Dario Cecchini and his adventure in Dubai with Carna
The award-winning butcher introduces us to new contemporary and sustainable steakhouse
You went from being a vet student to being a butcher in order to carry a 250-year-old family tradition.
Yes I did, and it may seem contradictory, perhaps even absurd. But what spurred me to study veterinary medicine was to be able to embrace the country’s culture and traditions and be helpful to the world I was raised in. Added to this fact, is my philosophy that is based on respect for animals - to allow them to roam freely and provide them good food in their lifetime and upon their death, use every part of their body in cooking, from nose to tail.
What is it like to be the world’s most famous butcher, as the New York Times described you?
What is important to me is to be the butcher of Panzano in Chianti, my small community that I love so deeply.
How did you come up with the idea of Carna?
The American SLS Brand was looking for something new as compared with the classic steakhouse, in terms of both flavors and cuts. A more sustainable concept, going beyond beef filet and steak. That is why they chose me and, along with me, dishes such as heart kebab and our assortment of boiled meat. I’m a butcher who cooks, I don’t need to wow customers with special effects, but just cook meat in the simplest way possible.
Bringing this kind of dishes to a luxury hotel in Dubai was quite challenging. How are things going?
Very well. The restaurant has already been awarded some recognitions, such as FACT ME in the Favourite Newcomer category, and the What’s On Dining Awards 2022 as Highly Commended Steakhouse.
You are also known for being a butcher-poet and you’ve recently become a writer. What other poets or writers, besides Dante, are you fond of?
Poets Kavafis and Borges, and I’ve always admired the writer Mario Spezi, a Florentine friend of mine and a crime news reporter. Instead, Alessandro Rossi and I enjoy writing crime stories set in Panzano.
Any new plans for the future?
A new restaurant with the Moretti family, the producers of Bellavista sparkling beverage, and a moustache club that I would like to open at my friend Paolo’s barber’s shop in Panzano.