Philip Guardione, Operator and Head Chef of Piccola Cucina grew up in a loved ones that cooked, a whole lot. Like so numerous Italians, specifically southern Italians, Sundays were being religion to consume and prepare dinner collectively. “My grandmother would appear and give all the young children small careers to support prepare the food – in section to not get in difficulty,” claims Guardione.
His Aunt and Grandmother would squabble heading back again and forth in the kitchen area over who produced the most effective parmigiana di melanzane or sauce. “They would battle in excess of who would make the greater sauce. Or the most effective lasagna, there was this rivalry every single Sunday, a sweet competitors. And so I grew up surrounded by this.” He even now doesn’t say who created the best sauce, to retain diplomacy.
“I consider it was these instances together, looking at them prepare dinner, tasting what they produced, becoming part of that practical experience, that influenced me to turn into a chef myself,” he says.
At an early age, Guardione, was cooking skillfully, his father had pushed him and his brothers to go abroad doing work in the leading gourmet kitchens throughout Europe, “by the time I was in New York Town in 2007, I had presently labored in Switzerland, Paris, Milano the two as a particular chef but also as the head chef in massive motels and eating places. So I arrived in New York with a portfolio.”
Guardione was only supposed to appear to New York Metropolis for a stop by, “but the vitality and vitality of the people bewitched me.” He stayed and a rare opportunity presented alone to open a cafe with a partnership in New York, he later acquired out the lover, and Piccola Cucina was born.
But the preliminary ideations of Piccola were being not the homey model it is now synonymous for. “When I first began with the restaurant, I assumed to commence with additional gourmand delicacies. Although in fact, we were viewing clientele desired a little something else. So I changed our menu, getting inspiration from what I grew up having at residence. I was influenced by the food items that my grandmother would make,” suggests Guardione.
When he went back again to his roots and honored the flavors of his grandmother’s kitchen, the flavors of Sicily, his enterprise grew. “That was when everything modified and that is definitely what introduced our results – from these regular easy dishes that have a contemporary contact. Today persons want a lighter edition of caponata for occasion.”
Making use of humble components and most importantly, the elements native to Sicily, like sardines, squid ink, swordfish, plum tomato permit the taste of the dishes to sing. The menu is purely Sicilian, and no unique than the little dining establishments in the streets of Catania with appetizers like grilled calamari with avocado and pane carasau or spaghetti with sea urchins ( all the pasta is designed in property) the menu isn’t fussy or overly challenging – just like nonna applied to make.
“I’m insane about the ibicenco shrimp, it is a smaller pink shrimp and because of our spot in Ibiza we were ready to connect our distributor there with our distributor right here in New York and we were being amongst the initial if not the very first cafe to have this solution in the town.” this product or service lends for a delicate dish.
The goal grew to become targeted on constantly trying to keep the meals uncomplicated, elevating the finest products, and sparking a sensory memory transporting who eats the dishes house, to Sicily.
“In New York, there are so many Italians and Italian-People, and when they try to eat some of our items, it triggers an emotion. I have had consumers who get psychological when having an arancino! Since they recall their origins, recollections.”
Guardione is innately Sicilian, he describes how his foods distributors are all the exact same since when they started the restaurant, “Out of respect we have to concentrate on the merchandise, the price doesn’t issue. Our food items proportion charges are really high but I alternatively make less funds but a terrific item somewhat than make additional funds straight away with a mediocre solution.”
“Restoration need to final about time. We have to mature yearly, and we can only do this with great goods. We import most of our items.”
Piccola Cucina has 5 lively spots, 3 in Manhattan, 1 in Ibiza, and a pop-up in Montana. Guardione states he has strategies to open up a sixth locale, a sort of Italian avenue food items offer.