From Bagnoli to Florida, the journey of a chef with a specific mission in mind.

Buongiorno amici:


Our new feature focuses on chefs and food artisans, who put an apron on daily, searching for the next palate to glamorize. We begin with Anna, a member of the esteemed APCI (Association of Professional Italian Chefs), based in Italy with worldwide chapters. I caught up with Anna this past week, and this is what she had to share.

Abruzzo Food + Wine Tour 2022

1) Tell the readers of Flavors + Knowledge about yourself and how/when you entered the trade.

I was born and raised in a nice neighborhood on the sea, named Bagnoli in Napoli. The fishing town also boasts the longest pier in Europe. I did start to work at a very young age in my father’s construction company, but only not to disappoint him because my real passion was the food industry. So to pursue my dream, I asked a local diner to let me watch them cooking to learn the basics, and that’s how everything started. So many talented chefs I was pleased to work with during my life in Napoli, and indeed I learned something from each of them. But my significant life changes happened in 2013 when a job offer brought my family and me here in Florida, so many differences, so many cultural changes that it took a while for me to accommodate myself in my new job dimension. But now I feel almost home.

2) What inspires you about food, and where do you seek inspiration.

I don’t see any difference between a chef and an artist. Both try to impress, surprise and delight the “customer. “But while looking at a piece of art, you have only used your eyes; the chef with his creation will let you use your three senses, looking, tasting, and smelling the food. And that’s is my biggest inspiration. Again, impress, surprise, delight.

3) In your view, what is a chef’s essentiality, role, and philosophy.

My opinion about the essence of a chef is straightforward: firstly, don’t forget your traditions and your legacy. Second, express yourself with no fears about your food creations’ criticism. Lastly, be dedicated and passionate about your job.

4) What are your favorite ingredient(s) and tool(s) in the kitchen.

Any tools related to working on seafood, and certainly making fresh pasta.

5) Where do you see yourself in five or ten years, your projects, and aspiration.

That’s is a good question, I don’t know. But, I hope that I will cook with the same inspirations and passion as 25 years ago. My “dream “ is to begin an Authentic Italian Food Academy, who knows… maybe with my daughter’s Sofia help since she has shown the same dedication and curiosity about food, I had at her age.

Thank you, Anna, for your honest input. We wish you all the best in your future projects.

Note: If you reside in Florida or travel there, look up Fresco Cucina Italiana Restaurant on 7721 Turkey Lake Road, in Orlando. Chef Rosario Russo will delight your senses, and I am sure that your experience will be as honest as Anna’s views on her life. For recipes and additional info, contact the restaurant’s website.

{Images attribution via Anna Zuccarone}

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