"Francesco, Mangia" Thinking back on my childhood, those are two words that quickly come to mind. As far as I can remember, food has always been a big part of my life. I grew up in a small town in southern Italy. My home town of Spilinga is on the west coast of Calabria. It sits up on a hill 500 meters above sea level. To the east of Spilinga, there are never ending hills and farms, and to the west is the beautiful Mediterranean.
Needless to say, I grew up eating a wide range of foods-from pecorino cheese, fresh ricotta, different cuts of meat and all the fish and seafood you can imagine. Speaking of fresh ricotta-one of my fondest memories is of those early mornings when the Shepherd would come into town for his daily product sale. My mother would buy us his fresh ricotta which was still hot to the touch and so creamy that it was almost velvety. It is simply one of the best things that I have ever eaten.
When I cook, I try to recreate that feeling for my customers-I like to create a memorable experience. One bite of my special cauliflower ravioli may remind someone of a certain time in his or her life and therefore create a smile. The freshness of the cauliflower combined with the fresh ricotta cheese with a small hint of caramelized garlic and finished with the woodsy freshness of sage reminds me of being home in Spilinga. This is just a small example of the power of food.
Cooking authentic Italian food is a passion that I take very seriously. I use all of the influences that I have had in my life. My grandfather was an amazing chef, and of course, my mom, Giorgia, has been the biggest influence-Ristorante Giorgia is her namesake after all. I have been in the restaurant business for almost twenty years. At Ristorante Giorgia, we want all of our customers to experience an authentic Italian dinner, cooked with the freshest of ingredients. After all, isn't that what Italian food is all about?
Allora, mangia bene, vivi bene, e buon appetito.