“If there's a downside to Barrio, it's probably really only that it isn't closer to my house.” – Pat Nourse
New Barrio chef Daniela Maiorano was ‘born into the kitchen’ in Abruzzo, Italy, and as a fourth-generation chef she’s very aware that to make something special in the kitchen, you do need to view the process as more than just a job. She takes her kitchen team to meet farmers so that they understand to take care of produce in the kitchen, because they know where it comes from.
‘In my family my parents were so busy all the time working and in the restaurant that all they could do was cook and feed us with this love’, she says. `I love working with producers, farmers … I love to see a beautiful vegetable in the garden and transform it into something in the kitchen, but most of all I love watching people eat my food and smile.’
This process of meeting growers from the very nearby area, transforming local produce with collaboration, cooking and sharing the love with the local community is something that she believes complements the ethos at Barrio, which ‘is all around local mentality’, she says. But to this she brings her own flair. ‘I love cooking, I love experimenting with new dishes’, but it must be ‘authentic’.
‘Of course, I’m Italian and I’m going to bring my own tradition, it’s going to be comfort food with great technique.’ Whether that involves making ravioli the way her father taught her, or drawing on memories of helping her grandmother roll gnocchi and shape sourdough for the daily service, Daniela feels that the kitchen is her true passion and calling, and her cooking is all about bringing people together.
When she returns to her home town of Sulmona, in Abruzzo, Italy, she will cook excellent, traditional Abruzzese food in her family restaurant, Ristorante Clemente (named after her great-grandfather, and now headed up by her renowned father Clemente). But expect to find new dishes on the menu here at Barrio, perhaps using new interesting produce made especially for chefs by her friends at The Farm, or wild mushrooms sourced from a wild mushroom forager. Whatever direction the menu takes, ‘I think people are going to like what they see coming’, says Daniela.