In 2012 I traveled to the States. It was a mind-opening experience that changed my way of cooking. Upon my return I let myself be led by the lightness with which Americans consider food. In Italy we tend to be more dogmatic and overly concerned about playing with traditions. Through technique, creativity and a pinch of madness, I believe that we can give food an ounce of freshness without denigrating tradition.
One of the dishes that I started serving for fun, but which has turned out to be a signature dish of mine, is the “Pappa Donut”: a neutral donut batter, neither sweet nor savory, filled with pappa al pomodoro (one of Tuscany’s most famous soups) covered with grated parmesan and desiccated tomato.
The “Pappa Donut” is a real hybrid of American and Italian cultures. A simple donut contains all the flavor of the States with its rich food and street food culture combined with a taste of Tuscany and its past, back when a bit of bread and tomato fed an entire family.
Over the years I’ve tried to perfect the recipe and to work on the fillings: comfort food for Italians yet also interesting for those unaware of local traditions. So far I’ve invented eight versions, including ribollita, lampredotto with salsa verde, and even tiramisu.
One of my short-term dreams is to open a little street food place that’s both fast and casual, where, alongside these donuts, other flavorful, original and reinvented street foods can be served, influenced by different cultures and parts of the world.
In the fall I’ll be focusing on Essenziale, my new project that will branch off into lots of food-related things, including “Pappa Donuts”, which in the meantime have already become a registered trademark, ready to be launched, sooner or later, on to the market. Stay tuned!