Chef Terry Giacomello of “Inkiostro”: the courage to make a mark (part III)

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True to his Friuli background, he loves hard work and rigour. He exudes the quiet modesty of someone who knows his profession so well he can use it like a dictionary, expressing himself and influencing others

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Chef Terry Giacomello of “Inkiostro”: the courage to make a mark (part III)
This post is the last part of our chat with Terry Giacomello, chef at Parma’s Michelin-starred “Inkiostro” restaurant.
Terry, who earned his stripes at his parent’s renowned fish trattoria in Pordenone before working with the elite of the restaurant world, has a gift: an ability to create food which makes its mark. An intense, straightforward mark, reflecting his origins in Friuli. An unusual mark which inspires ever-new emotions. A truly poetic mark: no more, no less.
Which three dishes best represent your life, Terry, and why?
“ Warm tagliolini with egg white, Parmesan cream, truffle caviar ”, “Rice “illusione” with saffron, cauliflower and smelt eggs” and “Mezza-manica “pasta” with ham consommé, fried tart and balsamic vinegar reduction”: dishes which are difficult to conceive, and just as difficult to make at first.”
Do you have a favourite dish from Friuli?
Polenta. Frico (fried potatoes with onion and cheese). Tiramisù. And I love my Mum’s lasagne, canederli dumplings and meatballs (my Mum’s from the Trentino region). But if you’ve travelled as much as I have, you’re not only attached to the food of your home country: you become fond of all the food you eat along the way;.”
Is there one particular dish you wish you’d invented yourself?
There are so many, but particularly Ferran Adrià’s. He’s the father of molecular gastronomy and a pioneer of avant-garde Spanish cuisine. His spherification technique, which involves making small spheres that burst in the mouth and release their flavour, is absolutely genius.”
Where did you get your passion for cooking?
From my Mum, Wanda. When I finished middle school and told my Dad Vittorino I wanted to be a chef, he warned me about the limitations of the profession. But he couldn’t change my mind, and I enrolled in catering school. When my parents saw what I had achieved, they began to understand my decision: they realised it was my whole life.”
Does food feed the soul as well as the body?
It definitely feeds the body and the senses, but it can also affect our soul or rather the way we feel. I’ll give you an example. I’m a huge football fan, and I support Barcelona. If my team wins, or plays well but loses, it puts me in a good mood. Similarly, when I go to the restaurant, the food I eat can change my mood: I might go in angry but leave happy.”
What are lunch and dinner like at “Inkiostro”?
It’s all about discovering new flavours. There’s a vegetable garden behind the restaurant where we grow unusual plants like fish mint, which I use in my cooking….”
What does your increasing influence as a chef mean to you?
The more influential you are, the more there is to do… You have to work as hard as you can. When you start out on this journey, you know it will be uphill, and that you’ll have to give people joy and enthusiasm, not anger or tiredness. It’s joy and enthusiasm, not food, that customers really appreciate.”

Mariagrazia Villa

Photographs: Adriano Mauri


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