By Emanuele Stefanori & Michela Guida, translated into English by Ruth Stephens
Chapter 2 – Meet the Agnolottis!
“Where’s Stefano? In the kitchen already?”
It’s 10 o’clock and Carla has just arrived in the restaurant. Oreste greets his wife, nodding in response to her question.
“Mm, something smells good! What’s on the menu today?”
“I’ve no idea, you’d better ask your son. You know how he likes to create a different dish every day to put on the blackboard outside,” Oreste replies, approvingly, “He’s so keen, you can tell he really enjoys his work.”
Carla goes through into the kitchen while Oreste turns his attention to the computer, to check his emails and open the post which has just been delivered. Signor Agnolotti is now in his sixties. Although he doesn’t have his father Ettore’s moustache, instead sporting a well-trimmed grey beard and a pair of shaded glasses on his button-like nose, he does bear a strong resemblance to him. Though not very tall and having put on a bit of weight over the years, he is still very active and dynamic. Having some years ago relinquished his post in the kitchen, he now, with Carla, occupies himself solely with the running of the restaurant.
“Chiara, there’s an invoice just arrived from a shop in Milan….is it for something you ordered?”
“Yes, Papa, I can explain it, but let me at least take my jacket off first!”
Chiara, the younger daughter of Oreste and Carla, has just appeared in the doorway. Like her papa’, her face bears a resemblance to that of her grandfather Ettore. Petite in stature, she has dark brown eyes and long hair of the same colour. Tying it back into a ponytail she joins her father and glances at the invoice on the table.
“Good! They’ve even given us a small discount….”
Signor Oreste, muttering to himself, looks at her, still awaiting an explanation.
“It’s OK, Papa, it’s for those new tablecloths I bought on the Internet a few weeks ago. Don’t you remember? You agreed to it….”
Now 26, Chiara has worked in the restaurant since leaving school. She started out as a waitress and now has responsibility for the running of the dining room. From the furnishings to the arrangement of the tables, from the selection of the crockery and the placements to the welcoming of the clients, Chiara carries out her duties with dedication and professionalism. In addition to her creativity, she is very patient and the only one of the family that manages to work in close contact with her father and tolerate his rather anxious and apprehensive character.
“How many bookings do we have for lunch today?” asks Stefano, emerging from the kitchen.
“Wait while I check,” replies Oreste.
“I need to know how much risotto al tartufo to prepare….”
Thirty years old, tall and well built with his thick, red hair gathered up inside his chef’s hat, Stefano has always been his father’s pride. In him Oreste has placed all his hopes of carrying on the family tradition, ever since Stefano was a small child. Having first attended catering college, encouraged by his father, Stefano went on to study at an academy of haute cuisine. Now, as the restaurant’s chef, he decides the menu and for some years now has begun to modernise the old recipes which were handed down from generation to generation.
“Well, Papà? How many bookings? …Papà, do you hear me?”
Stefano suddenly realises that his father is transfixed in front of his computer screen, as if hypnotised…
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