The Story Behind Alloro
“Alloro” is Italian for Laurel as in laurel bay leaves. Gina and Salvatore chose this name because Salvatore loves to cook with it, because it carries centuries of symbolism and because it is a perennial green herb (many of you know green is a favorite color of the Corea family).
In the summer, one can enjoy an Alloro sorbet while in the winter it accompanies meat dishes in a jus lie reduction. “Alloro” is not to be confused with “Allora” which translates to “well then…” One may of course use them in the same sentence as in “Allora, andiamo ad Alloro!”
Chef Salvatore Corea was born in Albi, a small town of about 800 inhabitants, in the province of Catanzaro in the Calabria region of Italy. Calabria is known for its homegrown vegetables, fruits and especially for its homemade olive oil and wine. Salvatore grew up on freshly grown foods all his life and was surrounded by women who harvested and cooked delicious, labor-intensive food. Chef Corea discovered his passion for home-style cooking at a young age in his mother’s kitchen.
At 20, Salvatore enrolled in a local hotel management school where he would study to be a waiter. After noting he was too anxiety ridden to even carry a tray to a table, he quit. He began to think back to cooking with his mother and to his time in the service. While serving his mandatory one-year in the military, Salvatore quickly moved from the firing range to the kitchen. He was such a poor shot; his superior traded his rifle for a vegetable peeler. He knew the kitchen was his place.
At 22, Salvatore moved north to Le Marche to work for his older brother where he was again handed the vegetable peeler. Here he confirmed two things: the kitchen is where he belongs and brothers are better off working separately. He moved to Rome in search of a cooking job.
While cooking Roman dishes in an Irish pub, he met an American English teacher named Gina. Melissa was Gina’s roommate and worked in the pub as a waitress. She insisted on a blind date for Gina and Salvatore. Gina declined claiming she was done with Italian men! However, one night Gina ate Salvatore’s food. It was love at first bite! She was hooked after her first dish of Stracchetti con Rucola e Parmigiano.
Soon after their first date, Salvatore was offered the position of Executive Chef at La Torre, renowned restaurant on the exclusive Island of Giannutri in Tuscany. Salvatore bargained for an agreement that would include Gina coming along to learn to wait tables. The two worked side by side for two consecutive summers.
After living in Rome together for 4 years, in 1998 the two decided to move to New York, Gina’s hometown. Chef Corea held the Executive Chef position at Va Tutto!, La Gioconda, La Giara, and Baraonda.
Chef Corea has opened several successful restaurants since coming to NYC as chef/partner: Cacio e Pepe in the East Village, Spiga on the Upper West Side and Bocca in Gramercy. When Salvatore realized that the best partner is a life partner, he sold his shares. He remains a partner in Cacio e Pepe and is the co-owner of Alloro with his wife, Gina.
Salvatore and Gina live one block away from Alloro, on 77th Street with their two girls, Giada and Maila. They spend their days with the girls and their nights at Alloro where they were always looking forward to welcoming you to their cozy restaurant. On January 24, 2015 Alloro closed its doors after six years of welcoming wonderful guests from all over the world. Salvatore will return to Cacio e Pepe and hopes to see you there!