During the past 8 years as a blogger I have been fortunate enough to meet several well known British chefs and get cookery lessons from them as well. Most of them were Italians or somehow they had a link with Italy.
Because of the power of the media, you see these people on television and you imagine them to be something incredible, almost super humans but when you actually meet them in person you realize that they are just as human as you are.
In my experience, what these famous people have in common, apart from obviously being very talented individuals and having a certain charisma, is that they are extremely passionate about what they do. It is clear that you certainly need passion to be successful at anything in life.
Recently, I was invited by the no-profit Italian organisation “I love Italian Food” in London to meet Aldo Zilli at the Scavolini Store. Scavolini is a famous Italian kitchen brand which have stores all over the world.
Aldo Zilli comes originally from Abruzzo and moved to England at the age of 20. He founded several innovative restaurants in London. Aldo has also written several books including two autobiographies.
When I got there the pasta sauce was bubbling up. The chef was chopping fresh herbs and I watched with fascination at the ease and rapidity with which he was handling the knife; he could have done it with his eyes closed!
Aldo was going to show us how to make a typical dish from his region: spaghetti alla chitarra, which I also made with my friend from Abruzzo some time ago.
I had the opportunity to have a good chat with him. This is a chef with a cheerful, content and very chatty personality; I asked Aldo about his life and his family and how he likes living in the UK. I found him inspiring and his down to earth personality and kindness was even more inspiring.
The smell was extremely inviting: the sauce was made with fresh tomatoes, fresh herbs, a mixture of pork and beef mince and pecorino cheese.
Soon we could watch pasta being made with the guitar: a simple and interesting instrument to make pasta at home, quickly and efficiently. Pasta alla chitarra has an interesting rougher texture that makes it particularly tasty.
Aldo recommends to always use quality ingredients; particularly eggs. If you are making the effort to make pasta at home you may just as well use quality ingredients. And of course he is absolutely right in this.
I love what Aldo said when he proudly showed off his freshly made pasta: “Here it is pasta made with love and Italy”.
What a great fun evening I hope to meet Aldo again one day!