THE FOODERS / MAZZO
a.k.a. Francesca Barreca and Marco Baccanelli
“This couple Francesca Barreca and Marco Baccanelli made me some of the best things that I had in all of Rome at their restaurant Mazzo. They are on the cutting edge of Roman cuisine-the traditionalists probably don’t like them, but they don’t give a sh*t, because they’re young and full of new ideas and sh*t like that. They make this pasta with crunchy sweet red chiles that have been dried and fried. No spice-just deep, smoky sweetness. It’s crazy, just olive oil and those chiles. They make another with that and mackerel. I hate mackerel, but they made me like mackerel.”
Action Bronson, F*ck that’s Delicious
“Dinner starts with ceviche of beef, the love child of northern Italy’s raw beef culture and the couple’s interest in assertive flavors from around the world. Depending on the day you can find lemongrass, cilantro, and miso – perfects strangers across Italy -canoodling with cured anchovies and handmade pastas. From there Francesca takes me through the entire menu: from the esoteric and unexpected -fried snails over a dashi-spiked potato puree, glazed pork belly with cavolo nero kimchi, to gentle riffs of the soul food you’d find in a traditional trattoria- fried artichokes dipped into an anise-spiked mayonnaise, tender pork sweetbreads with tiny candy-sweet asparagus and a slick of Mazzo’s exceptional olive oil.”
Matt Goulding, Pasta Pane Vino
“Rome’s traditional guanciale-laced pasta dishes — carbonara, amatriciana, gricia — are in no danger of extinction, but if more creative restaurants like Mazzo start opening, they might be. This tiny spot in the far-flung Centocelle neighborhood was opened in 2013 by a pair of talented young chefs intent on spinning Roman cuisine into delicious new territory. A highlight of a recent meal was rösti with Romanesco broccoli and pecorino, a dish overshadowed only by three succulent meatballs smothered in sweet caramelized onions. The snug space seats only about a dozen, between one rough-hewed communal table and a small counter, so reservations are essential.”
New York Times, 36 Hours in Rome
Gli Chef Marco Baccanelli e Francesca Barreca, classe 1981, hanno alle spalle una solida formazione nelle grandi cucine della tradizione italiana e in ristoranti stellati. Nel 2006 decidono di mettersi in proprio e creano il progetto The Fooders, che unisce arte, musica, grafica e cibo. Con questo pseudonimo creano eventi, live cooking e vere e proprie installazioni. Fra queste Microcucina, cibo/CIBO, City Bites e una serie unica di underground dinners. Nel 2013 si fermano per aprire Mazzo, un piccolissimo ristorante con un solo tavolo, dove l’altissima qualità delle materie prime diventa la loro ossessione e dove ottengono un grande successo di critica, entrando nelle migliori guide gastronomiche in poco tempo. Nel 2019 decidono di chiudere la sede fisica di MAZZO, portandolo in giro per il mondo con il tour MAZZO INVADERS, in attesa di aprire il nuovo MAZZO.
Francesca Barreca and Marco Baccanelli, 1981, have solid training in great traditional restaurants in Italy, but they have often mixed food and the world of art.
2006-2013: FOOD + ART /// With The Fooders pseudonym they conceived and produced events, live cooking, and art installations. The Gastronauts Italian Project: a traveling show (food-set / Dj-set / Vj-set) with which for two years they brought an exasperated and self-deprecating version of gourmet cuisine to Italian and European clubs, cooking on stage and serving food without cutlery. | Microcucina: a micro-festival about food, set in a 2x2x2 square meter kitchen (3 editions) | cibo/CIBO: a split-table with two opposite seats to show the difference in decay between natural and industrial food. | City Bites: an interactive event in which you can literally destroy an edible city with bites. | Underground dinners series: based on the theme of creole food and live jazz music.
During these years they lead their own catering company, which produced customized events for the world of art and very demanding customers.
2013-2019: MAZZO /// Opened in early 2013 with a ten seatings table, despite its small size, Mazzo has managed to host 150 labels of natural wines and Gin in its cellar. Defined as an urban restaurant, from the outskirts of Centocelle it has changed the geography of Roman restaurants, taking international customers to the suburbs and re-launching a popular neighborhood. What distinguishes MAZZO is sustainability: meat from very small farms and vegetables from biodynamic agriculture in total respect of seasonality. In this way the menu has re-shaped tradition in a fresher way, keeping its roots in the territory.
In a short time, MAZZO appears in the most important gastronomic guides: Gambero Rosso, L’Espresso, Identità Golose, Lonely Planet, Eater, I Cento, gaining important prizes that represented a great achievement for such an atypical reality for the center traditional tours: ‘Bistrot of the year’ (Gambero Rosso) ‘Tre Gamberi’ (Gambero Rosso) ‘Female Chef of the year’ (I Cento di Roma). During six years of activity, they have been reported in the New York Times, Vogue, Lucky Peach, Munchies, ‘Fu*k that’s Delicious’ by Action Bronson, the book “Bread, Pasta and Wine” by Matt Goulding, and in an episode of David Rocco’s Dolce Italia.
Being now a must for many locals and food travelers, in the middle of the sixth year of activity, Francesca and Marco felt the need to change and astounded everyone: in December 2018 they communicated that in January 2019 they would close the restaurant and that they would start a planetary journey. Only at the end of this journey, called MAZZO INVADERS, would the new project be born.
*In the first months of 2019, where Mazzo used to be, they created a new place: LEGS, an Italian fried chicken fast food, which opens exactly when they start traveling abroad.
2019-2020: MAZZO INVADERS /// “Our tour is just in the middle between what we were and what we will be: this long journey aims to give new life to the next project, with the smell of origins and an extra upgrade”
>>>NEXT /// As difficult as it may be to imagine a future detailed Mazzo, its backbone is set. The lockdown, which comes immediately after the winter break of the world tour, has given new importance to the value of sharing experience and Francesca and Marco have decided to translate it into the soul of their new opening. Observing the reasons why Italy is loved and remembered from abroad, leads the two Chefs to put the ingredients and raw materials back in the center of their cooking language, choosing to work with producers, farmers and avoid intermediaries. They can’t wait to be back in their kitchen, cooking to share what a year of quiet in their restaurant, and the worldwide movement of their personas has produced.