"I am sick and tired of finding beautifully presented dishes - then you eat them and you cannot taste anything, I want a bit of guts".
Armando Percuoco is described as a taste maker amongst the Sydney food scene. He is often around town at lunch, checking on the latest restaurant and/or chefs on the scene. If he approves, and he likes to talk, the place will go well for as long as it stays hot, though in Sydney, the restaurant climate is variable.
Armando is a man of strong opinions and good taste. He has been running restaurants successfully in Sydney for more than 20 years, first at Pulcinella and now at Buon Ricordo in Paddington. The room is cosy, the welcome warm. Upstairs is a spacious room often used for parties. All of this is served from one small kitchen with an old Garland range and limited equipment. Half-a-dozen staff huddle round waiting for the action early in the evening. "It all comes at once", complains Armando. There are many things he complains about, talking so quickly that he can barely draw breath. It's because he hates mediocrity and has a passionate opinion about just about everything - food, art, wine, women, taxes, quarantine restrictions...
Armando Percuoco has worked in restaurants since the age of 14. His family were restaurateurs in Naples and made him work for others "who kicked me and I hated them but I learnt, and loved my father because he did that to me. In the restaurant business you have to suffer". He came to Australia in 1972 and joined his father, Mario, at Arriverderci restaurant in east Sydney. For four years he worked as head waiter and day manager at Chianti before he and his father opened Pulcinella Restaurant in Kings Cross in 1979. In 1986 he published his first cookbook, re-published in 1992 as Modern Italian Cooking in Australia, and the following year opened the award winning Buon Ricordo. In 1994 came his second book La Cucina Italian, the four seasons of Italian cooking and the planting of extensive olive groves.
As with the growing of olives, patience is required with staff, says Armando. "It takes a long time to get the staff that you want and that is why I always say to them that three to six months is not enough, you have to come for a little bit longer. I like people that follow me, but they have to pay attention, then I'll put them at the head of the class, if they don't follow me, they go to the back of the class." And the good pupils might get sent to Italy to familiarise themselves more fully with Italian cuisine. Armando explained that he will have staff who eat and absorb what is in his kitchen but then go out and eat other foods. Here he shuddered at the sort of things they eat outside his world. "But when they are in Italy they have the total environment, the smell in the air, everything. I want the kids to absorb it all, the philosophy, the traditions, but they have to live and breathe it."
I was surprised to learn that Armando did not then want these chefs back in his kitchen. "It is wrong to take them back, they have to find their own space, become their own chefs. Because they are Australia's future and they have to develop their own ideas." And Armando's ideas have developed too. "My food has changed rather a lot, if we don't change we become stale." But he is concerned that some of the changes are forcing out all the old (Italian) ways and is worried that "we are going to lose our culture. It's too hard to achieve simplicity in this country so we need to cut back to the original. Italian food is losing its identity in this country and that is what I am angry about. Good young chefs from Italy don't come here, because they are looked after extremely well. The wages are huge there for chefs that have gone through the proper training, but we need those sort of chefs over here, to pick up the authenticity of the cuisine. Forget about me, but how many Italian chefs are here that are really authentic? Who can continually pass their skills on to the young person? So in 10 years time we will have lost our identity completely. I will retire then so I am now trying to train these boys in order to maintain it."
With regard to other styles of food, Armando has equally strong opinions, "to really create a dish with a modern identity here you have to be a master of what you do. And I get told by young chefs that they want to be half Italian and half like Tetsuya , and fancy they can be a master at both. To understand the logic in putting together a dish you need to understand the culture. How can you do that with a whole lot of different cultures? Life doesn't work like that".... Read more.
9. Opt for digital paintings. If you couldn’t find the right painting you want, a digital painting might give you what you are looking for. There are already paintings which you can merely print and frame. Although, it will be limited in terms of texture but it can still look good in your room. Some even buy posters instead and use it as wall décor. They look good when already framed. 10. Use your creativity. If you are an artist or at least have the passion for art, you can make your own painting or wall décor. Well, it doesn’t necessarily use paint. You can use whatever medium you like. You can even apply your crafty skills into it by creating a collage or a scrapbook like décor. Frame it and you now have a personalized wall décor. Getting decorations for your wall is both fun and exciting. But it will surely be more fulfilling if you will actually be the one to make it yourself. Yet, a real painting can still give a different burst of appeal to your living room. Aside from wall paintings, you can also try using wall sculptures as decorations. Even wall clock can add beauty to your walls. Get more home design tips here in Home Design Lover.
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5. Choose one that suits your personality. A painting also reflects the personality of the homeowners. So, do not just get any painting. Make sure that the message from the painting is right for your personality and that it will give a good impression to your visitors. There are many paintings you can choose from. For sure, you’ll find something that you’ll fall in love with and something that you can relate to your personality. 6. Match it with your interior design. Every home has a distinct interior design. Some opt for modern touches which is the current trend. Some also stick to classic and vintage designs where vintage decorative frames are used for paintings. Let it match the interior theme of your house in order to complete the look you want. 7.Research paintings. Do your homework by looking for various paintings in shops or even on the internet. This will make shopping easier for you. Also, you will be able to check on what paintings are available in the market that you could get for your home. Then take note of those designs that you liked. You might still be able to get them at a lower price. Or if you cannot find one that is exactly the same as the one you want, for sure you can get a similar painting. 8. Visualize room. Now think of how that painting will look like when it is already installed in your room. Does it look lovely? Or it might look awkward? Does it complement with the entire look or it doesn’t fit in at all? Visualize your room. If you think you got the right painting, then go get it.
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1. Decide on the kind of art you like. When buying a canvas painting or if you are currently choosing for a new painting, try to assess your taste. Which genre of art do you prefer for your decoration? Do you like abstract paintings? Or you might prefer those which are replicas of famous artists? Or you might want your own portrait as a wall décor? Think about how these paintings will look like on your wall and choose which one will best suit your interior. 2. Know the right size. Check on the size of the wall décor. See to it that it won’t be too large of too small for your room. You can also opt for smaller paintings and arrange them all in one area. This is great in creating accent walls. Size of the painting is important because it might spoil your room if the size is not right. 3. Choose colors for the canvas painting. Colors used in the painting will have a great impact on the entire appearance of your interior. So, decide if you want bright colored paintings to bring in a lively aura or you want it to complement with the rest of the colors you used to create a coherent look. Abstract paintings are great choices especially if you are limiting your choice in terms of colors. 4. Look into your budget. Getting a painting entails money. You have to look into how much you can spend for that. You can also try to do a survey first as to how much these paintings are. Some are really expensive but it will still be worth it once it is installed in your room. But there are also cheaper paintings you can find. It might be right for your budget.
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