Monday 25 January 2016
In 1993 Annie Feolde was the first female chef outside France (the first two were Mère Brazier and Mère Bourgeois in Lyon, in the Fifties – she was the third overall) to win three Michelin stars. To put that achievement into context, there is currently only another three-star female chef in Italy and a total of just six in the world. Born in Nice, Feolde’s path to the top has been unorthodox to say the least.
Coming from a hoteliers’ family and knowing well the sacrifices she had experienced, she did not want to follow their footprints: she started working for the French postal service in Paris but soon realized that job was too boring. She decided to turn to tourism and, in order to improve the knowledge of foreign languages, she moved to England first and Florence in a later stage. It was while waitressing at a restaurant in downtown Florence that she met future husband Giorgio Pinchiorri. In 1972, they started working for Enoteca Nazionale; in 1979 they became its owners and still run the restaurant today.
A meal at Enoteca Piniorri is all about fine living. Housed in the ground floor of an 18th century former palace (with an hotel on the upper floors) in the narrow streets of Florence close to the world famous neo-Gothic Basilica di Santa Croce, the series of dining rooms feature high, frescoed ceilings, 19th century Tuscan artworks, elegant furnishings and beautiful floral displays.
The Michelin Guide describes the restaurant as ‘one of Florence’s temples of gourmet dining’ with ‘highly skillful, imaginative and innovative cuisine’ an attributes demonstrated by dishes such as amberjack marinated in extra virgin
olive oil, coffee and roasted shallot with pearl barley, rosemary and mussels marinara and lobster, apples and turnips with lemongrass flavour, coral sauce. The wine cellar, overseen by Giorgio Pinchiorri holds about 70,000 bottles and is regarded as world class with over 4000 different bins comprising some of the rarest and most valuable wines on the planet.
In 1992, Feolde and Pinchiorri opened Enoteca Pinchiorri Tokyo (now closed) and in 2008, launched Enoteca Pinchiorri in Nagoya, Japan’s fourth most populated city. Although Feolde no longer cooks in the kitchen, she supervises every aspect of the restaurant and personally welcomes guests. Along with Pinchiorri, she plays an ambassadorial role for Italian food and wine around the world.
In addition to guide book recognition, Feolde’s long list of awards and accolades includes Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite award by the French Republic, Fiorino d’Oro (the highest prize of the city of Florence) Personnalité de l’Année, Distinction Internationale awarded in Paris in 1987, the Caterina de Medici International Award, Relais & Châteaux Woman of the Year 2008 and the 2013 Antica Compagnia del Paiolo prize, awarded by Accademia Italiana della Cucina.
Annie Feolde's Obsession 16 Menu:
TORTIGLIONE CACIO E PEPE
CHEESE & PEPPER RICE TORTIGLIONE
Quartet Brut, Roederer Estate, California, USA, NV
SAN PIETRO CON ZABAGLIONE ALL’ACETO
JOHN DORY WITH VINEGAR ZABAGLIONE
Riesling, Les Pierrets, Josmeyer, Alsace, France, 2009
RISOTTO CON BRODO DI PICCIONE, FAVE DI CACAO TOSTATE E SPEZIE
RISOTTO WITH PIGEON BROTH, SPICES AND ROASTED COCOA NIBS
Marsala, Superiore Riserva Secco, Vito Curatolo Arini, Sicily, Italy, NV
VITELLO, PORCINI, TARTUFO NERO, SALSA AL MARSALA, INSALATA DI PUNTARELLE
VEAL, TRUFFLE, MARSALA SAUCE, SALAD PUNTERELLA
Flaccianello della Pieve, Fontodi, Tuscany, Italy, 2009
CONSISTENZE DI CIOCCOLATO TOSCANO E PANFORTE
DIFFERENT TEXTURES OF TUSCAN CHOCOLATE AND PANFORTE
Niepoort, Colheita Port, Portugal, 2001
Images from Annie Feolde's Obsession Evening: