A penchant for cardigans, spy novels and pop culture connections.
Gennaro Nasti is one of the stand out Italian chefs of a new generation. The Neapolitan who specialises in gourmet pizza, has pushed the envelope of the traditional style, navigating a new path towards fine dining. In just over one year, his current restaurant, Bijou, located in the Montmartre district of Paris has become home to his latest ideas, and innovations on one of Italy’s most noted creations; furthermore, Gennaro navigates between and expert eye for detail and years of experience in this new city that he calls, home.
To understand Gennaro Nasti is to understand the thinkers, poets, and artists of another time; a generation that looked to Leopardi and his literature that were revolutionary in their descriptive enlightenment. Because prodigy’s are once a decade or so, but when they are uncovered, whatever their field, they are similar. They have a shared idea, belief, vision that takes them to unique spaces and by understanding how they work, you can understand who they are.
They become metaphors of each other, a new paradigm in language that makes it easy for us all to understand and learn, if we were into such things.
It’s not an exaggeration to call him prodigal, it would be a disservice to call him anything else. He is driven not only by virtue, but by his impulsiveness.
Honouring the impulsiveness
His volcanic personality is akin to the city of his birth; his character stitched together with the memories of another time, a Leopardian acknowledgement of his craft which gives sense to everything he does. Gennaro is constantly evolving, made of little corrections and small, yet painful changes and the celebrations when he succeeds.
Virtue and impulsiveness!
You can’t help but see the correlation; a sensory equation, overload perhaps, but one that is communicated through his food. His pizza is, for want of a better artistic explanation, a bridge that holds this ideology together. A never ending story of wanting to develop, grow, push boundaries. It is again, his pizza that holds true to this thought process, this belief that impulsiveness can strike the magic that he yearns to uphold; his traditional, antique pizza as you could call it, is one of his favourites to make.
It is here where virtuousness is best explained, dating back to the times of Pathos. It is here where you can begin to understand what makes the man, the person that they are. They won’t accept what is placed in front of them, no. They want to create their own story, show their own skills, showcase their synthetic relationship with what is around them. It is that idea that transforms dark to light, the chiaroscuri of Giotto or Caravaggio, other prodigy’s yet relevant. Their vision shows contrast, Nasti and his pizzas are no different.
His pizzas are thus a creative vision that strikes this particular and peculiar balance; his Soavi accenti di Limone is an ode to Amalfi lemons and how they grow in springtime, when the sun cascades on their overreaching branches, caressing the sea. His pizza perlina is an insight into the ideas and institution of fried aubergine balls that are then finely drizzled with poetic licence of aromatic olive oil.
Gennaro Nasti, Bishop of authenticity
His dishes are made of authentic ingredients, chosen with great care where the selection of Italian and foreign produce (French in particular) is key. It is that meticulous attention that gives life to his gastronomic galley, where the best of Made In Italy, especially Campania and Puglia, meet the mixing board of the gastronomic offerings from across the alps.
Whilst the dough is enticed with the flour of the south, that of Petra del Molino Quaglia it is heightened by the Champagne of Laurent-Perrier it gives a dough that is welcoming and olfactory for a pizza that that is truly different. Oil from Frantoio Muraglia stops time when it conserves the tomatoes from San Marzano, those prefered by the chef – and those who know what a pizza should be.
A story of land and sea
To understand Nasti thus is more than just understanding the artists that we mentioned at the beginning, its about belonging. It’s about looking to the roughness of the sea and the volcanic nature of the land that shows what, and where character comes from; that is Gennaro Nasti, his gastronomic ideas, his pizzas, himself.