"Pasticcino” - the Formula 1 cook

Until 1978, before getting hired by Ferrari, Luigi Montanini, Gigi for friends and “Pasticcino” for Formula 1 enthusiasts, worked in pastry in Maranello. For twelve years he followed the racing team with his itinerant kitchen and the nickname he was given by his great friend Pietro Corradini, Gilles Villeneuve’s chief mechanic. Pasticcino’s spaghetti was proverbial. The sauces were made by his wife Ada, who Enzo Ferrari had authorised to follow him. A ragout that can knock your socks off, desired by the pilots of several teams. “If he was in a good mood because Milan football team had won, for us, journalists, the sandwich was assured”, Nestore Morosini says, “Otherwise sandwich delayed. However, the ham or mortadella sandwich was always available”.

In 1991, due to a few misunderstandings, he left Ferrari for Benetton. Ten more years of sandwiches and sauces; then, an illness forced him to forfeit. Once recovered, he went on to play tennis, his great passion, and opened a restaurant that rapidly become a baseline for the typical Modenese cuisine. The street number of the restaurant is 27, the one of Gilles Villeneuve, and it seems that he courted the Mayor for a long time in order to have that number.

“Ayrton Senna used to eat spaghetti with a lot of Grana cheese”, Luigi remembers with regret. “With Ferrari, I started with Jody and Gilles, then with Benetton I served Schumacher. It was not difficult to serve drivers: we only just made a nice plate of spaghetti with tomato sauce. But Gilles loved porcini mushrooms: he wanted plenty of them in the sauce. Michael Schumacher, instead, liked soups and minestrone. But basically, all drivers came to me to eat, especially the ones of English and German teams: to their cooks spaghetti became glue. Ayrton liked spaghetti with sauce and ham but, being Brazilian, he gladly ate a slice of roast beef, when available. To me, the engineer Forghieri was number one of Ferrari technicians. He comes at least once a month for lunch. In front of him, my whole life comes back, at the time of my black mustache and the rounds of tennis with Jody Scheckter.”

“Pasticcino” has always been known by all as “the Formula 1 cook by definition”. He was the first chef to cook into the paddocks, on tracks and in Grand Prix all over the world. It was Enzo Ferrari’s idea: “Technicians work well if they eat well”, he said. “Our technicians are Emilian and are used to good food”. And so, Luigi Montanini was sent, in the late 1970s, to follow Scuderia Ferrari and opened, creating it step by step, that which up until now didn’t exist: the hospitality area into the paddocks. The nickname “Pasticcino”, however, was given him when he was a kid and had started his chef career working in a Modena’s pastry.

Now, just entering “Da Pasticcino’s” restaurant in Castelnuovo, you can discover over 20 years of his career in a gallery of photos and articles that are also a real evidence of how the racing world has changed. Images of a very young “Pasticcino”, busy and curved among large pots and camping stoves, until the most recent shots taken of him in front of big and equipped motorhomes. They are moments that underline the history of Formula 1, among great champions and celebrities such as Senna, Scheckter, Villeneuve, Prost, Arnoux, Schumacher, Patrese, Alboreto, Alesi, Pironi, Berger, Piquet.

Dec 19, 2017