• Lisa Stanko - Mohen

Il Grande Maestro, Sirio Maccioni

Just look at this picture, how cool is Sirio Maccioni, who else could carry off this look and look as sharp as he does. I'm sorry Peter Elliot, you are charming, you are witty, but you are just not as crisp as il Grande Maestro. The silk jacket, the tinted shades and the tan, plays the part beautifully. il Sig. Maccioni gives new meaning to Sauce.

It was the Summer of 2004, July 24th, a hot muggy night, me trying to make my way across Wolffer Estate Vineyards with high heels in anticipation of attending Chefs and Champagne with one of my favorite restauranteurs, Sirio Maccioni. I had purchased tickets as soon as it was announced that the Guest of Honor that year would be one of my favorite culinary professionals of all time. Of course, there were great names in the house: Kurt Gutenbrunner, Kerry Heffernan, Sara Jenkins, Michael Kramer, Anita Lo, Marc Murphy, Luke Palladino, Georges Perrier, Bill Yosses, and the list went on. To be there was truly an honor, and to be given the opportunity to have my picture taken was a thrill of a lifetime. I remember that day as if was yesterday, you have to understand I have been a fan of Mr. Maccioni for many years, it goes way, way, back. I have had the opportunity to visit Le Cirque 2000 NYC, Il Circo at Casa de Campo Dominican Republic, Le Cirque at The Bellagio Las Vegas and Le Cirque One Beacon Court NYC.

Fast forward to December 2004 Le Cirque 2000 was closing it's doors at The Helmsley Palace, and I just knew I had to go, after spending numerous New Year's Eves at The Helmsley Palace with 5 young children and never being able to attend one of the New Year's Eve parties, I was going to make sure I made it to lunch before the doors were permanently closed. The room was beautiful, it was bursting with color, the service was impeccable, and today I did not need to see a menu, because I knew what I was ordering, I knew when I made the reservation, Sirio's Spaghetti Primavera, it was such an iconic dish, it appeared in Food & Wine's premier issue in 1978. Prepared table side, the acrobatics of the dish are truly amazing, with the pasta being swished around with its abundance of vegetables: tomatoes, snow peas, broccoli, zucchini, asparagus, peas, mushrooms and ethereal garlic cream coating, perfumed with basil decadently finished with parmesan cheese and butter.. My year was complete, I had been waiting a very long time for this day and the experience was magical.

Sirio Maccioni passed away the same day as my 103 year old Grandmother.

RIP il Grande Maestro 04/20/20 and Mary Maloney.

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