I’m finally getting my feet back on the ground and establishing my routine. I’m working at Al Vedal, a Michelin star restaurant in a small town just outside of Parma. I live in an apartment over the culattelo cellar (where all the cured pork butt hangs from the ceiling). Culattelo is similar if not better than prosciutto. Anyway, I am just steps away from the restaurant so I wake up every morning and walk over for a cappuccino and then start working around 9 am. I have been working on the pasta station for a few days and make ravioli all day long! The past few days I have spent making a ton of ravioli. I make about 1000 a day all by hand, some for the restaurant and some for a nearby store that sells fresh pasta. The #1 selling dish on the menu is a tortelli, similar to the ravioli, where they are stuffed with ricotta and spinach. Then we put fresh parmigiano reggiano on the bottom of the dish, then the pasta, top it with more cheese and then butter. Another popular dish is Pollo Borrato, an egg battered chicken breast fried in butter. Overall the menu is a nice mix of traditional Parma food and modernized food including a lot of game such as duck, chingalle (wild boar), goose, and today I tried frog!
Much like the menu, the staff here is quite diverse. Although there are obviously Italians in the kitchen there are also people from Brazil, Argentina, China, Phillipines, and Vermont. Many of them, like me, are also here interning and broadening their horizon on Italian cooking.
We work 9 am until around 5 and then everyone goes home for dinner, but I stay and hang out with Chef Enrico. Everyone returns to work around 7:30pm and we work until around 12. Tonight we had a 20 person wedding so we were there a bit later than usual. We also have another wedding coming up on Saturday that is supposed to be 100 people. (I’m going to have to make a lot of ravioli! Haha)
Based on what I know so far I don’t think there is anyway I could live here, but the chefs here say that I am just saying that because my wife and daughter aren’t here, which could be true. Everybody here knows about Tawni and Francesca because I talk about them all the time, and the guys all applaud me for marrying a younger woman haha. Although all the guys invited me out for una birra (Believe it or not I am getting compliments on my Italian 🙂 ) at the pub tonight but I was too tired…maybe tomorrow.
*Pictures Coming soon*
Including one with me in the tall chef hats we wear!