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When Patrizia Paglieri walks into a room she doesn’t make you feel uncomfortable, uneasy or jealous of her perpetuous joie de vivre because she simply shares it with you. For example, I was exceptionally happy to chat with this lady who was born and raised in San Remo and is a top of the top chefs. Because she likes parties, wining and dining, which are three of my favorite things. She actually made me cut the guilt in my guilty pleasures and indulge in a conversation sprinkled with happy dishes. Bearing the alure of Liza Minelli and mastering some sorcery over everlasting lust for life, she makes the magic happen every time she steps into a kitchen. Patrizia moved to Romania unexpectedly when her father landed a job venture here, back in 1999. She was prone to invest in cuisine and continue her resto business from Italy, so, as years passed by, she went from a small bistro in Mogoşoaia to high end eateries. Now she’s also stepping into teacher shoes for DallesGO after work cooking classes in Bucharest, starting 2014 and opens up about her “viaggio italiano” through life, gastronomy and fashion.

How did you start the Italian cooking journey?

Well, it all began with my grandma. I was about 10 when my mother opened a restaurant in San Remo and I had to work with her if I want money for the disco or money for jeans. All the Fridays and Saturdays I was there, waiting on table with them. My dad worked all his life in casinos and in ’93 we all came to Romania since he had a job opportunity here. I was just divorcing, took my 9 months baby and went with them. We wanted to open a restaurant in Bucharest, but it was really harsh back in ’94. Optimized spaces for kitchens and dining rooms were scarce so in the end we took a small space near Mogoșoaia, where the PRO studios are. It was very little and neat. Only three tables at first. We put a mark outside and people eventually started coming and asking what they can eat. It was 1999 and it proved to be a remarkable year. The first two customers we had were two boys from the studios. Horațiu and Sorin, I still remember them. The story spread all around, so we started to work with reservations only. It was far away and only certain people would come. This is so common in Italy, people are dying to eat outside the city, but for Romania at that time it was rad. We took more tables, opened another room and then, in 2011 I opened Osteria Gioia in Bucharest, then the restaurant in Moxa, Patrizia and now the one in Constanța, Le premier. We really wish to get back to Mogoșoaia so we’re working hard on having the place ready soon. Clients call all the time to ask when it’s done and these are people I know already for 15 years.

What did you love most about being in Romania? What made you stay?

The people! I always told myself, it’s such fortune my mother and father came here. We and Italians are so similar, we have fun, we dance, we party…When I go back to Italy now I’m terribly bored. Romania is my home now and even my son, Francesco, feels like home here. He’s all for Romania when the games are on with Italy. He’s 17 now, still in highschool but helps me out with the restaurant. I think you really have to love it, the food, the cooking, making people happy. It’s hard, there are no weekends, no holidays, you pour all your soul in it. But it’s beautiful, and rewarding to see the people going Wow! It’s the greatest satisfaction.

Rumor has it – you’ve had some famous guests over the years…

Yeah, but mostly in San Remo, when my mom had the restaurant at Ariston, where the festival happens. People here are like that..they came, they sat on tables and saw that person or this person and they asked me „Is that…?” and wanted pictures with the actors. Andy Garcia came to eat at our restaurant for one month. Olivier Martinez too…Kylie Minogue’s boyfriend. And the clients were all like…”Is he..?”. Yeah, they were, but I hated taking pictures of them (laughs).

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You’re going to teach the Cooking class at DallesGo. What should we expect?

It’s gonna be all about Sicilian cuisine. And how to cook a full meal for six. Very classy. All in all I suppose I want to inspire them – they must love cooking! But I suppose they love it already since they are coming to the class. To perfect themselves…to be perfectly able to organize and cook a dinner for ten and stop buying pre cooked food. I can teach them recipes but they can modify them in 1000 ways…

So it’s pretty experimental.

Yeees, of course, it’s like when I go in restaurants around the world, I always „steal” an idea, then I mix it up with what I know. Whatever I will teach them, they can adjust, change or reorganize in hundreds of ways. Pasta, mushrooms, vegetables, the secret is to learn how to cook and enjoy even foods you don’t naturally like! We really also have to teach them how to cook torteliini in class. For 6. It’s a 30 minutes operation which can be made at home.

Is pasta your favorite dish?

Nooo, I’m more a sea fruit person. Salmon, tuna, sea shells, everything that comes from the ocean is great for me. Carpaccio, fresh fish, fish salads. They have these at Mega Image too and they’re really good…

Who is your favorite Chef?

I really love Sadler, from Milan, Piecik and a chef from DaVitorio. I really enjoy food, even if it gets me puton weight. I don’t really eat so much but as a Chef, I taste a lot and the calories add only from taking a bite from here and one from there… I also love deserts so much haha. I always take up on one kilo in Constanţa and lose it in Bucharest.

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The most successful dish you make?

Tartar, octopus salad and pasta. I make the pasta with lobster, crawfish, zuchinni and truffles, with tuna, cherry tomatos or veggies…I always change the recipes and I make all the sauces as I go. Also, the lasagna, caneloni and caviar with vodka in pasta were a success. Salmon, nero di sepia, asparagus…Pasta goes with everything if the ingredients are fresh and made al dente.

What about sweets?

I’m not very adventurous with sweets since I didn’t go to pastry school. But we serve ice creams, panna cotta, Tiramisu, the Mousse…the cheese cake. Now I discovered that it’s better non served cold. I also love donuts, oh! But I don’t really cook for myself. I prefer to do it for friends.

Your favorite designers/fashion brands?

I like Moschino a lot. I always loved the mix between classic and colors, it’s a happy brand. Then I’m a huge Max Mara fan, for the clean cut, the trousers and shirt. Massimo Dutti, ZARA, I also like these..

A time in fashion you’re fond of?

That would definitely be the Chanel era…what she made, the blazer, the masculine shirt…it’s simply the best made to measure cloth.

The best place you landed the last 12 months?

San Remo. I went back to my home town after 15 years, it was insane! I grew up there but San Remo was a sort of deserted, plain boring place, so we always ran away to Nice, Monte Carlo and such. A friend found me on Facebook after many many years so we met there. I loved it the most in the African savannah. But I love the craziness of Bucharest, it never stops. If I go in the mountains I get bored. I’m not really into silence. I like confusion, noise and adventures. I loved it in Mamaia, in the summer. And in Sibiu or Braşov too, you can visit all the cafes, but that’s about it (laughs).

What do you like besides gastronomy?

I’d love to take a wine tasting class. For the restaurant. And make-up, I’m a big fan of make-up.

If I was in Italy now, what should I take for breakfast, lunch and a dinner with my date?

Well, the best breakfast I had was 10 years ago in a hotel – all kinds of cake, jam, bio butter and such, it was delicious. Lunch is mostly about pasta in Italy, while dinner, it’s romantic with sea food and champagne. Champagne goes with everything. Or Aperol Spritz.

I think it was the unofficial drink of the year in every bar.

It was, it was! I was going out with Francesco in the summer and it was funny, all the orange bright glasses everywhere…

If you want to be in Patrizia’s cooking class, follow DallesGO on Facebook.