In today’s interview Monica Olivieri tells us her story about being an artist first and her evolvement and involvement in to the fine dining scene, from Italy to London.

Photo of Monica Olivieri

Monica is organising an exciting food festival, Carbonara Day, which will take place on the 20th July, at Mudchute Park and Farm in London. For more information and tickets, please visit carbonaradayinlondon.co.uk.

Here’s Monica’s story.

What were you like growing up, and how would your family and friends have described you?
I grew up with candies, cured meat and all the delicatessen available on the market during the late ’70s. My grandma owned the typical Southern Italian deli shop. We were the first to have a tv because we were very wealthy thanks to her, and we could decide what to eat from the commercials on tv. She did the shopping, we tried it and then she could sell it in the shop. I was so lucky to grow up in such food heaven! I was very smart at trading, so I started to sell everything from the shop along the streets, to my friends. My reputation of being a quick learner, an entertainer, and a leader grew up among my family and friends. But what I loved most was singing to them and dancing like a famous ‘80s American showgirl.

When did you decide that food and organising events could be part of your career?
Well, I started my career in Rome, where buffet parties are the perfect arenas to see these gladiators of food diving into the banquets. So I wondered if it was my moment to give them rules, organisation, feeling – events as a dining experience.

Photo of Monica Olivieri

So what led you to launch Carbonara Day?
I pay my homage to my beloved husband who loved this dish and who was able to cook just this and Amatriciana. I also celebrate my mentor, my ‘food’ teacher, the Roman chef Arcangelo Dandini, who makes one of the most famous Carbonara in Italy.

I have my ticket – what will I expect on the day?
Eating different styles of Carbonara, listening to music, lying on the grass with a glass of Italian wine, playing with kids and, mostly, seeing the animals at the farm.

Carbonara Day Flyer

Where do you get your inspiration?
From my night dreams, from movies, romances, photography and psychology. All that surrounds me. Let’s say that I find inspiration especially in what is hidden and not revealed.

What do you do to stay educated about new trends?
I read magazines, follow bloggers, but mostly I go out dining.

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give to a young Monica?
Stay in London. Do not go to Rome! And ask for what you are worth!

And where do you see Monica Olivieri going from here?
After my husband’s death I do not look too much further. I live the moment. And right now I want just my Carbonara Day in London to be a blast!

What are you most excited about right now in the food scene?
Brexit. I’m so curious to see how importing food from the EU will effect the dining offer in UK.

Monica, it’s been great chatting today. Before you go, one last question: share with us your favourite 5 minute recipe…
Carbonara
Ingredients for 1 person:
100g of pasta (spaghetti or rigatoni)
1 yolk
30g of guanciale
30g of pecorino cheese
Water to boil the pasta
Coarse salt

Fill a pot with water and bring to a boil. Add salt and put the pasta. Meanwhile, cut the guanciale into strips and place it in the pan without other seasonings. In a large bowl put an egg yolk, the pecorino cheese and a few tablespoons of the fat from the guanciale that has melted during cooking in the pan. Emulsify everything, drain the pasta and place it in the bowl with the yolk, stirring quickly. Add the guanciale, another pecorino to adjust the density and serve immediately.

© The Pass Restaurant Marketing, 2019