To give you a real taste of Italy and its traditions, we will be sharing every month an interview with an Italian who has lived in the United States.
To start this series off in August, we called upon one of Magnifico’s dearest friends. Since we discuss high-quality food, this month, we are interviewing Luigi Porceddu, who has built his career in high-level hospitality.
Besides being a successful entrepreneur, Luigi is also a cheerful and kind person. He is 39 years old, was raised in Lodi and Piacenza, and arrived in New York twelve years ago to study and live with his father.
Today, he lives in Montauk and works as the food and beverage manager for Il Gurney's resorts. Over the years, he has also worked for Joe Bastianich in one of his Esca restaurants as general manager, and for the Soho House Group as an assistant general manager. He remembers both as "beautiful experiences.”
Luigi, how did you choose to spend this peculiar summer?
Working! Perhaps even more than in past years. During the first days of quarantine, despite the lockdown, I did some research online to try to understand where to find new opportunities. I thought traveling would be tough this year. Here, a few hours from NY, lie the Hampton, a luxury vacation area. I saw that some hotels were open and shyly looking for staff. I circulated my resume and at the end of April I was called by the Gurney's Resort group to work in their location in Montauk to manage the food and beverage field for 2 of their restaurants (The Pool Club and Showfish). We have been practically sold out since last month.
Can you tell us the most fond memories you have of the Italian Ferragosto?
Ferragosto is special for me, because it is my father's birthday, so it is always an important day for me. When I lived in Italy, it was a day to spend with friends. We used to choose a farmhouse on the hills near Piacenza and have huge lunches, eating tortelli, grilled meat, and drinking lots of Gotturino (local sparkling red wine). It was always difficult to get up from the table after these festivities without having to undo the top button of my pants.
What do you like most about America and what do you miss about Italy?
The thing I like most about America, job-wise, is the customer care. My colleagues and I always work to try to give our guests the best experience. And if the guest is not satisfied ... no problem! We will take care of him or her at any cost. Another thing I love about this country is nature. I have been lucky enough to travel a lot in the US, and the country’s nature and its preservation of it is impressive. I have an endless list of places I have loved, but two stand out: Monument Valley and The Grand Canyon.
The thing that I miss most about Italy? Obviously my family and friends, but I also miss Italian summers! The sea, the scent of the Mediterranean, and the infinite beauty of our coasts and islands: 5 Terre, the Amalfi coast, the Sicilian granita of Taormina, the beaches of Sardinia ... thinking about these places brings tears to my eyes!
What is the Italian dish you like best?
Pasta, with any kind of sauce! My favorite would have to be tortelli Piacentini from the Regina di Quarto restaurant in the province of Piacenza.
The Italian dish you cook best?
Tagliatelle with white ragù “al coltello.” It is a simple dish that requires many hours of preparation, since I make the ragù myself. I love making ragù on cold and rainy days, it warms my heart and relaxes me. It’s like meditation to me. I wouldn’t tell you my recipe even if you paid me, but I will cook you some whenever you want! I only have one tip: I sauté my sauce in both olive oil and bone marrow.