via Calestano, 14
It's a case of the kitchen running in the blood, one may say. The kitchen is indeed the distinctive trait, the decisive element that has guided and still governs the life of Roberto Pongolini. It is so important that he has called the new place, opened in 2011, La Cucina di Roberto, Roberto's kitchen. This restaurant is in Felino, in Parma's province, just like the Cantinetta which he gave up together with the recognitions received with it in 19 years of hard work, marked by an indomitable passion, like the Michelin star and the title of best fish restaurant in Parma and its province.
Born in 1960, Pongolini loves to say his birth took place in the kitchen: «Since I was a child, my parents have always taught me to taste everything, so my palate is trained for the most disparate tastes». The loss of his mother when he was only 13 years old, the distance from his father, away on business, and the necessity to make shift to mantain his sister as well, were the catalysts for his early entrance in the gastronomic world: first the seasonal work in the hotels of Salsomaggiore and Cortina, later a job in a delicatessen shop until, in 1992, he founded the Cantinetta and with it he found a new way, very creative and original for the people of Parma, of interpreting fish, bringing out its substance, making its taste more precious, without betraying its essence.
His positive personality and enthusiasm are the fundamental ingredients which have led the passage, in 2011, to a kitchen closer to products and tastes of his territory without becoming banal or waiving personality. Even pizza, a passion since 1990, finds a peculiar dimension. A couple of nights per week, using a dough based on the careful selection of flours, mother yeast and a patient leavening of 40 hours, gourmet pizzas peep in, crisp and friable, with intriguing fillings which do not avoid anomalous incursions of local salami such as salame Felino. The experience gained, a hymn to panta rei, is an example of the spirit of Pongolini and of the motto to which he's remained faithful: «You never stop learning».
Author of Gli anni d'oro della cucina parmigiana, published by Accademia Italiana della Cucina, she contributes to “Gusto”, the food page of Gazzetta di Parma
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