The chef of the La Perla del Mare restaurant in Livorno tells how two worlds so different from each other have come to life in her kitchen
The verdant plains of the countryside, the bright beaches bathed by sea water, chef Deborah Corsi takes them with her to the kitchen of the La Perla del Mare restaurant in San Vincenzo, in the province of Livorno, members of the Jeunes Restaurateurs d’Europe association. On the horizon you can see the profile of the islands of Capraia, Corsica and the island of Elba. For Deborah, the land and the sea are not separate realities, but bridges that led her to discover her passion for culinary art. Influenced by the traditions of the hinterland and stimulated by the creativity brought by the waves, she tells her experience straddling these two worlds.
How did your passion for cooking come about?
“It was born from childhood. When I was little I used to go to the countryside with my grandparents. I grew up in contact with genuine raw materials. I remember how my grandmother cooked and I always saw country cooking as something genuine”.
Land or sea cuisine? Which one attracts you most?
“I love them both. At the beginning I started with the one tied to the earth and even earlier with white meats. The simple countryside environment favored these types of dishes. Game, such as wild boar and hare, was also cooked, especially during hunting. The sea came later. Having grown up in San Vincenzo, I feel its waters flowing through my veins. I carry these two worlds in my heart and I like to combine them in my dishes”.
Which of your dishes define this union?
“One of these is a ravioli where there is both pork and red shrimp, served with a zucchini puree and a red tomato mousse. During the winter we also offer pigeon and oysters. Then there is the red mullet, from the Livorno tradition, with a liver paté”.
What is your philosophy in the kitchen?
“When I cook a dish, every ingredient must be felt, in order to create a balance of flavors. It is not a simple thing, but I aim to offer a creative cuisine that respects tradition. All the ingredients are important and it is good to know how to enhance them”.
What do you see for the future?
“We are seeing how the situation will evolve also during the winter months. Fortunately the restart has been good and we hope to keep this level even further. However, I want to continue my passion for a cuisine linked to the territory. Maintaining our origins and traditions, also giving them a little chilli pepper and a slice of creativity that must never be missing”.