Nicola Calamari: A Few Words from La Fiorentina's Executive Chef
On Wednesday, we gave you the goods on Nicola Calamari, executive chef at La Fiorentina. Today, we asked Calamari to finish a few sentences for us. Tomorrow, he shares one of his recipes. (Calamari's words are after the ellipses.)
Kevin Marple Nicola Calamari
I was raised in...Florence.
My friends say I'm...a great guy.
My momma told me...I'm not gonna tell you what she told me. [He laughs.] To believe in myself.
If I had 24 hours to live I'd...that wouldn't be enough time for what I want to do. I have many things I would like to do.
My guilty pleasure is...Oh my God. Chocolate. Dark, dark, dark chocolate, as bitter as possible.
If I could go anywhere, I'd go...That's a tough one. Well, actually I'd go back to Tuscany and enjoy myself in the countryside. Far, far away from anybody, with lots of animals, and that's about it.
Cat or dog...Dogs definitely. I still have one. But not with me at the moment. A chirat. Chihuahua and terrier. My kids can't wait for me to take the dog out of the way. [The dog is with them in California.] He chases everything because of the terrier side. They were made to kill. Everything that moves, they're interested in. They were raised to kill rats. I've had quite a few dogs in my life. A chow chow. They're moody. And I had a great Pyrenees. We couldn't keep anything on the coffee table.
The CD I couldn't do without...there are quite a few. Pink Floyd, Bob Marley, Neil Young, The Doors. And I have to listen to Ozzy Osborne and Black Sabbath once in a while.
I relax by...Right now I'm just working because I just moved to Dallas. The only thing that I do is work and sleep. I haven't had a chance to have any fun yet. I look forward to being able to enjoy life, go out with friends and have fun. I have a membership for a gym, but I haven't had a chance to go. I like to do light weights and some of the machines.
If it weren't for cooking, I would be...What am I going to say? Say I don't know. I never thought about, "What am I going to do?" Cooking. That's all I've done in my life.
I get my cooking inspiration from...my family. My grandmother and my mother.
The kitchen gift I'd like to receive...I wish that there was a computer that you put a recipe in and you click enter and the dish comes out. [He laughs.] For home I would like to have a very organized kitchen with really nice appliances, that you can really cook with because at home I feel like I'm going to make everything dirty or break them because the things here [at the restaurant] are so much heavier.
My favorite movie is...Godfather. Even Goodfellas.
The best gift I ever received was...my daughters, 16 and 14.
Dallas diners expect...the best. That's the only thing they should expect when they go out. Otherwise they should stay home and cook.
One thing that surprises me about the Dallas dining scene is that...I can't answer that because I just moved here. I was here for the opening and then came back at the end of December.