Ignazio Messina
Credit: DR

Ignazio Messina

Chef

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Born in Sicily to Sicilian parents, Ignazio Messina was initiated to cooking at a very young age by his grandmother. She passed on her love of cooking and the richness of combining flavors. Sicily, fed by history and influences, has retained variety and flavor of ingredients in its cooking, not to mention [...] the savoir-faire of its many previous occupants. Etruscans, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Normans, Arabs, Spaniards, Italians... each group brought its own cuisine and delivered its own flavors to the plates of the island. Ignazio arrived in France with his family at the age of 22. At this time, he got his start in different Italian restaurants in Paris. In 2001, he received his Sicilian Chef de Cuisine diploma at the Unione Regionale Cuochi Siciliani in Palermo. In the same year, he opened his first establishment with his younger brother, \"Les Amis des Messina,\" at 204 rue du Faubourg Saint Antoine in Paris' 12th arrondissement, just a few steps from the Bastille square. It was the beginning of a Sicilian adventure in the French capital. A few years later, in 2006, another \"Les Amis des Messina\" was born, on rue du Dragon, in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighborhood, which he sold in 2009 when the two brothers decided to go their separate ways. Ignazio took over the entirety of the one in the 12th and, in 2011, received the certification of \"Ospitalità Italiana\" from the Italian Chamber of Commerce (L'Instituto Nazionale Ricerche Turistiche). At the end of 2014, he took over a second establishment in the Halles neighborhood, at 81 rue Réaumur in the 2nd. This new restaurant, which was designed entirely by the Chef himself, had an entirely novel style: three distinct spaces shared 194 square meters under a well of exterior light. All of the spaces communicated with one another and completed one another: Cucina for the classic restaurant, Schiticchiata for quick bites or show cooking, and la Bottega for snacks and sweets over the course of the day. The establishment was a pleasant surprise, offering a selection of exceptional Italian ingredients -- rare or traditional, fresh or cooked, available no matter the hour. He anticipates desires to taste and try unknown Sicilian specialties. Ignazio's parents, now retired, are often found in the kitchen -- \"il papà\" in the 12th and \"la mamma\" in the 2nd. By now you've understood that Ignazio Messina is a chef with unbridled creativity in both his recipes and his restaurants. He never ceases to surprise his guests with a familial atmosphere that brings the sunshine of his native region to Paris. He's never out of ideas, so do we have the right to ask... e dopo? What's next?