How Pasta and the COVID-19 Epidemic Make the Right Combination for a Montreal


Montreal foodie Luca LaBelle Vinci has long had a passion for making homemade pasta, but he is now earning money to stay away from it due to the epidemic.

When the lockout began last March and the city’s businesses closed, he was living in an apartment on the plateau with his childhood friend Victor-Alex Petrenko. Both Vinci and Petrenko worked in bars, so they suddenly dropped out of work and like many people at home.

“When COVID happened, Vic and I thought it would be a good idea to make fresh pasta and give it to our friends,” Vinci said. “Restaurants were closed and I think people quickly became ill with orders to eat uber.”

In the late 20s, the pair started posting Pasta making photos on Instagram.

He quickly followed the hungry locals, who had started buying or trading other items such as tattoos or haircuts, for pasta or tin lasagna.

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“He makes pasta and remains cute,” said Petrenko, who manages his effort. “I do everything.”

Luca Labelle Vinci, a trainee pasta maker at BarBara Restaurant and wine bar in Saint-Henri, is photographed making homemade pasta in the kitchen of a friend from Plateau, Montreal.

Courtesy Victor-Alex Petrenko

Zac McLovich, a Montreal entrepreneur and his friend, offered him a pop-up event last summer at one of their many businesses in Suvu, Maine, where the two served their hand-made ravioli dishes.

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“He trusted us, and we were sold. We played the whole thing without any experience.

Barbara’s team, A. New Saint-Henry Restaurant Composed of Catherine Dries and chef David Pelizzari, eventually took notice.

“Our social media man saw Luca on Instagram. That’s why we hired him, ”said Drew. Vinci now works as an apprentice pasta maker under Pelissery, and still makes and sells his own homemade items with the help of Petrenko.

“The first time I made pasta was with my mother,” said Vinci. “We made classic ravioli with spinach and ricotta and the most basic tomato sauce. It made me wonder how something so simple could be so good. “

Luca LaBelle photographs Vinci in the kitchen of a friend from a plateau in Montreal, making homemade ravioli.

Courtesy Victor-Alex Petrenko

Says Vinci, and to date, he is “the eldest Mama’s boy.” His mother was born in Quebec, but his parents are from Sardinia, Italy.

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His grandmother was from Montresta, a small village in the town of Algero. His grandfather was further south from a small town, Macromer.

They immigrated to Quebec, as did hundreds of thousands of Italians after World War II, and settled in Quebec City, where Vinci was born to his Italian mother and indigenous father, Huron Vendat Nation.

“I was raised by women. They run my family, ”said Vinci. His mother ran a hair salon outside her grandmother’s basement. It is there that he learned Italian, recited prayers at the end of the bed every night, and “was always walking around Nona’s kitchen.”

Vinci says that as a child he was embarrassed for his indigenous heritage, being mocked or bullied. He later developed an interest and appreciation for his indigenous roots.

It took me a long time to learn “coming from Quebec City to learn about the richness of both cultures”, which is made up of 1.4 percent of indigenous people.

READ MORE: Montreal restaurant struggling to survive in COVID-19 era

He says that his father always tried to extricate him from his native culture. He even stayed with her for two years as a child in the reserve.

“He still brings me the occasional wild mousse meat,” which has turned into Vinci Pasta Ragu. He says that for them to be indigenous means to respect people, nature and the earth.

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He says that he only found out his love for cooking when his mother forced him to go to the kitchen. “We used and served Robin Hood flour, cheap tomatoes.”

He says that his friends would like to come and have a meal, which started when he felt he wanted to share it with more people.

Before moving to Montreal in 2017, Vinci worked as a bartender at a restaurant in Quebec City. “I opened my big mouth and told my bosses at the bar that I was making homemade ravaoli at home and, just like that, I was supplying an entire restaurant with my pasta that had no professional experience.”

Vinci’s homemade ricotta nutmeg ravioli dish is served with grated Pecino cheese and tomato sauce.

Courtesy Victor-Alex Petrenko

He was working full time at the bar, walking out of the house at 5 in the morning, and waking up at 11 in the morning to make ravioli to work with him later.

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He says that then he really started thinking about taking it further.

“It is an act of meditation. It is craftsmanship, ”said Vinci. “I love seeing the reaction of people when they eat what they eat. It makes me feel connected to my roots and my family. It calls me more than my mother and my aunt otherwise I will not, because I am always asking them for recipes and tips. “

The menu addition also helps Vinci from his chef friends Francis Blais and Camilo Lapoint Nasimento, who lend him kitchen equipment and are “always there to advise and answer questions.”

When he first moved to Montreal four years ago, he was credited with broadening his culinary style. “He knows the city and has shown me, like he shows everybody, the grocery store and his favorite place to eat.”

“We get our produce at the Paradis do From Etrade Water Market (Best Ricotta), Jean-Talon Market,” said Petrone. Mile End has both the most amazing sandwiches) and the Boucherie veto. “

“But don’t make the mistake like I did with any Lazio Munch to get into the veto,” Vinci said.


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