vicolo del Cinque, 58
Empire state of mind. Or Vicolo del Cinque like 5th Avenue, Trastevere like the world. We don’t want to sound Ammerican, but distances and barriers, be they cultural or geographic, in life and in the kitchen, exist only in the minds of those who create them. Welcome to the “games without frontiers” of Cristina Bowerman from Cerignola, Foggia.
In 1992, having left Apulia with a degree in law, Cristina prepared crêpes and cappuccinos at Higher Ground, a coffee house in San Francisco and, in the meantime, continued her forensic studies. However, her culinary DNA emerged powerfully. And she seconded it. She moved to Austin in 1998 and was awarded another piece of paper in 2003. This time it was the right one: a degree in Culinary Arts. Military discipline and a perfect knowledge of the basics are rules that still guide here personal cooking manual. The Driskill Grill, five stars for wealthy gourmets, took her on. She personifies the fundamental imprinting – cleanliness and concentration of flavour – of the Keller school.
The following year, Cristina went to Rome. At Angelo Troiani’s Convivio she discovers what the quality of ingredients really means and in 2005 enters the door of Glass Hostaria, a new restaurant which goes with Trastevere in much the same way as polenta taragna goes with Syracuse: the (gastronomic) life of the district and the (sentimental) life of Fabio Spada, owner of the restaurant, were never to be the same again. The start was far from easy. Then people started coming in and her cooking came full circle: clear-cut but soft, provocative but sensibly so, recognisable, syncretic and very, very tasty. Then the consecration came too: a Michelin star and the American transfer of IG to New York. But Cristina, the “geeky chef” continued to study and to read, to teach and to experiment and to stay curious. «I don’t want to be static. I like to evolve without losing the fun and the creativity».
The Bowerman story is an antidote against clichés. You can live in the Roman quarter par excellence and speak exclusively in English to talk to the “brigade”. You can cook squid with bok choy and kombu seaweed, Parmesan ravioli and glazed sweetbreads on the same menu. Contemporary-fusion-local-traditional. You can understand the taste of the public with the “advice” of a young son and if he likes the lightness of the risotto with trawled fish stock, seafood and samphire... You can – in this Italy of 2011 – be a woman, mother, businesswoman and star-awarded chef. Not necessarily in that order.
Born in Rome, wine and food writer for Il Sole 24Ore, La Repubblica and L’Uomo Vogue. He's a lecturer at Iulm and Food Media for several American colleges. Twitter @fdecesareviola
Please fill in the fields below to search our Protagonists' database.
Alessandro Merlo and his wife Souadou Niang
The second edition of Féminas, the International Congress of Gastronomy, Women and Rural Milieu organised by Vocento Gastronomía and promoted – by the Principality of Asturias - “to showcase and support women connected with the world of cuisine, the rural milieu and actively working to promote sustainable practices”. Identità Golose took part: here is our report