It said 6.30 to 9 pm and the idea of watching a famous young Italian chef, Deborah Corsi, cook at Hotel de Gallifet, one of Paris’ most beautiful private house on rue de Grenelle, was exciting enough. But what really happened that night went way beyond. I entered a fabulous stage, where preparing gnocchi’s became a feast as beautiful as « Babette‘s feast » and the evening ended at 11 pm after a gorgeous dinner and extensive Italian wine tasting.
This is all due to Marina Valensise’s initiative of flying over, once a month, the best young chefs in Italy. She has run the Italian Institute for two years and is so active that Parisian life cannot be without her. Deborah Corsi, who just joined the Jeunes Restaurateurs d’Europe, has taken over her in laws’ restaurant, La Perla del Mare, on the beach of San Vincenzo, just across from the island of Elba and forty minutes from Pisa airport.
There she specializes in shrimp raviolis (one chef does that all day…), grows her own vegetable and herbs, and has invented gluten free specialties. Tonight she is cooking Gnocco soffiato su creme di cacciucco e peace azzurro and uses the same pinot noir red wine to cook that she is serving us, Mezcan pinot nero trentino Hofztatter. It is an old recipe of cacciucco, a fish broth that uses poor fish. But the time put into the recipe makes it a rich people’s dinner!
Since 1992, this trained school teacher who taught herself to cook, serves 50 people with a staff of 12. And she gave us the most amazing show with all the fish and ingredients that she and her husband brought from Italy that morning.
First, she is beautiful and very sexy. Second, she moves in her kitchen like a ballerina on stage. Her gesture, the way she cuts fish, pâte feuilletée, onions, is so pretty that the twelve guests were mesmerized. While Emanuele crushes the berries in a very fine sauce for dessert, and serves delicious wines one after the other, Deborah answers millions of questions, while frying anchovies, boiling gnocchis, reducing herbs to ashes, and keeps on smiling.
She is obvioulsy enjoying the show like an actor who feels that his audience is captivated. The 12 guests who paid 100 euros to take this course and have the most fabulous dinner, are won over. For it is not a course, it is not a dinner, it is a feast, where Italian celebration of life enters cooking. Everyone becomes friendly, the young man whose parents always talked about food, this journalist from the South of France who recognizes Mediterranean fish, this older lady, who methodically notes proportions for everything… The evening is a lesson in fun and warmth. Something that cannot be bouhgt and is provided by the spirit of the Instituto italiano di cultura Paris, where you can also learn to speak Italian, or attend conferences and concerts.
Great chefs are invited once a month (on November, 23, Arcangelo Tinari will come from Abruzzo) and home Italian cooking is taught on a regular basis… I promise you, you will not regret it ! www.iicparigi.esteri.it/ (firstname.lastname@example.org and 01 44 39 49 24)
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