I was born in Carpi in Modena in 1973. I was the first boy and youngest child in my family. From here, I went onto graduate with a degree in photography and graphic advertising from an Art Institute. Among the many jobs I have completed during my life, for what seemed an unlikely circumstance I ended up working in a kitchen – It was love at first sight. Now, at 41 years of age I have grown with experience to accomplish a position as executive chef specializing in traditional Italian cuisine.
Good question! I am a chef, or, better referred to as: a traditional cook. Today, I am living my American dream through helping to build and establish ‘Piccolo Café’. I work as partner and head chef with the two people dearest to my heart, Michele and Alberto. For the last 5 years we have nurtured the growth of Piccolo café in New York City and have expanded to 4 small restaurants and a catering service. I often get asked what I do with my free time (If I have any). Without fail I reply that I am constantly enjoying my job. I love my family, good food, paint, travel, clothes, watches, riding my bike around the city, dancing myself senseless, making a difference to peoples lives… and of course my beard.
My Grandfather Giovanni, Mr. Michele Casadei Massari, the American Dream, to live in an artists loft in Brooklyn, Starsky and Hutch (even though they weren’t from NYC)! The challenge that only New York can give you, the element of success which becomes embedded in your soul. The passion of a chefs ‘mood- for-food’ and the sheer variety of food that can only be experienced in New York. All this and the pride of being an Italian immigrant.
There are too many! The best one however is more than simply a memory. What I value most is the acknowledgment of everything we’ve built here from scratch. The realization of people recognizing me on the streets, the familiarity within both Manhattan and Brooklyn. It is crazy! My worst memory is bound to be the first few months I spent here when I initially arrived. Opening restaurants, teaching the Italian working system in a different continent, thinking Italian whilst speaking Spanish and English, not knowing either. I could write a book about my journey, “Business in NY from the mind of an Aquarius”.
I chose this location because this is where Piccolo’s American Dream started; I still thank Gandhi’s statue and Union Square for my inspiration.
My choice of attire, being the narcissist I am, after trying on every possible combination in my wardrobe, I ended up forgetting to pick up the Laundry. So, I’m afraid, I wore the only clean clothes I could find at 6.30 AM for the shoot!
Ta tara ta, tara rat ta ta ta ta taa… fraaateeeellliii d’Itaaliaaa… Great job guys! Nothing less to be said. Alexo…Ladies and Gentlemen…Is a genius! He condensed 100 and more dreams into his own. He found other dreamers who believed in ITALIANY materializing it in a vision for those who will join. It’s the vision of those 100 plus dreamers who came together, sharing their story of how they immigrated and made themselves in New York, illustrated and bound. As I said: pure genius!
It’s an immense responsibility fueled by a great pride. It means to try and be true to your feelings, it’s the expression of the world’s history and it’s many flavors, cultures and behaviors. I’m proud to be MADE IN ITALY, the good with the bad. It’s the daily routine away from home.