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Accursio Craparo

In 2004, Accursio knew he had to return to Sicily. Leaving such a renowned restaurant like Le Calandre was tough, but he wanted to start recreating the smells and flavours of his childhood, like the lemon and saffron he could remember from a very early age. Working at Fatoria delle Torri, a traditional Sicilian restaurant in the heart of Modica, he was approached by his old friend Corrado Assenza, who said he knew he would be back and that he should start making a name for himself. Accursio agreed, and moved on to Gazza Ladra a year later.

Because Gazza Ladra was the first time Accursio became head chef, it was here that his own, unique style really started to show. Taking the memories of his childhood and the traditional flavours of Sicily, he combined them with the appreciation of natural ingredients he developed at Joia and the three-starred mastery gained from Le Calandre to take the local cuisine to dizzying new heights. He won his first Michelin star in 2008, securing his place in the Sicilian chef hall of fame.

Gazza Ladra continued to be successful, but in 2012 Accursio decided he wanted his very own restaurant, which would allow him all the freedom and creativity to become the chef he wanted to be. After two years of planning, he opened Accursio Ristorante with his wife Oriana – a place they could truly call their own. The restaurant received a Michelin star in 2016.

Accursio is particularly well-suited to represent the food of Sicily as he grew up on the western coast of the island but also worked in Modica in the southeast – two regions with two very different cuisines. Sicily is known for its unique mix of Arabian and Italian cultures; Accursio uses this to his advantage, taking the seafood and sheep cheese of the west and the meat and wild ingredients of the mainland to create something entirely new, yet respectful to traditions. With a love for using wild, foraged ingredients from the island, his cuisine is the perfect example of how both classical and modern can come together to create something better than the sum of its parts.

Three things you should know

Accursio’s tasting menus represent the different styles of cuisine found on Sicily, and many of his dishes are an ode to the food his mother and grandmother cooked when he was younger.

Around the corner from Accursio Ristorante lies Accursio Radici, the chef’s street food shop that serves simple dishes to take away or eat in.

Despite the Michelin star, Accursio is sure not to stray away from classic Sicilian flavours, ensuring his dishes remain true to the ingredients and flavours of the island.