Then and Now

With restaurateur Sirio Maccioni.

As passionate about food and wine as he is about his Tuscan heritage, Sirio Maccioni has been in the restaurant business for over three decades. Perhaps best known for opening the original Le Cirque in 1974, his most recent concept restaurant is Sirio in ARIA Las Vegas, an Italian spot featuring one of the most comprehensive Italian wine collections in Sin City.

Favorite beverage when I was 6: Vinella, which is a combination of the must of wine with water. The drink is Tuscan and was originally drunk by poor men, since wine must is typically thrown away. We drank it as kids because it was inexpensive. In Italy everyone drinks, even when they are five or six years old.
Favorite beverage now: Sparkling water.

First wine experience: I don’t remember! I’ve had wine since I was very young.
Epiphany wine experience: When I was 17 and went to France. I love Cabernet and other grapes, but for me, going to Burgundy and
tasting their Pinot Noir was the first time
I really understood what certain grapes are capable of.

Favorite dish when I was 6: Bolito misto that my grandmother made, or millefeuille.
Favorite or most memorable dish now: Shabu shabu made by one of my former chefs, Sottha Khun, and served “Cambodian” style. To be honest, I don’t even really remember what made the dish Cambodian.

Favorite musical artist when I was 13: Beniamino Gigli. Gigli was one of the most famous singers in all of Europe.
Favorite musical artist/genre now: Andrea Bocelli, because he’s extremely talented and most of all, because he’s Tuscan like me.

Favorite toy when I was 6: A wooden rifle that my grandfather made. My family lived very humbly so we didn’t have many toys growing up. It was even more special since my grandfather made it.
Favorite toy/gadget/tool now: My iPhone. I can’t do everything but I have nice pictures of my grandkids.

Posters/decorations on my bedroom wall when I was 13: A poster of Bartali, a famous Italian cyclist, who was, again, Tuscan like me.
Favorite painting or other home decoration now: Photos of my family. It’s impossible to choose a favorite but the pictures keep them all close to my heart.

What I wanted to be when I grew up: A kept man.
What I’d be if I wasn’t a restaurateur: A professional dancer. I love to dance and I was very good at it too. My wife used to sing in a famous café in Montecatini. It was the place to be. I met John F. Kennedy there before he became president.

Ideal vacation when I was 12: The beach at Viareggio.
Ideal vacation now: Going home to my beautiful house in Montecatini.

If I had an emotional meltdown when I was 6, it was most likely over: My mother’s death. She got a small infection but it ended up being fatal. It was very sudden and was heartbreaking for me.
If I was able to rant publicly on a given subject today, it would involve: I already do that on a daily basis!

If I met my younger self, what would he say about what I’ve become?: He would say I should have taken more time to myself.

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