You love him or hate him.
Strong character masking an extreme sweetness and sensitivity. Extremely grumpy, when he’s in a good mood he’s nice and generous. Luckily, his mood swings don’t compromise his professionalism. After receiving a great distinction he hasn’t been resting on his laurels, but he’s started working on new entrepreneurial projects.
I said about him that he’s chronically nomad, totally unable to stay in the same place for more than a few seasons. Quattro Tette, Mottella, Cinciana and now Rifugio. And I believe I’m forgetting some others. A master like Angelo Ballasini, hard-headed, had a difficult time getting along with his disciple. I remember some epic fights in the kitchen of Quattro Tette, with the respective moms being invoked and curses that, luckily for S. Andrea’s priest, not yet poor Don Ulisse at the time, wouldn’t have gotten past the massive door of the church, given the well-known laity of the two arguers.
Angelo’s presence is still tangible in Frenk’s kitchen; the traditional Mantuan dishes, perfectly mastered and revisited with a touch of personality, which he’s got tons of, still form the menu.
But let’s get on now (I feel like I’m a food critic for Veronelli) and let’s start with the “serious” story, otherwise I think about the menu and my mouth starts watering.
We used to go to Frenk’s once a week (although personally I went even two or three times). It was the same group of friends, amateur tennis players, on Thursday nights. I didn’t play tennis but I just went along, since they were tennis players but mostly good friends, childhood friends. Bicio, Claudio, Gian e Nick, in exact alphabetical order… You know, at a certain age it’s easy to f*** up.
I’ll pass food talk, even if the dinner was delicious, to avoid other sufferings; let’s get to the after dinner, featuring the best attraction of the evening: big “spazzino” card game. I always played with Frenk against any couple who wanted to defy us.
I don’t remember the first time we were together (playing CARDS, I mean…. Franchino, I like you a lot, but you’re not my type and I don’t want to compete with Fausta, because I’d lose badly…).
We often won, but unforgettable is the time we lost against Andrea e Daniele, excellent professionals and great friends but absolutely hopeless with cards (they still brag about it). It’s true: luck is blind, but bad luck sees very well.
To play with my partner you have to be patient. Very, very patient. He never makes mistakes, so if we lose it’s your (=my) fault. Not to mention the curses during the game. But Franco is like this, give or take. And you know what?
I’ll take him. Always. No matter what.