Chef Alessandro Gargani and his business partner (and wife), Elizabeth D’Alessandro encourage the harmonious co-existence of art and delicious Italian cooking at their Florence restaurant, La Cucina de la Garga, co-founded by Gargani's mother chef Sharon Oddson, where artists are invited after hours to decorate tablecloths with sketches and drawings. Gargani and his mother recreated the atmosphere of La Cucina del Garga at The Daily Meal kitchen, where Italian children’s book illustrators sat busily sketching on tablecloths and scents of freshly-made Italian food wafted from the kitchen.
“Cooking and art are related, but cooking is the work of an artisan, not an artist,” said Oddson. “25 years ago when we opened the restaurant, my husband and I would sit down with our friends after hours and draw on the tablecloths. We drew on what we had because we didn’t have money for canvases and it became a tradition.”
On the menu for the evening were anchovy bruschetta with vodka sauce, croquettes stuffed with ricotta and eggplant, tagliatelle (a flat noodle-like Italian pasta shape), fried codfish with a spicy sauce, polenta with sausage, crostini topped with black kale and beans, and chocolate tartines for dessert.
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Joanna Fantozzi is an Associate Editor with The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @JoannaFantozzi