Maria, l’italienne

Food like a piece of art, to eat, sometimes, just with your eyes. Meeting the italian food stylist who has become a must in Paris.

A Marketing expert graduated at Bocconi University and passionate about cooking. Too creative to deal with advertising. And too chic to arrange meeting rooms and Excel spreadsheets.

Whoever had the chance to meet Maria Greco Naccarato, knows very well her innate elegance, knowledge towards the practical world and direct approach with an enviable sense of concreteness. These are the ingredients that have convinced her to give up her job in Milan, in order to become a food stylist and aim achievements.

Love at first sight? During a photo shoot of whom would have become a colleague, was injecting some milk into a mozzarella for a commercial: “ ready to give out freshness and taste in the mouth”.

Since then, she decided to put aside her laptop for a while ‘, her working tools became kitchen utensils.

Her role? To create fabulous dishes for amazing photos, movies and commercials. An unexpected and well deserved success, that she proudly presents internationally especially in Paris, where she has been recently working along with the Italian Institute.

We are going to talk to her about the Italian cuisine in the world.

What do the French envy us when it comes down to food?

At first I was pleasantly surprised by the interest of the French towards our cuisine, I think the rivalry is over. The French people adore the simplicity of our cuisine, for instance when I teach them how to make pasta “Ammuddicata”, which is a dish made ​​of extremely poor ingredients like oil, garlic, anchovies and bread, they cannot believe that with a few ingredients may create such a tasty dish. They also love the atmosphere around our tables, my guests are fascinated by our simplicity, spontaneity and friendliness.

What should always be there in order to have a perfect meal?

I would say our personal touch to the recipe, I consider it a secret ingredient that makes a dish unique. Cooking, getting the table ready, sitting down, paying attention to the meal means taking care of yourself. As if a slice of bread and some salami were well presented!

The Italian cuisine is known throughout the world and it is a sort of “national flag”.

How do you find Italian restaurants in European cities?

Luckily in Paris, the Italian cuisine is well represented, not only in large and small restaurants but also in the so-called “traiteur”. It is no longer acceptable adapting recipes to local tastes, I believe that it is now quite clear that those who get into an Italian restaurant abroad, expect “authentic” dishes. A fantastic surprise here in Paris was the recent opening of the Fratelli Alajmo in collaboration with Philippe Starck of Caffe’ Stern, the first Italian star chef to open a restaurant in ville lumiere. Alain Ducasse? Wel, he was enchanted!

Recently, you have taken part at the Institute of Italian Culture in Paris, during the Parisian Food and Culture week.

What do people usually ask to a professional like you?

I prepared workshops dedicated to pasta and rice: the request was just to know home cooking, such as preparing a risotto and a well-seasoned pasta. It may seem trivial, but unfortunately there are still many misconceptions about these issues to let out! For instance: spaghetti should not be eaten along with a steak!

What makes you really proud when being abroad?

Fortunately we are very appreciated much more than we think, it is true we have some negative sides, but right now our country is greatly appreciated. Among all the qualities I would say that the warmth and sophistication of our taste are our most beautiful “Made in Italy” products.

Thanks to Kitchen in the city (www.kitcheninthecity.it), her blog, she is able to share with the audience various recipes. What do you think about the contribution of Internet for Italian food?

Internet has certainly made things easier by introducing​​: videos, recipes, photos, presentation of products. There are no more excuses not to get involved cooking!

Finally, if you came back to Italy, what would you bring from France for all Italians?

I wish we could appreciate every little thing just like the French people do. We have art, natural resources and food that the whole world envies, but unfortunately we are not able to make the most of them. I remember a hotel nearby where King Sole was born was for meetings: a small room beautiful paintings over the ceiling. Outside there was a sign with written on it  “Museum of Luigi XIV … do you get what I mean?