Zafferano & Co. Friends: Chef Michele Baldacci
As a child growing up in Florence, I was constantly in the kitchen. My entire family
would have lunch and dinner together every day, and I was always there, helping my
mom cook and plan the menu for the next day.
On my father’s side, my great-grandfather had a restaurant in Florence and my grandfather was also a chef.
On my mother’s side,my grandparents moved to the Florentine countryside when they
retired. Here they started harvesting olive trees and grapes. They had rabbits, hens, ducks
and a big vegetable garden.
Most of my memories as a child, in a way or another, are connected to food.
I remember my Grandpa Guglielmo going to the fish market in Viareggio and buying
Telline: a small clam-like shell with thin, long and very delicate valves. It was caught by
fishermen along the beach using iron nets that looked like cages, dipped into the sand and
pulled manually. They were sold in small clear plastic bags and, once at home my
Grandpa use to put them in a washbowl with salted water. After a while the shells would
open and start to spit water all around. That made my day.
I started my professional career at La Tenda Rossa, a two-star Michelin restaurant in the
heart of the Florentine countryside. However, wanting to focus more on the traditional
rustic food of my childhood rather than formal fine-dining, I soon started working at
Buca Lapi, the oldest and most well regarded restaurant in Florence.
After opening Locanda Vini & Olii as chef and working there for 5 years, I returned to
Buca Lapi in 2006 to re-immerse myself in the culture and cuisine of my native Tuscany.
Now back in New York City, I am focused on bringing my love of rustic Florentine
cooking to the heart of my menu. From tripe to chicken livers, seasonal produce to
simply grilled and braised meats, my re-inspired menu proudly displays the food and
culture I know and love.
Company - Restaurant: Locanda Vini & Olii
Location: Brooklyn - New York