Massimiliano and Gianluca

Interview: Vassilis Bonios | Photo: Stavros Niflis

Fantasy is a path that runs parallel to our lives

What brought you to Paros?
The passion for this beautiful island, the sea, the nature, the way of life, and its people who remind us of an Italy that unfortunately does not exist anymore.

How easy was it for two Italians to get a licence for a restaurant in Paros?
It was difficult as it often is when you have to deal with bureaucracy in Greece. But the people who work in public services were always very nice and friendly with us.

How would you advise foreigners who want to open a business in Paros?
Have a lot of patience for bureaucracy, choose a specific activity, and never lose your enthusiasm! Don’t do everything yourself; take advantage of the local experts who can help you to achieve your goal with their knowledge and acquaintances.

“Fantasy is not a word that describes my dishes; the right word would be vision”, states Buon Vento’s chef Massimiliano Ruocco. Tell us about your vision.
I close my eyes and hear the sound of the wind and the sea, the harmony of the voices, the breaths, and I smell the scents, the ones that give life to every plate.
I close my eyes and already sense the flavour of the plate I want to prepare and see the path I want to follow.
We have the vision to live on this island in harmony, with the people and the environment, to experiment every day with our passion for cuisine, to create a circle of friends that will visit our home, our restaurant, for the atmosphere and the familiarity of the space and not only for the flavour of our dishes.
But if we open our eyes, what we dreamed of already exists.
Fantasy is a path that runs parallel to our lives.

In Greece Italian restaurants serve pizza, pasta, and tiramisu. Which of these are we going to eat at Buon Vento?
Certainly not the common dishes most Italian restaurants serve abroad. Our cuisine brings together traditions and flavours from a region of Italy whose way of living, emotions, and experiences are close to Greece.
In Buon Vento you can indulge in the specialties of southern Italy and specifically of Napoli, which means pasta, meat, and fish cooked in a variety of ways. Also, the famous pizza fritta, the first pizza that was born in Napoli that was not fired in a wood oven but fried. Our idea was to bring something new to Greece and to Paros and fried pizza is certainly a modern dish that has a lot of appeal! We also wanted to bring to Paros a part of confectionery tradition, and we offer our customers two characteristic desserts: the Napolitano “Baba with Rum” and marzipan from Capri.

In the yard and in the house the Cycladic atmosphere prevails, but in the interior, we are transferred to Napoli. How can these two be united?
They are united through the Mediterranean. We are two adjacent nations that were always characterized by an element that binds and connects everything: the wind. The good and warm wind, the one that embraces, the one that distinguishes the Cyclades and Paros. This is reflected in the restaurant Buon Vento. In addition to the good food you have the experience of the wind and the sea.

Your small museum shows the special relationship you have with the island and its traditions. Tell us about that.
From the beginning the idea we had for our restaurant was very clear and precise. It had to be a hospitable place that would represent us and our home, but we also wanted to preserve the tradition of the Cyclades and Paros, and give life to the rural atmosphere in a characteristic house of Paros to share with our customers.
This led us to invest in many items from the agricultural tradition of Paros for the museum as a thank you gift for the hospitality we feel every day. The entrance to our museum is free and it is also available as a special setting for romantic or private events.

How would you advise the mayor of Paros?
First of all, we wish him a good start in his new commitments and we invite him to come and visit our small museum, to give us advice on how to make it as historically accurate as possible. It would also be nice if he could include our museum among the cultural routes of Paros.

Summer 2014