Filippo was born and raised in Palermo in 1960 and later moved to Rome, where he initially worked as a photojournalist. His progression into cooking wasn’t a conventional one – he was a self-taught home cook and at the age of 42 he changed his professional career direction and became a chef. Filippo opened a restaurant in Rome that within just a few years set the standard for fine dining in Rome. One of Italy’s most renowned and beloved chefs, he publishes recipes in the most read magazines of the foodie world. Filippo is a well-known TV celebrity; he was a judge on “The Chef”, an Italian culinary talent show that aired on Mediaset networks. For years Filippo has been the Ambassador of the Cous Cous Festival, an international gastronomic event dedicated to cultural integration and those with a passion for Mediterranean cuisine, which attracts 250,000 visitors every year. In 2015 he opened the Filippo La Mantia Oste & Cuoco restaurant in downtown Milan, which was an immediate success due to its cuisine based on his profound love for tradition, conviviality and flavours of Sicily. His is a “feeling” cuisine, animated by adrenaline and by the memory of home flavours from the island which he grew up on.
One of the most acclaimed and Sicilian chefs in Italy and Europe, Palermo-born Filippo La Mantia puts his Sicilian heart and sense of conviviality in each signature dish he develops. Everything about Chef La Mantia spells Mediterranean tradition and love for the island he calls home.
Born in Mazara del Vallo on the west coast of Sicily in 1977, Meo Fusciuni spent his youth in the Sicilian coastal countryside where generations of his family who were fishermen and navigators lived. He left Sicily for northern Italy, and the province of Piacenza, to study and grow his passion with an upper diploma in Industrial Chemistry. In 2002, Meo enrolled in the Faculty of Pharmacy in Parma, achieving a degree in Herbal Techniques. Whilst there, his passion for botany and anthropology came alive. He developed a personal aptitude for ethnobotany in the Arab world, and also collaborated with the journal PhytoNews to write a column. A key chapter for Meo came in his post-graduate years, when he worked with theatre company Lenz Rifrazioni in Parma. This is where he was introduced to his true masters of life, Rilke and Holderlin, who he has celebrated through his work today with the dedication of a fragrance named Notturno. During these years he also met Federica Castellani, his life partner and now Artistic Marketing Director of the Meo Fusciuni project. His interest in aromatherapy started at university and his strong bond with the school of Valnet led him into the world of perfumes, where his skills and passion are all self-taught. His expertise grew and in 2010 the Meo Fusciuni project was born. Meo likes to describe himself as an “aromatario”. This expression also manifests itself in olfactory installations that Meo has created, such as “Icon”, “L’oblìo” and “Olfactory Memories of a Lifetime”, which have all been exhibited in places where people get in touch with their deep sense of smell.
The scents and aromas of the Mediterranean are never far away from Perfume Maker Meo Fuscini’s creations. Growing up in a coastal village in rural Sicily, his love of organic sensations led him to dedicating his life to translating his olfactory memory into poetic fragrances. His unique sense of identity is what makes his product portfolio so special.
Pierpaolo Ruta is the sixth generation of the Bonajuto family who own and run the longest-lasting chocolate factory in Sicily, which is over one hundred years old. Born and schooled in Modica in 1972, Pierpaolo grew up surrounded by the confectionary business his grandfather built. From an early age, he assisted his grandfather with the intention of continuing the family business, which happened in 1992 when he officially started working. Since that day, his commitment to enhance Modica confectionary has continued to grow, with particular focus on a special type of chocolate produced with using ancient techniques involving low temperatures. This technique has gained Antica Dolceria Bonajuto its worldwide recognition, with Pierpaolo at the helm, and international attention from newspapers including the New York Times to the Wall Street Journal. Pierpaolo’s greatest commitment to the family confectionary business has been to garner as much knowledge as possible about the world of chocolate. Consequently, this has seen him travel to many cocoa-producing countries such as Sao Tome, Ecuador, Peru, Dominican Republic, Columbia and Venezuela. In January 2018, he hosted a series of lectures in Tokyo titled “Cocoa and Chocolates from around the World” for an audience of chocolate personalities from around the globe.
The heir of a six-generation confectionary trade that brought Sicilian chocolate to the world stage, Pierpaolo Ruta grew up surrounded by the proud family legacy of the Antica Dolceria Bonajuto in Modica. Whether he’s traveling the world in search of the world’s best cacao or giving conferences and lectures, his passion embodies the essence of his native land.
Alice was born in 1975 in Catania, where she continues to live and work. After she graduated at the University of Pisa, at the Faculty of Conservation of Cultural Heritage, Alice returned to Sicily to practice painting in the Studio of the honored Master Domenico Di Mauro, where she became dazzled by the decorative and chromatic framework of traditional Sicilian carts. This intricate and detail style of cart painting became her initial point of inspiration and reference for her personal and colorful reinterpretation of the traditional theme applied on furniture and objects. Over the years, Alice has continued to broaden her knowledge across the many aspects of Sicilian Folk and has focused on the expression of a variegated concept of "sicilianità". This strong feeling for time-honored tradition led her to her own, contemporary interpretation of the iconic symbols, faces and myths of Sicilian popular culture, with an ironic and nostalgic mood. She now lends her creativity and skill to several collaborations in the field of home decoration, fashion, cinema and design. Some of her latest collaborations include the label design for the Averna Magnum bottle series of 2016 and 2017, and the "Art Refrigerators" for Smeg - Dolce&Gabbana.
Alice Valenti’s pure artistic style has made her a worldwide ambassador of Sicilian folk art. From furniture design and home decor to fashion and cinema, her unique intricate and detailed vision celebrates the colorful myths and symbols of popular Sicilian culture with a contemporary twist, and she proudly left her mark on Averna’s 150th limited-edition label.
Maurizio Giulio ROSK Gebbia and Mirko LOSTE Cavallotto were born and raised in Caltanisetta, Sicily. They first united their artistic talents in art school in 2004 through fanzines, school books and a variety of inspirations that led them to the rich and diverse world of street art. In 2007, a meeting with the famous artist Belin changed their painting style and made them more aware of the importance of details as well as exploring and perfecting the figurative style. They moved to Palermo to get further training at the Academy of Fine Arts and their style got closer to the Palermitan artistic style and launched their first exhibition shortly after. It was just a matter of time before their talent spread across Italy and the rest of Europe, as they accumulated commissioned work for prestigious brands such as Ceres, Stella McCartney or the ministry project Inward and even reached Brazil and Argentina. For Rosk and Loste, the fundamental mission of street art is to renew and redevelop with time and carve out beauty in parts of a landscape that has no apparent appeal, such as run-down neighborhoods in Naples or Catania. From dreamlike depictions to portraits or still-life paintings juxtaposed in new color shades, the two artists always pick subjects with great care and carry out their work with attention to detail and poetry.
The leaders of the street art movement in Sicily, this artistic duo has left a unique mark on the Palermitan landscape. Although their work and vision took them to the four corners of Europe, they have remained true to their native land’s values and unique artistic characteristics.
Born and raised in Menfi, in the Sicilian province of Agrigento, Peppe Cantone has become an Instagram reference for foodies and lovers of Sicilian culture everywhere. He grew up loving the land his father cultivated and followed his footsteps when he became a farmer himself. In 2013, he joined Instagram and took the world of social media by storm, promoting Sicilian culture and gastronomy through a gallery of captivating pictures.
No one has ever paid tribute to his homeland the way Peppe Cantone has successfully shed light on Sicilian food culture on Instagram. Today, he is one of most renowned Italian social influencers and a reference for authentic Sicilian experiences.