Today we meet Andy Luotto, the famous Italian-American actor and presenter. Following his passion for food, he decided to become a cook and in 2016 he opened his first restaurant in the heart of Rome, “Là”.
1) Nine words to introduce yourself.
Man: male gender.
Not too handsome, but it is not a sole word. Pleasant? I don’t know what fits best.
Pain in the…
2) What is the episode that originated your passion for food?
When I lived in my dad’s home, I didn’t speak Italian too much and I didn’t feel at ease with guests. I passed most part of my time in the kitchen with the governess of Luotto house, Maria Illuminati. She allowed me to dip the bread in the pan containing tomato sauce rumbling on the kitchen burners. “Facevo la scarpetta” (I mopped up the pan with bread). One day, while I was dipping the bread, she stopped me. I thought she would forbid it to me forever. Then she explained me that I had to dip the bread in the part of the pan where the sauce caramelizes. I tasted that piece of bread and in that moment I realized I would become a cook.
3) How did you arrive in Italy and what led you to stay?
I arrived when I was 14 because my mother decided that it was time to meet my father. She gave me the plane ticket and the photo of my dad and I arrived in Italy. I was striked by the United States, back and forth, and then I decided I absolutely had to stay and to raise my Italian European kids.
4) What does it mean to be an American chef in Italy?
One: I am not a chef. Two: I am not so American too. Three: for those who love cooking it does not exist a better country in the world… anyone who wants to cook, in any part of the world, sooner or later will have to face the Italian great raw material.
I have the fortune of being anglo-yokel, it fits better than Italian-American. I have Italian citizenship, I am proud of that, I go around only with Italian passport. For those who like to cook there is no better place in the world than Italy.
5) What is the Italian recipe that represents you the most?
Spaghetti with tomatoes.
6) The three indispensable Made in Italy products in your cuisine?
Extra virgin olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil.
7) Who cooks at your house?
When I’m home it’s me because otherwise the others get angry. And then, if I’m home and my wife is cooking I don’t eat and the mood gets ugly.
8) What do you think is the biggest commonplace the foreigners have on Italian
“Spaghetti and meatballs”, that is spaghetti with meatballs that do not exist. They appear in the movie “Lady and the tramp”. Maybe there is something similar in Calabria: spaghetti with little meatballs. But what the rest of the world does not know is that the meatball can become a very noble dish.
9) With regard to the “Italian Sounding” phenomenon, what do you think can be the solutions to fight it?
The rifle (smiling).
Very strict laws should be done; a very big sentence should be printed on every pack: “Imitation of the real thing”. People living abroad often think that Italian food is that, but it is exactly the opposite.
10) Three words to describe Italian food abroad.
Fresh, fast and unique.