories of the broad beans and chicory recuperated the following day by his mother with stale bread, in the days of hunger, the journey to the other side of the world, the luxury of oysters and the oneiric talent of the most avantgarde chef in Apulia.
Who’s of course leaving one more time. Destination Via Santa Chiara 1 in Putignano. The new story of Angelo Sabatelli starts from here once again.
A journalist by profession, curious by vocation, she applies her attitude to investigative reports and food features. She's author for Repubblica, Gambero Rosso, Dispensa
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