Person of the month: Titta Buzzerio, founder of Fri Fri
Our personality of the month is Titta Buzzerio. She lives in New York City but grew up in Apulia, the beautiful southern Italian region. Titta is a force of nature: she has a creative, dynamic, and very energetic personality. She is a psychologist, but her greatest passion has always been cooking. This is why she founded Fri Fri, a catering company specialized in Italian cuisine, together with her dear friend Manuela Deorsola. Fri Fri Catering serves authentic Italian cuisine to clients who want home-style, healthy, and refined Italian dishes. Of particular note are their excursions into Apulian, Piedmontese and Tuscan traditions.
Ciao Titta! Tell us about the new Italian catering service in town. How the idea of FriFri came up?
The idea came to us for fun. I was with my Italian friend Manuela Deorsola, whom I met in New York. Together we have always organized many beautiful parties, with attention to the details. I'm a psychotherapist, she's a criminal lawyer, both with a passion for cooking. One day while drinking a coffee, we said to each other: why don't we turn it into a job? So, we started to put ideas together, perhaps not thinking of getting serious. Then came the pandemic. During that time, I don't know how, we began to get serious. We created our company and chose the name. We love it! It's called Fri Fri. It's a friendly and fun name, and most importantly, it's easily pronounceable for Americans!
What are the American dishes that Americans love the most?
Lasagna is the most popular dish among our customers. We make lasagna of all kinds. I must admit that our customers always prefer it "American style." We serve it "Italian style," that is without ricotta cheese. It's always a big hit! And then we start letting them try other versions.
When you go to Italy on vacation, which is the first dish you want to try and why?
I always land in Rome. So my first meal includes a nice plate of Amatriciana and then squash blossoms and gelato. It's my little tradition. I eat them all at once. Never one without the others.
After so long in the US, have you changed your way of cooking Italian dishes?
No, absolutely! I have lived in the US for 14 years and have officially become American. But my heart and my food are strongly Italian!
What do you miss the most about the Italian way of life in NYC?
What I miss the most is not having all the human warmth that I have in my land. I miss that heartfelt, real "how are you?" question.
What is the corner of the city that reminds you most of Italy?
I have to admit that here in New York, the place that reminds me most of Italy is in the Bronx. It is Arthur Avenue and the Italian market.
What is your favorite thing to cook for your guests?
Parmigiana is my favorite dish.
- Donatella Mulvoni