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Luciano Monosilio, 'The King of Carbonara': “Pasta is the 'mamma' of all Italians”


For the menu of his new restaurant in Rome, Follie, the Michelin-starred chef has chosen historical dishes from his career to remember his beginnings and where his star proposal is not lacking: spaghetti alla carbonara

Luciano Monosilio at Follie, the new restaurant at the Gran Meliá Villa Agrippina hotel, in Rome.Alberto Blasetti

Its name is linked to spaghetti carbonara and haute cuisine, a combination that can apparently be paradoxical.

Luciano Monosilio, nicknamed by some as

The King of Carbonara

, has made this mysterious and ancient recipe the emblem of his kitchen, one of the most popular in Roman gastronomy and around which many popular legends and some certainties circulate.

Tradition says that the old charcoal burners who lived in the mountain towns of Abruzzo filled their pots with spaghetti,


cheese , eggs, pork cheeks and black pepper, ingredients that were easy to find and preserve, to better withstand the long days of cooking. work and cold

Monosilio knows how to reinterpret the classics and has managed to cross borders and bring his carbonara, on which a Michelin star shines, from popular gastronomy to haute cuisine circles.

“I cook in Rome, I couldn't not make such a traditional dish, I followed some advice: 'If you do it, you have to do it to the best of your ability and it surely won't be a normal carbonara.'

My carbonara is not a traditional carbonara, it is mine, period”, he points out.

At the same time, he defends the high margin for innovation of a dish as traditional, popular and deeply rooted as pasta.

“It has evolved a lot over time, the producers are getting better and better, a great chef said that a menu of 10 dishes without pasta is a menu of 10 starters”.

More information

How is authentic carbonara made?

The chef rejects the criticism from purists that every cook who experiments with this dish so characteristic of Italian culture, which is already a symbol and national pride, has to face.

“It's like when you see a great painting and someone says: 'I would do that better.'

Yes, but you haven't,” he alleges.

He confesses to being "mad with pasta".

“Pasta is the


of all Italians, we are born eating pasta, an Italian eats pasta at least once or twice a week, we are born with that culture”, he points out.

And he enthusiastically recounts that he plans to open a 500-square-meter pasta factory.

“I dedicate and will dedicate so much time of my life to pasta because it is a base, for us it is everyday life”, he points out.

Monosilio defines his kitchen as a kitchen of instinct, he moves on impulse.

He is a pupil of the great Fulvio Pierangelini —two Michelin stars— and Mauro Uliassi —with three stars—, nicknamed

The King of the Sea

for their fantastic fish-based recipes.

And he also spent a season in the kitchen of Enrico Crippa, chef with three Michelin stars;

and by Cape Town (South Africa), where he now has his own restaurant.

If he looks back, he remembers the innocence and clumsiness of the beginner.

“In 2009, when I entered the Uliassi restaurant, there was no technology that exists now, the phones did not have internet, I went there and I did not know who Mauro Uliassi was or what he was like physically.

There was another cook there named Mauro and for three days I thought he was Uliassi”.

It was actually Mauro Paolini, another renowned chef who has forged his career with Uliassi.

Luciano Monosilio's pasta carbonara.

The culmination of Luciano Monosilio's career came when he spent with chef Alessandro Pipero, with whom he won a Michelin star in 2012, at just 27 years old.

That same year he was also awarded Emerging Chef by the influential gastronomy and wine magazine

Gambero Rosso .


"For me the star has been an advantage, it has given me the chance to do other things, to be able to stop what I was doing, to return... I said that when they gave it to me I would stop working, but it came too soon and I had to continue working, I have done other things, although it has been a great plus in my career”, he explains.

In 2018 she decided to take a break from haute cuisine and fly solo with her own restaurant, located in the heart of the eternal city, focused on her fetish ingredient: pasta.

In fact, it has a small pasta factory, both dry and fresh, in the basement.

Now he has embarked on a new adventure with which he returns to signature cuisine as head chef at Follie, the new restaurant at the Gran Meliá Villa Agrippina hotel,

To prepare the menu, he explains, he has chosen some of the historical dishes of his career, from 2012 to 2017 —from when he received the Michelin star until he left the Pipero restaurant—, to remember his beginnings.

Like the smoked lamb with raspberries and oyster emulsion;

the beef with lettuce, black truffle and

xo sauce


its margherita


, which in practice is a ravioli filled with tomato sauce, but which has all the flavors of the classic pizza;

raw goose meat with apples and mustard;

or the egg with Lapsang Souchong tea with salad, raspberry vinegar and lamb offal, prepared by Monosilio in a laborious process (five days in brine and then dried for 12 hours at 45 degrees).

"The first menu was born with the idea of ​​returning to an old path that had been abandoned," he confesses.

“The mission is to express the local culture through food,” he adds.

He points out that he has managed to free himself from the stress of before: "Now I want to do things well with more calm, with a serenity that allows me to create, grow...", he points out.

And he explains that in this new project he feels "free" to experiment with vegetables, fish,

Part of the menu offered at Follie, the Monosilio restaurant at the Gran Meliá Villa Agrippina hotel in Rome.

Alberto Blasetti

Monosilio was always clear that when he grew up he wanted to be a cook: “I will do the best I can”, he told himself as a child.

It is appreciated that throughout his career he has not been inspired by anyone, he goes it alone.

“I have had points of reference, with the great chefs with whom I have worked, who have taught me something and have given me a direction, a vision... But I do not imitate anyone, I do not want to be like them, I am always Luciano and I will always do what I like," he says.

And he adds: “What is good for me, maybe not for others.

You can never become someone else, you must always be yourself.

When it's time to start the day, Luciano Monosilio chooses tradition over innovation.

He likes to open the day with a


sandwich , a typical Italian dish consisting of boneless pork, roasted in the oven and seasoned with various herbs.

When he mentions it, he waves his hand with that gesture that Italians make to express that a meal is delicious.

Source: elparis

All news articles on 2023-01-18

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