A passion for food runs through the veins of CIBO’s owner and chef, Stefano Corvucci and it is his infectious commitment to putting the food first – its texture, taste, aroma and seasonality – and not just the end result, that pervades his state-of-the-art cookery school.
Stefano’s journey towards founding Bologna’s best-equipped cookery school facility, CIBO, in 2012, has been an unusual one. Born in Forlì – a town 50km south of Bologna – Stefano grew up in a home environment that helped ignite his passion for cooking. His father was not only a food devotee, but a great raconteur too. As he cooked, he created food theatre with his words and tales – perhaps about foraging for mushrooms and herbs or hunting for game – but, all the while, engrossing the young Stefano.
As important, was the fact that Stefano’s father would read from the extraordinary cookery book of Pellegrino Artusi – written in 1881 and the first cookbook written after the Unification of Italy. This is not just a book of 790 recipes from all around Italy and the first definition of Italian cuisine, but a witty integration of food with history, culture, the arts, everyday life and amusing anecdotes about the experiences of Artusi – a man who would have been described as another ‘foodie’ from Forlì, had that word existed in his time.
Thanks to this family upbringing, in a 1960s and ‘70s world free from computer games and cable TV, Stefano became intrinsically tied to Italian food, cooked in authentic ways, and life in and around the kitchen. Although he studied Law at the University of Bologna, that was never his destiny. After around seven months of practising law after his graduation, he took the bold decision to abandon the legal profession, follow his heart and open his own restaurant.
This restaurant – an elegant and expensive venue, patronised by many of the top officials and business people in Bologna – became hugely successful and well-known, thanks to its fine cuisine and exceptional food creations devised and cooked by its owner. Stefano put heart and soul into making this restaurant succeed and, as it grew, he was able to employ a manager and many staff. With that came an emotional divorce. Stefano was no longer connected to food in the same way, having to focus on business issues and administration, and not on the thing he loved most – cooking.
Consequently, after nearly six years, Stefano sold up and bought another business that would involve him in the cooking process once more. Fittingly, for a man so tied to Artusi and the origins of authentic Italian food, he bought the most ancient restaurant in Bologna – a venue named ‘Il Rosso’ since its foundation, and which has been in the same building it occupies today, since 1868. Based in Via Augusto Righi, close to Via dell’Indipendenza, the University quarter and the heart of the city, Stefano recognised that, what was then a run-down restaurant, could cater for the needs of locals, students and tourists alike. He elected to turn the venue into a traditional Bologna trattoria, which would serve great value, excellently cooked and authentic Italian food.