The stories of the great chefs: Angelo Paracucchi

The stories of the great chefs: Angelo Paracucchi

Angelo Paracucchi is part of the history of Italian cuisine, or rather, of the new Italian cuisine which is also headed by Gualtiero Marchesi. Here’s the story.

Angelo Paracucchi  was one of the greatest innovators of Italian cuisine. Considered, together with Gualtiero Marchesi, the creator and master of the new and creative Italian 4.30 in the morning to intercept the trucks of suppliers, ensuring the best and freshest productsIt is said that he went early in the morning to the Pallodola market near Sarzana (La Spezia) to make checkpoints at 4.30 to intercept the trucks of suppliers, making sure the best and freshest artichokes or green beans, well before they arrived at the stalls. of the market. Angelo studies in agriculture, then travels to Europe (London, Paris, Lyon, Monaco); back in Italy he starts working at the Hotel dei Duchi in Spoleto in 1961. Here he meets Luigi Carnacina, known as Gigetto, one of the greatest Italian maîtrees and gastronomes. These were years of profitable exchanges between the two, so much so that Angelo had the desire to cook. He moved to the Agip Motel in Bologna and then to the one in Florence. He comes to direct the tourist center of Pugnochiuso in Puglia, also in the Agip group, and becomes its manager. It was the first to impose an offer based on high quality in Italy (a concept still unknown to the masses). The success of the tourist village makes it famous; he moved in 1968 to the Agip Motel in Sarzana: the place ” quickly becomes – writes Salvatore Marchese, in the book Paracucchi Cucina Creativa all’italiana of 1986 –one of the main points of reference for the most refined palates. And the locals wondered perplexed: why do people come purposely from Milan or Parma to eat in a motel? “.


Entrepreneurs, gourmets, sheikhs arrive at the Motel. Here Carnacina introduces him to Luigi Veronelli from Corriere della Sera. Paracucchi’s name became famous in newspapers, magazines and guides (especially on the Touring Club guide). Angelo opened his Locanda dell’Angelo in Ameglia in 1974 , also near La Spezia. It is a modern structure designed by the architect Vico Magistretti, to make the temple of the Product , in a close and osmotic relationship with the territory and the producers. In the words of Carnacina: “In Milan there is probably the most well-stocked market a chef can imagine, both in terms of freshness and variety of products. For someone like me, however, certain privileges may not be enough. I can find the same things at the Locanda on the doorstep; I buy sea bass from my usual friends who go fishing almost as a hobby. I choose vegetables and mushrooms from the stalls of nice old ladies who come to the market to supplement their pension. On the street I meet people who greet me amicably and stop me to chat about my latest broadcast on television or the newspaper article about me. Here then the sequence of the seasons, for the kitchen and the landscape, still makes sense “.


Paracucchi’s intuition lies precisely in having put into practice a cuisine of heritage of traditional products, of the land and of fishing, to then compare it with the use of traditional cuisine and in inventing new combinations by applying new techniques, more respectful of products. Paracucchi therefore applies the rules of nouvelle cuisine, and acquires notoriety abroad as well. He is among the first 7 restaurateurs and chefs in Italy to be awarded the Michelin star at the end of the 1970s. So they invited him to Paris in 1984 and here he opened Il Carpaccio in the Royal Monceau hotel. The innovation of raw ham is innovative for French cuisine: the restaurant earned a Michelin star in 1990.


Charismatic figure and great teacher, Paracucchi has left a trace of himself. His passion for the quality of raw materials and the constant search for the best techniques to enhance flavors have formed an entire generation of chefs who in the following years have disseminated and implemented his very particular cooking style: Giacomo Gallina, Francesco Zani, Mario Chiametti, Maurizio Marsili, Mario Frittoli,his relationship with food was very physical, he loved simple gestures, contact with matterAlessandro Morelli, Emanuele Cappellini. He appeared in some popular television broadcasts alongside his friend Luigi Veronelli. Paracucchi is called to the jury in France at the first edition of Bocuse d’Or, in Korea to represent Italian cuisine at the Seoul Olympics, to teach at the Tsuji school in Japan and at the Culinary Institute in New York. But the greatest school is the one that is lived with him in the kitchen where his sous-chefs grow up in daily work, in close contact. ” If I think of the days at the Locanda – Maurizio Marsili, today chef at Vigna Ilaria in Lucca –I impressed his gaze when he discovered a new product. He looked at it with the curiosity of a child and then ran to study every aspect, try every nuance. He had a particular attention to the acidity in the dish, which from time to time he translated with the use of red wine, green tomato, candied lemon. His relationship with food was very physical, he loved simple gestures, contact with matter. For example, we made bread ourselves, initially small, elegant sandwiches. But he got bored and wanted to go back to the loaf, because he loved simple presentations, genuine sliced ​​bread “.

For several years Paracucchi wrote articles on food for Il Messaggero di Roma and for Il Piacere, a magazine from the mid-1980s. He was the author of some books: The Lunigiana kitchen (1981), The creative Italian cuisine (1986), The kitchen between creativity and tradition (2003), a collection of recipes extracted from the articles of the Messenger.

The new Italian cuisine


The cuisine is of the market, the fresh and seasonal product , local , what we would call at km 0. It takes its cue from tradition and applies its basic rules, but updates them: away the fats, away the structured complications of spices and baroque. The kitchen becomes essential and structured in the ways, with the technique applied to the characteristics of the dish and the use of cooking in an absolutely respectful way. Paracucchi also overcomes the limit between sweet and savory by putting fresh fruit in fish or meat dishes; it changes textures and habits as in lettuce sauce , which has become a liquid salad. The chef spends hours studying the biochemical structure of foods, the organoleptic characteristics, and soon becomes a promoter of the enhancement of extra virgin olive oil, as well as the precursor of the Mediterranean diet before the concept was codified. As an entrepreneur he broadened his horizons: he became the first television chef in the La Meridiana program for Rai together with Luigi Veronelli. He also creates his own line of products: jams, ready sauces, labeling himself. He is also a designer and signs for Alessi a lamp for cooking in the dining room with which he makes spaghetti with seafood.

Chef Angelo Paracucchi

From his creativity came disorienting dishes 30 years ago : spaghetti with ginger, scampi with grapefruit, sole fillets with avocado cream, smoked round carpaccio with unripe tomato cream,the michelin never gave him more than one star, preferring the cuisine of the marquisesray soup and squares with black truffle, sturgeon on a bed of cabbage and Iranian caviar cream, duck breast with blackberries, saddle of rabbit with plum terrine, health salad – pineapple, peaches, melon, pink grapefruit, sole fillets , shellfish, cuttlefish, all seasoned with raspberry vinegar – and so on, combining fruit in savory dishes, inserting exotic elements in Italian menus, replacing butter and bechamel with extra virgin olive oil and emulsions. Another thing of his is ice cream: he loves it so much that he opens an ice cream shop, Procopio’s, in front of the restaurant. He remains a misunderstood chef: Michelin never gave him more than one star, preferring the more Frenchized forms of Marchesi. Only the group of Veronelli and L’Espresso made it an Italian myth. We can still find his foresight today in top quality restaurants and when you ask a chef if he has ever met Angelo Paracucchi, his eyes usually light up. And there is no cook who hasn’t tried a dish at least onceat Paracucchi .

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