foto di Douglas Gayeton
via delle Macchie, 1
Usigliano di Lari (Pi)
Some say give me Paolo Parisi's eggs, or give me nothing… Some say you can put all your eggs in your basket, as long as they're Paolo Parisi's… Since this funny cow-boy from Maremma has conquered the basics of gastronomy par excellence, that is the humble gametes of the hen, his name echoes like a magic spell in the menus of Italian restaurants.
It's hard not to consider him a dreamer, when you look back at his story: his father, a Sicilian gourmet, so strict that he was generally misunderstood; the many coats changed, the latest being that of the sales rep, until he opened, together with his wife Fabrizia, a natural oasis, an agriturismo farm in Usigliano di Lari. This is Le Macchie, the right place to give way, in symbiosis with the animal world which has always been at the centre of his passions, with paths sided by cypresses and hedges full of flowers, chlorophyll and steaming footprints of pigs, sheep and cows. All this had a restaurant at its heart, where products converged with the magical touch of chef Fabrizia, and sometimes under the fingertips of the farmer and breeder Paolo.
These were no common animals. For example, here were the first Cinta Senese pigs, recovered from an old local farmer and left to grow free on the farm. The cured meat started to travel while the new invention developed. Because in the meantime, Paolo had a new, more radical, revolution in mind, namely a new egg: a quality resulting from the selection of the breed (the Leghorn hen), a deluxe nutrition (the milk of the goats living in the farm) and, above all, the most important “ingredient” at Le Macchie: freedom.
The rest is history, held in the porcelain of this decade. That of a genius who, ab ovo, from the eggs, using the mind of a reserved, restless and industrious chef, reached the ovens. Because this is the latest challenge of Paolo, (temporarily?) converted into fountain attendant and bricoleur: creating restaurant ovens that use embers and have strategic closets, like a closed room in a thriller. At least until the next revolution.
Umbra di Perugia con residenza a Bologna, è giornalista e scrittrice di cucina. Tra i numeri volumi tradotti e curati, spicca "6, autoritratto della Cucina Italiana d’Avanguardia" per Cucina & Vini
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Massimo Bottura (third from the right) with some interns and staff members at Osteria Francescana in Modena. Left to right, Yaman Yesikaya, Melissa Bossou, Gabriele Currò, Cecilia Cabral, Elena Sofia Schiassi, Matteo Zonarelli (sous chef), Elifnur Ocak, Federico Fulceri, Salvatore Gianninò, Clement Gaudin (half-hidden) and Doina Paulescu (pastry chef) (photo Zanatta)
Alain Ducasse, 62. At Identità Milano on Sunday 24th March we’ll pay a tribute to him (photo ducasse-paris.com)
Corrado Assenza with the American troupe of "Chef's Table", last June. Their visit resulted in a 45-minute film, available on Netflix as of today