NEW VIDEO: Anthony Genovese, Il Pagliaccio

The  Staff Canteen

A mainstay in Rome's culinary scene with two Michelin stars to his name, Anthony Genovese talks to The Staff Canteen about the story behind his food.

Anthony Genovese is chef patron and owner of Il Pagliaccio in the heart of Rome, Italy. Found in Via Dei Bannchi Vecchi, between Campo de’Fiori and the Vatican and close to the famous Via Giulia, it opened in 2003 and is still going strong.

Born in 1968 to Calabrian parents, this French-Italian chef was raised in southern France. He spoke Calabrian as he grew up and initially was not meant to be a chef, saying: "In fact I wanted to drive trains because we lived next to a railway."

He gained his first Michelin star at the Rossellinis restaurant at Hotel Palazzo Sasso and he explained that there are three bases to his cuisine, 'the three pillars: France, Italy and Asia'. Each of these places featured in his life, shaping his style.

BSC00153 low res

When he returned to Italy, it was at two Michelin-starred Enoteca Pinchiorri where he 'discovered a completely different cuisine, without butter or bread' and his time in the Florentine restaurant he says gave him a taste of Asia. Seeking to further his knowledge he travelled to Bangkok and he quickly fell in love. 

Talking about his style he said: “My cuisine is not a fusion but the nuance that I brought with me from Asia. The cuisine is Italian cooking and is  certainly complex.” 

“My cuisine is not clear," he added. "It is based on impact or minimalist. My cuisine is made of additions, probably complex but generous.

"It is healthy, it is digestive - a cuisine where there is absolutely no addition of fat”.

BSC00258 low res

Translating literally to ‘the clown’, Il Pagliaccio is named firstly after the painting that Anthony Genovese’s mother painted which represents the restaurant. Anthony explains it's also because ‘our job is a big circus'.

He said: "It is acting twice a day. You have to smile in front of the staff and in front of the clients."

The dish which Anthony feels represents Il Pagliaccio the most in 2018 is Middle Earth Beef, Celeriac Sesame.

He said: “The beef, the marrow, the celeriac are what makes it contemporary. I definitely think that this dish summarises my personality, the person I am nowadays and summarises also my path."

Other dishes on the menu include ‘Breakfast in the sea’ which is inspired by the south of Italy and ‘Autumn colour’, which Anthony says is 'pure, just by itself without any addition to be eaten in two spoonful’s - it really represents Italy'.

DJ9A4653 low res

The restaurant has been open for fifteen years and Anthony says his next goal is to get to 50 years.

He said: “I still have the passion, I feel that I still have so much to give. But I have become a more mature person and accordingly I am giving my colleagues opportunities."

It is clear Anthony values the opinions of his staff saying 'the strength of Il Pagliaccio is surely the team?'.

He added: "I really trust them. They are truly my family. They push me and stimulate me to do better every day.

Piccione%2C l'indivia e le mele cotogne 2 low res

"Chef means to be the boss, but I am a cook.  I am a cook for the pleasure to be with my colleagues in the morning to help them with the mise en place, to work the line, to bone a big piece of meat or to prepare a dish."

Now boasting two Michelin-stars, what constitutes success for Anthony Genovese?

“The success is not only to score or meet a target," he said. "The success is to make your clients happy daily and work in a healthy environment. For me this is the biggest success”.

By Cameron Huck

In these challenging times…

The Staff Canteen team are taking a different approach to keeping our website independent and delivering content free from commercial influence. Our Editorial team have a critical role to play in informing and supporting our audience in a balanced way. We would never put up a paywall and restrict access – The Staff Canteen is open to all and we want to keep bringing you the content you want; more from younger chefs, more on mental health, more tips and industry knowledge, more recipes and more videos. We need your support right now, more than ever, to keep The Staff Canteen active. Without your financial contributions this would not be possible.

Over the last 12 years, The Staff Canteen has built what has become the go-to platform for chefs and hospitality professionals. As members and visitors, your daily support has made The Staff Canteen what it is today. Our features and videos from the world’s biggest name chefs are something we are proud of. We have over 500,000 followers across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other social channels, each connecting with chefs across the world. Our editorial and social media team are creating and delivering engaging content every day, to support you and the whole sector - we want to do more for you.

A single coffee is more than £2, a beer is £4.50 and a large glass of wine can be £6 or more.

Support The Staff Canteen from as little as £1 today. Thank you.

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 11th December 2018

NEW VIDEO: Anthony Genovese, Il Pagliaccio