If you look for the name of the Sicilian Blind Chef Anthony Andaloro on the web you will discover that until a few years ago it did not exist. Anthony was in fact born in 2013 when Antonio Andaloro had lost his sight and, after a period of depression, a new season of life began.
It is a different and in some ways exciting season. Not better or worse, but a totally new phase of savouring life and relationships with others. And if you meet him face to face you will always find him smiling!
But let’s start from the beginning in order to better tell the birth of Anthony and his incredible adventure of being one of the few blind chefs in the world.
Antonio’s problems with eyes already had come when he was a child and he was just 6 years old. He was practically visually impaired for most of his life and had hoped in vain for technology and surgery.
Anthony is the rebirth but also his new challenge to help all people who have physical problems and who come to the edge of depression.
“It’s not losing sight that creates the real problems. In fact my life has been reborn and I am an example of how nothing is lost and now I have a 2 and a half year old son and a job that takes me all over the world.
The real problem is feeling alone and not having the strength to face the change.”
Antonio’s earlier life had also been driven by the desire to challenge conventions and, as a visually impaired, he had chosen to become a master decorator. A profession that he practiced until the total worsening of the disease.
Then with blindness came depression.
“Then for 7 years I studied to become a ‘fusion / innovation / sensorial’ chef. And it could not be otherwise because the senses are the ones that guide me in the preparation of dishes and in the choice of pairings. ”
Today there are 4 blind chefs in the world: 2 in Italy (Anthony and Antonio Ciotola from Ancona) and 2 in Chicago (Laura Martinez and Christine Ha, a Vietnamese winner of the American edition of Masterchef in 2012).
But let’s go back to Anthony, his kitchen and the events he organizes: the sensory dinners. For those who have already had experience of ‘dinners in the dark’ (often organized by many organizations of blinds to make people with normal sight understand their situation), Anthony’s are different. The light is very dim but not absent, you dine by candlelight and blindfolded but if you have panic attacks or discomfort you can take off the blindfold.
Before COVID he had organized 142 sensory events around the world, most notably in Cappadocia in Turkey.
It should be emphasized that all these events serve to finance philanthropic associations that deal not only with blinds but with those with disabilities in general. In fact, this is Anthony’s true strength, that of having become an example of strength, a true ‘warrior’ who can help others with his positivity.
Today Anthony Andaloro is Blind Chef Ambassador, famous all over the world and an example for those like him. He was awarded by UNESCO in 2017 with the Quality Food award and appointed Chef Ambassador of Solidarity in 2019. He is trustee of the disability sector of the Sicily region of the Disciples D ‘Auguste Escoffier.
Disability then became a strength that gave him unimaginable peace and energy when he was still uncertain of his condition. Today he has remarried and has a two and a half year old son that he simply sees with different eyes.
He created the television format “I don’t see us from hunger but I see with my senses” produced by Me.Pa. Production, which is shot for web TV in particular in Sicily where he was born. He comes from the province of Messina and from there he is broadcasting on EventiMessinaweb TV channel yuotube e page FB to reach his audience in Italy and around the world. An audience that awaits him and follows him with passion.
However, his passion is fusion cuisine where the Mediterranean brings together East and West. And as an example of this continuous search for new dimensions and gastronomic experiences, plunging into a journey beyond the dark with his taste buds, he presents us with a very simple but very tasteful recipe.
Recipe of Braids with Pistachio Pesto, Almond Flakes and Speck
Ingredients for 4 people:
- Fresh Pasta (Braided format or to your liking) 320 gr
- Speck Alto Adige PGI 200 gr
- Bronte DOP Pistachio Flour 100 gr
- Toritto Almond Slices 50 gr
- Pecorino Romano DOP 50 gr
- A knob of Butter
- Extra virgin olive oil to taste
- Salt and Pepper to Taste.
Bring the water for the pasta to the boil in a saucepan and add salt and in the meantime prepare the pesto. Put the pistachio flour and pecorino Romano in a bowl, pour a little extra virgin olive oil and mix until a homogeneous mixture is obtained.
While you wait for the water to boil for cooking the pasta, brown the speck with a knob of butter in a pan.
Drain the pasta and combine everything in a Wok adding the almond slices. Sauté for a few minutes and serve by sprinkling a handful of pecorino on top.
Wine? I would combine pistachio pesto with a white wine “Grillo” from a native Sicilian vine.