How Riccardo’s was born
"I remember visiting Florence in 1994. Having learned to cook I now wanted some regional experience, and decided to start in Tuscany, where my father comes from. I always enjoyed visiting my Grandmother in Tuscany; she cooked delicious things for my brother and me and everyone adored her food.
I was staying with some good friends, and one night they took me to a little place about an hour out of town.We arrived and the room was full of people.We sat in the middle of a long table, and there were other people we didn’t know at each end.A very pleasant young man came up to us and said … “there’s no menu here … but I know you’re going to love the food … because my Mama’s in the kitchen!” … he then brought warm bread and placed a small bowl in front of each of us … he proceeded to come out of the kitchen with the food, all still in enormous pans with a serving spoon in each.We had antipasti, pastas, meat, salad and vegetables, and most were brought to us in the pan! The whole restaurant ate the same food at the same time… when he ran out of one thing, he’d go back into the kitchen and come out with another pan of a different type of pasta, or other course.
… He was right … we loved the food … it was extraordinarily good!
From this experience, the concept of Riccardo’s was born. I amended things slightly, but still in the Tuscan style of enabling each person to try a little bit of everything … and share with friends and family … and you can eat this way at Riccardo’s if you wish!
And so evolved the idea of small, starter-size dishes. Although I didn’t have my Mama in the kitchen, I went to visit as many other people’s Mamas and Grandmamas, uncles and aunts as I could find, and many had a favourite recipe they were delighted to share.They were all so helpful and welcoming, and proud to think that their ancestors recipes were being sent overseas. For example, our recipe for Ribolita has been developed from a recipe handed down over six generations of the Pracchia Signorini family of Florence and I still have a copy of the original recipe.
When I opened Riccardo’s in 1995 I came up with the idea of having a list menu … not dividing the menu into sections … no starters, main courses etc … at Riccardo’s you decide for yourself the order of the dishes … what you want to eat … no starters, no mains … just great tasting dishes in the order of your choice. Healthier foods for you and your family."
Thank you for helping us to carry on a great tradition of serving freshly cooked, delicious home-made Tuscan foods.