Cucina Locale is an Italian Restaurant located right on Highway 7 and Main Street Unionville. First opened in 2013, the restaurant is operated by a small family business that has prior experience from their first two restaurants in Montreal. The owner Graziano prides himself in creating the best authentic Italian dishes, offering a variety of dishes that are inspired by traditional Italian cuisines back home.
This interview that was conducted allowed for a greater understanding in the ways that restaurant owners identify themselves as authentic, and their idea of what authentic means to them. Through this perspective, viewers are able to get the sense of how the term ‘authenticity’ can vary in different context, implying complexity in the usage of the term. In this particular interview, the owner took the direction that simplicity is authenticity, implying that basic ingredients is key when creating Italian dishes.
Graziano pays specific attention to simplicity. He prepares the pizza base is hand-made, as opposed to being machine-pressed. This choice distances the food from mass-production as care and detail is taken in preparation. Graziano mentions that Italian food is meant to be simple, and this accomplishes two things at once. First and foremost, of course, he establishes the place of simplicity in Italian cuisine. Many Italians have historically criticized the classification of foods rich in meat, cheese, and so forth as Italian because Italian cuisine only underwent this transformation around 1900, when the vast numbers of Italian migrants coming to the United States used the large amounts of mass-produced ingredients to “enrichen” their foods. Secondly and related to the first point, Graziano makes a historical connection to how Italian food is meant to be prepared. The combination of these two elements evokes authenticity which appeals to different groups of people: foodies, those that have been to Italy, and indeed those looking for authentically Italian food for whatever reason. At the same time, Graziano celebrates his own ethnicity by cooking the way his mother did for him.
Visit Cucina Locale’s website here.