There are many terms used to describe Chef Giancarla Bodoni. Not only is she a brilliant chef Miami foodies have loved since the opening of her resto, Escopazzo, in '93, but she is a self-proclaimed artist and speaks and understands five languages. Patti La Belle, Michelle Pfeiffer, Janet Jackson, Harrison Ford, Mikhail Gorbachev have visited the Zagat-rated "exceptional" resto. Here, she gives us a peek into a day in her life, which includes making vegan raw wraps, something called a Vita-prep and, most likely, cheese.
I'm sure all the dishes on each of your menus are like your children, but if you had to choose only one dish from the menu, which ones are you most proud of?
My vegan raw wrap. I came across raw food years ago and decided to incorporate it into my menu. They have become very popular. The other dish is a smoked cheese candy shaped ravioli with fresh tomato and mint with a pistachio pesto.
Most popular item on the menu?
A toss up between the asparagus flan and the pumpkin ravioli.
How would you describe Miami's dining scene?
Miami's dining scene is still shaping itself and on its way to finding its own identity. I think of it as in the adolescent stage.
The secret to cooking perfect pasta?
It is very important when you cook pasta to make sure the water is boiling and well salted. Respect the cooking time for the different types of pasta in order to cook them al dente. The longer you cook pasta the harder it is for us to digest it.
At what point did you realize you were destined to be a chef?
About 12 years ago I really wanted to get into the kitchen. I am an artist by craft and profession, so in the restaurant I really wanted to do something in the creative field and cooking suited me perfectly.
The 5 ingredients every kitchen should have?
Extra virgin olive oil, garlic, a good Parmigiano cheese, tomatoes and a box of pasta.
The 5 utensils every kitchen should have?
A Vita-prep, which is my most precious kitchen tool. A good knife, a zester, potato peeler and a spatula.
First dish you learned to make?
Meat and corn pie that my mother taught me when I was a kid.
Favorite dish to make at home?
I love to make tacos with my kids. We make all sorts of fish tacos, chicken, beef and veggie tacos. Everybody is assigned a task and we have a good time prepping.
What was it like cooking for such huge names like Mikhail Gorbachev, Patti La Belle, Harrison Ford, and even some celebrity chefs like Mario Batali and Ming Tsai?
It is always exciting to know that they will be coming to see you, but once you meet them, they are so nice that it makes it easier for me to perform. Gorbachev was really wonderful, just loves my ossobucco so much that the times he is in Miami I prepare the dish wherever he is.
What's your favorite food to eat, in other words, what could you live off of for the rest of your life if you had to?
Cheeses. I love cheeses.