They say you shouldn’t mix business with pleasure, and yet five international friends have found both in Valencia, via London and Orlando.
Vicios Italianos is the name of their company, which currently operates five restaurants in Valencia and is planning two more.
The five friends are Vincenzo Cancilleri, who is a cook from Sicily as well as a partner, Laura Motolese, Paola De Vero, Alessandro Romitelli from Foligno; all of them Italians, plus Paul Doyen, who is Belgian, from Tourné near Lille.
Their first and flagship restaurant is Pappardella, next to the Miguelete tower, a two storey restaurant a little like a cockpit, with an open centre where you can look down, or up, at the action.
But the story begins in Assissi, where Laura and Paula, both from the Adriatic coastal town of Pesaro, studied and became friends, before moving on to Orlando, and finally London, where the five had the idea of an fun experiment; a spaghetti restaurant at Cullera, just south of Valencia.
The experiment went quite well, and they ended up in Valencia, where they tried another experiement, the Bodega del Ozzio in the Na Jordana area of the old city.
They soon realised they were on to a good thing and enjoyed working together, and so they set about opening La Pappardella, to put into practise their philosophy of a restaurant that was authentically Italian without being typically Italian.
Things moved fast and within a few months they had already moved onto their second project, the Al Pomodoro in Calle del Mar.
The need to offer authentic Italian food meant that they had to import Italian produce, and so they set up their own importation and distribution company, Il Magazzino, which is now located in an old town house in Massamagrell, a premises they have plans to take advantage of, bearing in mind its authentic period architecture.
The next stage was a venture into the world of franchising, and the opening of three restaurants around the city in Alameda, Ruzafa and Cánovas , where customers could sip and nibble genuine Italian food with a flair for combining traditional and experimental cuisine, Sorsi e Morsi.
20 years have passed since London, Orlando and Cullera brought their talents together, and they have been celebratng in style in the spring of 2016 with various events such as showcase cooking, and of course the two new restaurants in the Patacona area of Valencia, planned for the spring and summer of 2016.
La Pappardella continues its focus on pasta, with 24 different kinds on the menu, while Al Pomodoro leans towards Pizza (not Pisa, ha, ha) and has 28 on offer, including the intriguing black pizza.
However, all the restaurants of the group shy away from the stereotype of Italian cuisine, offering an air of modernity both in the food, the decór and in the presentation.
Business and pleasure it seems can work; and their business is Valencia’s pleasure.