Chef and Restaurant owner
WHO IS FRANCESCA FERRARO?
Francesca is Chef and restaurant owner at Tartifla Bistrot, a charming place opened in October 2015, in the historical disctrict called Balon, in Turin (Italy). The typical dish is made by potatoes (according to the dialect from Valle d'Aosta region, "tartifla" means "potato") cooked in the Anglo-Saxon way; for instance it is the famous jacket potato. The menu provides a wide choice of dressings inspired by the cuisine from Piedmont which are served with the potatoes.
Francesca's cooking is distinghuished by the freshness and authenticity of products, carefully chosen by her for soups, platters and pies: she offers to her clients home cooking but at the same time original meals.
Francesca is also mother of 3 children and her story gives us a valuable contribution about the work-family balance.
Francesca Ferraro's Contact:
HOW DID HER PASSION FOR COOKING START?
Francesca is a woman who has always worked. She was initially involved in a different work, as restorer, but during her third pregnancy it started to be quite difficult to keep her work, so that it was the moment she decided to take a break from work for six months. It is precisely at this time Francesca started to do what she liked most, such as cooking, attending courses, reading books and thanks to her husband's support she also developed a family business. This is how Francesca's first entrepreneurial experience began with the opening of a B&B.
As she craved growing professionally but at the same time she also wanted her children to live in a less urban place, some years ago Francesca's familiy left Turin. They moved to Moneglia, a village of 3000 inhabitants in the province of Genoa, not far from Cinque Terre: a people-oriented place but most of all a child-oriented one.
In Moneglia Francesca started to feel the need to expand her business. She realized her ambition with the opening of a hotel with a bar which she run with her husband. Often family's business represents the most suitable solution in order to both take care of children and invest at the same time in career. "The workplace becomes somehow home", she says. Family care and unpaid housework have always been a big issue in Italy, whose consequence is a high gender imbalance causing inequality for women. But this it is not the case: Francesca's life is an example of a woman, mother and businesswoman who, together with her husband, found a balance between her private and professional life.
After a few years spent in Moneglia, living in a village became a bit too limiting, especially for the two oldest children. At the same time the hotel business, which evolved very quickly, began to be very challenging for Francesca. It came to light it was necessary a new change of plan.
So they finally back in Turin, at Balon district, where Fancesca had the opportunity to start over with a new business that is Tartifla Bistrot.
"She started cooking, attending courses, reading books and thanks to her husband's support, she also developed a family business"
WHERE DOES SHE GET INSPIRATION FOR HER WORK?
More than ever Francesca gains her inspiration from the "peasants at the wonderful Porta Palazzo's market". When in need of new ideas to create delicious dishes, Francesca knows how to find what she is looking for among the market stalls, among the vegetables and all the seasonal products. By the wise chat with the farmers are born, also some delicious dishes, such as the cream of celery!
"Coming back to Turin, at the Balon district, represented to Francesca an opportunity to start over with a new business that is Tartifla Bistrot"
HOW MUCH IS IMPORTANT TO HAVE A PERSON TO COUNT ON?
She has an "extraordinary husband", says Francesca, with whom she used to share half of the commitments, duties and the pleasures coming from their children.
"If one wants to excel in career, the other has to get lower expectations, but if both the parents take their responsabilities equally then it's easier to find a balance".
There are two other important people to Francesa: her grandmother, who raised her and always spurred her, and her mom. Her mother was a strong woman who always wanted to be independent from men: "she gave me the example!", she says.
Francesca tells me about her mother's rebirth after the tiring moments due to the separation. Her example has forwarded to Francesca the belief that despite physical or psychological difficulties "in life there is nothing that women can not do alone".
"In life there is nothing that women can not do alone"
WHICH DIFFICULTIES FRANCESCA FACED IN HER WORK?
Francesca has always bravely faced the difficulties in the workplace, redesigning and reformulating the boundaries between private and professional life, never giving up to challenge herself.
"Determination, physical strength, skills in leadership and organizational management have anything to do with gender!"
AS A WOMAN?
In her career path she has never faced obstacles as a woman. Being respected is a prerogative that depends on one hand on the personality and on the other one on the professional skills. Francesca admits to have a strong personality and for that reason it is quite unlikely for her to be frightened by someone: "I can immediately know if someone is trying to bully me". In working places mutual respect is something to make clear right away within the business relationships, especially with men.
If we look at the kitchen in a gender perspective, with its historical, social and cultural aspects, it doesn' t represent a neutral space at all.
The kitchen as a domestic space recalls in fact all those social roles and expectations on women duties and tasks that were given for granted in societies where the male breadwinner model prevailed.
Although cultural stereotypes about gender roles division are slowly changing it is still present within the societies the belief that whereas the kitchen in domestic space is traditionally for women, in the working field are very often men those who rule the business in cooking. The old saying that "the best chefs are men" probably refers to those characteristics essential to run a kitchen Francesca mentioned:
"in the kitchen there is a person who gives orders and commands, that is to say the chef. Women must have a strong personality to gain respect".
But it worths highlighting that determination, physical strength, skills in leadership and organizational management, they do not have to have anything to do with gender!
WHAT DID FRANCESCA DREAM WHEN SHE WAS A CHILD ?
Francesca dreamed many things when she was a child, though anything very specific. Her curiosity for life leads her, even now, dreaming to take on new professional paths. Francesca fully embodies the concept of dynamism: while she loves discovering new things, she also gets bored very quickly after having run out of inspiration.
ARE WOMEN TODAY TRULY FREE TO CHOOSE THEIR DESTINY?
In Francesca's opinion many women still live in vulnerable situations or they are subjugated by men, without mentioning all those women who give away their lives.
Women are strong and able to face any situation, but despite this, many of them today, are not seen able to make it without the support of partners.
The point is not to admit that women may need the help and support of their partner, as pointed out by Francesca, but rather to have the courage to follow their own inclinations imagining themselves as actresses and protagonists of their own lives.
There is also another aspect in women's lives that is related to the cultural and social pressure to "start a family", the so-called biological clock, which for a woman is often a crossroads: either career or motherhood.
The desire to have a child is not a purely a woman desire, is rather a life project that must be shared by both of the partners, with all the duties arising from the care of children. As it was said earlier about sharing family care work it is essential to Francesca the solidarity within the couple.
FRANCESCA FERRARO IN BRIEF?
Curious, eclectic, fond of new challenges.