Ten years ago I posted my first Youtube video. It was incredibly long, it was unrefined but sincere; it started as a simple fun experiment on a new exciting platform, and it ended up changing my life in many ways.
When it all begun my daughters were young, we were still living in Los Angeles, and I was still trying to “find” myself professionally, after leaving Italy behind to follow Debi, the woman of my dreams, to the other side of the pond.
The things I have learned growing up in the Italian country became the stories I enjoyed filming and writing about: it has been an honor and a privilege to be able to share with a global public the immense love I have for the land that is Tuscany. Cooking has always been a large component of my storytelling; placing ingredients into context, narrating a first sip of wine, romanticizing about my origins, ultimately channeling the immense nostalgia I had for my home in Fiesole…
That is why I opened my restaurant in Brooklyn soon after we moved to NYC, it has been my personal culinary confessional; inviting people in my small room for a meal has felt every single day as an opportunity for growth, love and human connection, facilitated by delicious food and plenty of good wine. For five years I thoroughly enjoyed the process, the pressure, the pain and the rewards; I created a small stage kitchen where stories and flavor mixed together in a unique way. Then, all of a sudden, it felt like it was not enough anymore.
Two summers ago, while we were visiting my family at home, my father suddenly passed in a motorcycle crash; the unpredictability of life showed itself to me, and a very natural process of emotional growth begun.
For two decades now I have been in America. I am a husband and a father, a citizen and an immigrant.
On the day I have met Deborah I knew we would have been together forever, following her to California was a very easy decision to make, it was all about love. What I was not anticipating was the incumbent melancholy that eventually set in for having left behind my family and my Tuscan fields. In the beginning that is what I believe helped in my career, as it provided content and substantial inspiration, then on that damned summer two years ago things started changing.
This is my homecoming.
I have closed my restaurant in Brooklyn and started focusing most of my time on a plan to return to Fiesole, and finally share with Debi and my daughters the beauty of a simpler and slower Tuscan life. So while Evelina and Giulia approach their college years (gasp!) and start making decisions about the rest of their lives, I am working on a plan to finally create my dream kitchen (and much more) back at HOME!
I am not done telling stories, I am not done cooking, I am not done at all!
Who’s coming with me?
All this is a complicated process as you might imagine: a life in NYC, growing children and ocean in between. I have to start somewhere! So while I am traveling back and forth to make this all happen, I figured it would be a wonderful opportunity to finally start working on my family’s estate in an attempt to bring it back to its old glory. It will take a while; the main villa is a humongous undertaking on its own, the farm needs to bee rebooted, the gardens have to be taken care of and nurtured, and the list goes on. However our stables, church, dining halls and main garden are basically ready to host their first season of events. I will be on site next summer starting the end of July, cooking and hosting until the end of the season, approximately mid November.
Finally I will be able to share stories and flavors of my land in a much more complete way, and I just cannot wait!
In conclusion. It’s a great moment in our family life, we are healthy and in love, forging ahead, dreaming and making plans; We have a lot to be thankful for.
To all of you out there that through the years have supported our show, read our books and cooked for their families from them, and to the ones that traveled to Brooklyn to spend time with us in my small restaurant.
Thank You, Thank You, Thank You! We hope some of you will choose to come visit us and celebrate with our families and team a fantastic and unforgettable event!
Peace and Pasta,