The faces of Teatro del Sale

Tom Fork, Sofie Delauw
October 7, 2010

By now, many have become familiar with the Cibrèo restaurants in Florence and their charismatic and talented founder, renowned chef Fabio Picchi and his wife, acclaimed actress Maria Cassi. On the surface, the Teatro may simply seem a unique eatery, open at all hours and offering a theatrical bonus après dinner. And a fine eatery it is: Teatro del Sale prides itself on a Tuscan-centered yet oft internationally inspired seasonal buffet that changes daily. You'll not be standing for seconds, but for thirds and fourths.

 

Teatro del Sale is not just about good food: it's also a theatre featuring a performance series more vast than any other in Italy, running 11 months out of the year, 5 days a week and spotlighting a varied cast of internationally acclaimed musicians and actors, including productions by the likes of Disney's Peter Schneider.

 

Except for pressing their own olives and crushing their own grapes, everything on the Teatro's menu is made in-house, from the jams and pastries at breakfast to the schiacciata at lunch and dinner. Those who have dined at and seen a performance at Teatro del Sale know, however, that this circolo cannot simply be described as a restaurant... anzi.

‘For those who live Teatro del Sale, from the card-carrying members to our very staff, this is more of a gathering place, a community centre,' explains Giulio Picchi, Fabio's son, who for six years has been busy working in the Teatro and other Cibrèo restaurants. Teatro del Sale is, indeed, a family affair. Giulio's brother, Duccio, a burgeoning chef, can often be found lending his talent in the kitchen, while his older sister, Giuditta, helps coordinate the Teatro's performance series, overseen by Maria Cassi. Anyone who works or has worked here over the years also becomes ‘family.'

 

Tucked away in via de' Macci, in Sant'Ambrogio, a buzzing international quarter of town-it is home to the Synagogue and a bustling immigrant population-Teatro del Sale is a world apart from everyday Florence, and for the chefs and employees, it is much more than a place of work. A rehabilitation centre of sorts for some, a place for comradery to others, the kitchen counts among the invaluable members of its staff some who are alternately able who have found company and purpose at the Teatro. They found harmony and a home here, and a place to nourish the spirits of those who surround them-members included.

 

For others, it is an island of integration in a city that is often described as ‘difficult' in this respect. The faces behind Teatro del Sale hail from Sri Lanka, Casa Blanca, the Philippines and the Caucuses, just to name a few. ‘The term "marginalized" makes no sense to us- we look beyond the Florentine reality and have so much to learn from our staff, not the other way around,' explains Giulio.

 

On the menu tonight? Go see - and taste - for yourself.

 

 

Teatro del Sale

via de Macci 111r / T 055/2001492

www.edizioniteatrodelsalecibreofirenze.it

 

Ordinary membership: 10 euro; foreigners and those aged over 65 and under 27: 5 euro.

 

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