ANGELICA GIANNUZZI

Gambero Rosso’s 2023 pastry chef of the year and head pastry chef of michelin-starred restaurant Pashà in Conversano Puglia on resilience, creative dishes born in dark times, and returning to her roots
By GIOVANNA G. BONOMO
April, 2023

Born in 1982, in Castellana Grotte, in Puglia, Angelica Giannuzzi of the Michelin-starred Pashà Ristorante in Conversano (Ba) is the recipient of the Pastry Chef of the Year Award in Gambero Rosso’s new 2023 Guida Ristoranti d’Italia. But Giannuzzi has not always lived in Puglia. After graduating, she left her comfort zone in Castellana to expand her training in Italy and abroad. “I faced my biggest challenge when I was 18, when I went to the other side of Italy, to Bolzano, against my parent’s wishes. I left because I felt that if I went beyond the borders of my hometown, I would be able to fulfill myself professionally.”

Passion, Curiosity and Perseverance: The three ingredients that drive you to perfect yourself daily

— Angelica Giannuzzi

Pastry Chef Angelica Giannuzzi, currently Head Pastry Chef at Michelin-Starred restaurant Pasha’ in Conversano Puglia, was trained under Three-Star Michelin Chef Carlo Cracco and Enrico Crippa, who themselves were trained under the guidance of Gualtiero Marchesi, the founder of modern Italian cuisine.

 

My passion for creating desserts drove me to acquire the technical and practical skills necessary to become a pastry chef.

— Angelica Giannuzzi
Angelica’s specialty: Panna Cotta alle Mandorle

I wanted to work in a restaurant with great ambitions.

—Angelica Giannuzzi

From Viganò Brianza to Alba in Piedmont, to Milan and Luxembourg, Giannuzzi’s most notable collaborations have been alongside the world’s most acclaimed chefs, notably Carlo Cracco, Enrico Crippa (one of Master Gualtiero Marchesi’s favorite students) and Luca Montersino. Giannuzzi felt the need to work abroad to expand her culinary horizons. “I went away for two years, and I remember the sensation upon returning to Italy—this sense of belonging. I couldn’t wait to come back—my heart just opened up. And that was just after a few short years. I can’t imagine those who have spent a lifetime away. Home is where you feel well. Home is where you find your dimension. Italians who have gone abroad have a greater sense of Italianita’ — what it means to be Italian, the deep missing of Italy; perhaps we Italians who are here don’t realize what we have—becoming desensitized to that which those who have gone away remember. Italians who leave experience Italy differently. While Giannuzzi, Head Pastry Chef at Pasha’, believes in the importance of travel to learn about other cultures, cuisines and traditions, but eventually returned to Puglia with her long-time partner in life and work Antonio Zaccardi, Head Chef at Ristorante Pashà. “I decided to come back to Italy because I missed all the products here, the Italian sun, and I wanted to work in a restaurant with great ambitions.”

Ristorante Pashà was recently included in the list of the 50 Best Italian Restaurants 2023 in the Great Restaurants category, a ranking curated by food critics Luciano Pignataro, Albert Sapere and Barbara Guerra

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Resistance brings out our determination

— Angelica Giannuzzi

Created after the first lockdown in 2020 and inspired by Italy’s classic Tiramisù, Italiasù is an ovation to the nation. The boot-shaped dessert chronicles the story of regional, simple ingredients that rose to pinnacles of recognition. “We wanted to create something that could impact the re-opening of Italy, representing Italy and the typical dessert Tiramisu. Italiasú is a symbol of rebirth and a restart.” The precise silhouette of the boot-shaped country is made from the classic recipe with mascarpone cream, with two local variants: Almond paste and Elisir San Marzano Borsci (San Marzano is in the Southern part of Puglia called Salento, which is the most renowned for its noble wines, liquors, and tomatoes) topped with coffee powder, cocoa and Carafin (an aromatic caramel flavored sugar), topped off and balanced with cocoa bean shavings for a touch of crunch.

Italiasù (a neologism derived from Italia and Tiramisù) is an ode to Italy and its revival that precisely reproduces the contours of the Italian peninsula, made with mascarpone, icing sugar and two typical Apulian ingredients: San Marzano liqueur and almonds.
Angelica Giannuzzi presents Italiasú in the upcoming feature-length documentary Lost & Found in Italy: In Search of La Nuova Vita. From left to right, Angelica Giannuzzi, L&F Italy Art Editor Michal Cole, and L&F Italy Editor-in-Chief Giovanna Bonomo

When love is the secret ingredient, the sweetness goes straight to the heart.

— Angelica Giannuzzi

“Una Serata al Cinema” (A night at the cinema), also known as The popcorn dessert, is another example of a culinary artwork born out of the darkest days of lockdown. A treasure hunt of ingredients and emotions, Una Serata al Cinema is a mix of sophisticated architecture with passion fruit gel, toffee, cornflakes, caramel, chocolate, corn, pudding, and popcorn powder that, from an olfactory perspective, kindles the experience of being in a movie theater, hence the name. The deep-fried corn noodle topping adds a carefree flair.

Una Serata al Cinema” created during lockdown provokes fond memories of happy times spent at the theatre.

My work is a source of inspiration for me. It has changed how I taste, smell, think, listen, and feel emotions, contributing to my success.

— Angelica Giannuzzi