Chef's Table (2015–…): Season 6, Episode 2 - Episode #6.2 - full transcript

I was basically born
in this butcher shop...

to a family of carnivores,

and I loved food.

In the butcher shop,
anything that the customer doesn't want

is the family's food.

My grandma cooked legs, snouts,

and cooked tails.

All of the bellies, the blood, guts...

It was paradise for the gluttons.

But there was a problem.

I never saw a steak.

I understood that good cuts existed,

but just for customers.

There were none for Dario.

It was a great pain.

Then, when I turned 18, my dad told me,

"You're an adult.

I'll give you a steak."

The excitement, it was...

it was really the first time...

And the first bite...

It was almost a shock.

I said,

"For all my life, years and years,
I've waited for steak.

And now, after the first time...

it was good, but...

everything else that my grandma cooked

was paradise."

On that day I was in Miami.

I could not sleep,

so I turned on the television.

I turned to CNN,
and I saw Dario with steaks in his hands.

And I said, "But am I awake
or still dreaming?"

It really was a surprising thing.

Long live the meat!

"You, citizens, called me Ciacco

for the damnable sin of gluttony."

Every single part, every single muscle,
every single piece of meat

has its own quality,

which he manages to bring out and enhance.

Good morning, Lorenzo.

-How's it going? All good?
-How is it? Pretty good.

Brought the pig.

Slowly, mind the step.


We did it.

Throw it up there.


Go, go.

Get it up.

We did it.


It's a beautiful pig.

And I...

am its butcher.

Every time that I'm
in front of the animal's death...

I think of the life, of the respect,

of the responsibility
of using everything well...

of not offending this death.

Not even a small bone will go wasted.

This is being a butcher.

Beautiful hams.

Dario is coming in a bit.
We gotta prepare some stuff.

I've brought food!



-Good wine. I even brought oil.

I'm not a cook.

I'm a butcher that cooks.

It's extremely simple.

At the start,
drink a glass of red wine.

This inspires better cooking.

And then, forget every grill technique.


rely on instinct.

Take a Florentine steak...

or the boneless sirloin.

Eight minutes per side.

Each side without salt, without oil.

Meat and fire.

Think of the origin.

It's all about simple things,
done with pleasure.

This is important.

At the table, good salt,
or, even better, the scent of Chianti.

But the first bite has to be natural.

It has to be meat without anything...

as it was from the start.

Nothing simpler.

A nice Florentine steak!

-Look how it is.
-Great, fantastic.

-It doesn't get better than this.
-That's really exciting.

It's a wonder.

My butcher shop is called
Antica Macelleria Cecchini...

because it's 250 years
of butcher tradition,

always from father to son.

I was born at home.

The first person I saw
was my dad

with a butcher jacket.

As soon as I was born, I had right away
the mark of the butcher.

In the tradition,

when you're 13, you start working.

My dad started to pass his work to me.

What I liked the most

was when he'd take me with him
to the houses of farmers to buy animals.

Here they are.

On the farm,
animals were part of the family.

What a marvel.

When I looked in the eyes of the cows,

they looked like mine.

This affected me.

I loved the animals.

And I wanted to take care of them.

And the most important figure
in caring for animals

wasn't the butcher.

It was the veterinarian.

And this idea

that I could go around
with a pair of country pants

and take care of animals...

It was a dream.

I didn't want to be a butcher.

I wanted to be a veterinarian.


-Everything's very good.

Better than this...

-Want some wine?
-Yes, thanks. Why not?

What's the saying?

"The smoke always goes
towards the gorgeous ones."

What a dinner, my love.

I'm hungry, finally.


Here we are.

Hallelujah! Look at this marvel.
It's like a fallen moon.

Look at this marvel! Look!

Here's the steak!

My family has always been
a welcoming family.

When there would be a guest,
we would add a seat at the table,

whether there were one or ten guests.

If the season...


If the season keeps going

There's enough for all of your relatives

Mom doesn't, doesn't, doesn't want me
To make love with you

But come, love, when Mom isn't there

That period of childhood,

with my family and family friends,

every day was a day of celebration.

It entered my DNA.

Here's the flank.

I try and take a crumb
of the joy from my childhood

and bring it into the restaurant.

I want to make everyone
who comes to the butcher shop think

it's a day of celebration.

It can be difficult,
when you've had such a good childhood,

to take on the adult world.

Sometimes I've even said to myself that

having it this good
doesn't prepare you for life.

So, I wasn't really prepared for life.

I was prepared to keep living well.

One day...

my dad gets home,

calls my grandma,
calls my sister, Marina,

and calls me...

and tells me,

"There's a problem. Mom is sick."

For us, it was the end of harmony.

Falling out of paradise

and slowly entering...

into the hell of cancer.

My memory of that period
was of a nightmare.

It's not real. It's all a dream.

I'm sure I will wake up from this dream.

It wasn't a dream.

We woke up,

and my mother was dead.

What a wonder!

Panzano in Chianti.

When I was a child,

those were my windows.

I spent all my adolescence,
until I was 20,

opening the windows
and looking at the horizon,

trying to see as far as possible,
because my village was small

and I really wished
to go as far as possible.

The veterinary university was in Pisa...

100 kilometers from Panzano.

In Pisa, I was a student
with an excessive desire for knowledge.

Every day I studied to be a vet.

I was living a peaceful life,
filled with many hopes.

That lasted for a year.

One day, I was studying,
and my sister called me.

She told me, "Dad is sick.
They're bringing him to the hospital."

The love I had
for my father was so strong

that I couldn't believe it...

until the end.

My dad spent all of our family's money
to cure my mother...

and I was the last hope for the family.

I understood it was the moment
to put on my shoulders...

not only the family tradition,

but the family, too.

All the hopes I had for my life,

my choice to study to be a veterinarian,
of leaving the butcher shop,

died with my dad.

I won't be the one that saves the animals.

I will be someone who kills animals.

The feeling was that I had died, too.

A nice layer of fat.


This is the hardest part...

killing an animal.

It's the most difficult part for me.

We're trying to make it
as painless as possible.

But death is painful.

I'll hold your hand there

And there you'll say yes

And we'll go away

Let's go, my love

I would and I would not

It's trembling

I had really beautiful memories
in Panzano,

especially at the butcher shop
when the family was all together.

But when I returned...

there was an incredible void.

I hated waking up in the morning
and being forced...

to earn money.

But the worst thing is
that I wasn't able to earn money.

Every month it was a little worse.

No one was here
to teach me how to be a butcher.

When I tried to cut the beef,

all I could see was the dead cow.

And I would cut my own hands.

Every strike of the knife on my hands
was like a slap at my dignity.

I felt ashamed being seen by the customers
with my hands all bandaged.

I would think,
"You're the last of the Cecchini.

Do you want the tradition
of all of the generations to end...

because you're not capable
of being a butcher?"

I felt as if I was in a prison.

And my prison
was called Macelleria Cecchini.

Count them. There must be 24.

Before dying, my dad told me,

"If you ever need help,

find Orlando and he'll show you the way."

So, I went looking for Orlando.

Orlando was the meat selector for my dad.

He became my teacher.

These will be sugar
for the clients' palates.


He was trying to do his best,

but he didn't have a lot of experience.

It was a matter
of taking control of the situation.

One day, when I was cutting the meat,

I told him, "For me,
to butcher an animal is a great pain."

Orlando started making gestures
with one hand.

He said, "You don't understand.

It's not just about cutting meat."

The next day, he took me
to the houses of farmers...

to show me what he meant.

He said, "When an animal is born,

we must try to give it
the best life possible.

And when the animal dies by our hand,

we try to respect the gift of the animal.

You're handling a piece of life.

You have to never forget that."

I never thought this way,

that the butcher has a path in life

not detached from the animals,

but beside them.

The next day, I put on the butcher apron,

and I never took it off again.

This one is exceptional.

-Look, what a beautiful animal.
-The structure, right?


We should take it home.

Take it. Let's bring it home.

With Orlando,

my work started to have meaning.

I was trying to respect
the gift of the animal.

But there was a problem.

Customers didn't want anything
except a filet or steak.

I wasn't able to sell the whole animal.

I don't think it's right to kill an animal
just for a steak or a filet.

I tried to explain this to my customers,

but they cared less and less.

I was looking for a solution.

So I said, "The only way
to not waste anything

is to put the food on the plate
and make them understand."

The spark ignited.

I was going to teach people
how to eat well.

I decided to open Solociccia,
"Just Meat," my first restaurant.

I started to cook the menu of my family...

made with all parts of the animal
which are considered less noble.

From snout to tail,

legs, tendons, everything...

but no steak.

For years, I had
this feeling of being dead.

The joy from my childhood wasn't there.

But after I opened the restaurant,

little by little,
life started to come back.

The taste of my grandmother's food,

my dad's traditions,

and my mom's love of celebration...

it was all there.

It feels as if my family...

had kept on living.

Good evening, everyone!


Good evening.

Ladies and gentlemen,

kind guests,

the Costata alla Fiorentina!

At the beginning,

I thought it wasn't possible
to follow my dreams

of taking care of the animals.

But over the years, I understood that...

It's not
that a veterinarian saves the animals

and the butcher kills them.

It's that we're all together.

The veterinarian is the one
that takes care of animals,

and the butcher is the one
who has the most important task

of teaching humans
that you have to value everything.

Now I know where my place is.

It's behind the butcher's chopping board.

It's my center of the world.