«At the age of 12 I cleaned the tables in my cousin's pizzeria. Then I started working in the restaurants of my area, the Crotonese, until I found myself back from the Abbruzzino, 8 years ago. Luca was still in the room, father Antonio put me in front of a crossroads: making food or cooking ".
Emanuele Strigaro, born in 1988 by S. Nicola of Alto, arbëresh origins, that lesson never forgot it and decided to cook. Well. He is now part of the Cooking Soon, the group of young Calabrian chefs who are changing the face of regional cuisine. Today he is one of the least experienced and structured of the team, but he is driven by a strong desire to grow "and then we are like a big family. When it happens to me that I think I can't do it, when adversity happens to me - and it happened to me - and I found myself crying alone, at one in the morning, colleagues and friends like Antonio (Biafora) and Caterina (Ceraudo) me they have always helped ».
He worked in Paris with Vittorio Beltramelli, a student of Marchesi, then in Greece in Thessaloniki, in Tuscany on Mount Amiata, until he returned to Crotone, first with Novezerodue, his debut as a first cook, and now - since last June - at Palazzo Foti , four stars in front of the sea. He does it with commitment and profit, Mother Patrizia gives him a hand in the kitchen while Francesco Turrà manages the room and the cellar well, with the help of Gianluigi, Emanuele's brother, only 16 years old.
The kitchen of Strigaro is in some ways still unripe, but it is based on the correct assumptions: great respect for the raw material, chosen among the local excellences with careful selection; good command of techniques, with perfect cooking; ability to achieve the goal of taste. You can work on balances and complexities, but meanwhile dishes like raw red prawn with candied tomato, watermelon, mint and edible flowers or Fusilloni di Gragnano with rocket pesto and anchovies work well. Delicious is the Triglia in its scales, ricotta mousse and cauliflower cream (the mullet scales are dried and fried, the cauliflower is cooked in ricotta whey). Question: what’s your dream ? «Open a place of my own in Capo Colonna; I would like a tiny spot overlooking the sea ».
Credit: Manuela Laiacona