Pasta Pooks: Rock and pasta in your skin

When we are going to do a pop upwe always say to ourselves that we are going rock and roll! –Victor Alex Petrenko

Osheaga, Adamo, Floating Island and Air-Conditioned Room are just a few of the places where Pasta Pooks has held more than festive events over its two years of existence. Last June, in the scorching heat, customers lent themselves to improvised basketball games accompanied by fresh pasta in the backyard of the Boxerman. Behind the counter, Luca was master of the dishes. Everywhere else, Victor-Alex, aka Coach Vic, was master of ceremonies.

From Robin Hood to Pasta Pooks

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Luca Labelle Vinci started making pasta thanks to the love of cooking shared by his Italian family. | Photo: Radio-Canada / Alexis Boulianne

At Mano Cornuto, the melodies of James Brown and Led Zeppelin follow one another while Luca Vinci weighs portions. When he’s not wearing his pop-up restaurant star clothes, he’s busy cooking at the restaurant in Griffintown. His task? Fresh pasta of course. I try to create the most beautiful shape and the most beautiful color, he explains. Luca submits to monastic discipline in order to perfect his technique.

His first steps in the world of pasta, he made them thanks to his Italian family settled in Quebec and Robin Hood flour. An assumed mother’s son, he devotes boundless respect to his Sardinian origins and its rich culinary culture. Even today, he often gives phone calls to his aunt Ana Maria Vinci, whom he describes as food dictionary, for advice on recipes. On his father’s side, he begins to explore his Huron-Wendat roots.

Knowing how to make pasta by hand is an art that is disappearing. I meditate when I do this. »

A quote from Luca Labelle Vinci

Childhood friends, Luca and Victor-Alex have long formed a formidable team in video games. Tactics, communication, attack: they have sharpened their complicity with virtual games won by two. We fought each other more playing than in liferemarks Victor-Alex laughing.

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Luca Labelle Vinci is constantly perfecting his technique for making pasta. | Photo: Radio-Canada / Alexis Boulianne

In video games as in life, the duo quickly understood the strength of their union. While they were roommates in an apartment in the Plateau, the two friends, who were then employed in the restaurant world, found themselves out of work at the start of the pandemic. Boredom pushed Luca to reconnect with tailoring. I started to put pictures of him cooking on Instagram, says Victor-Alex. He was handsome, so the girls would answer me and ask who he was. They said they liked pasta! It started like that. Orders poured in immediately. The 120 portions sold on Instagram per week at their debut confirmed one thing: the two friends were to become business partners.

Like the girls on Instagram, the industry took to the eclectic duo. The Barbara restaurant team, including Catherine Draws and chef David Pellizzari, offered a job making pasta to Luca Vinci. Then, the latter migrated to Impasto, where his passage alongside Stefano Faita and Michele Forgione was a turning point for him.

The impresario and his artist

On the other side of the Mano Cornuto kitchen, Victor-Alex Petrenko is leaning on the counter and watching attentively his artist, finishing his sentences (or interrupting him). Having bathed in the world of music, he applies this mode of management to the company. His dedication is evident. The day before, a tattoo artist’s ink immortalized the letters of Pasta Pooks on his left hand. “Tattoos are stunts [ou coups de pub, en français]. I got a chrome logo tattooed on my hand. Who do this? »

Victor-Alex does that.

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The Pasta Pooks logo was immortalized on the left hand of Victor-Alex Petrenko. | Photo: Radio-Canada / Alexis Boulianne

When he’s not the second half of Pasta Pooks, he works for a restaurant owner he admires, Ryan Gray, at Gia Vin & Grill in Saint-Henri. Luca and I are lucky enough to hang out with industry legends, he notes. It keeps us very humble to be surrounded by these people who have worked so hard. They are talented people, which forces us to push our limits and know our place.

The winning recipe is to mix the party with the pasta. There must always be a musical side. The secret of our success is the unifying aspect. We invite many people from all walks of life. – Victor-Alex

Next September, they will take off for an ephemeral collaboration with the pizzeria Leo, in Brooklyn. Forget the money, Pasta Pooks is going there to do a publicity stunt! Nothing less. Italy is also in the cards. But this journey with the accents of pilgrimage will be an exploration of Bologna at the heart of its pasta season. The friends intend to document this journey to the promised land and learn a few things along the way.

The duo do not yet know when they will put their bags down at a permanent address, preferably in Little Italy. We have achieved so many dreams in a short time! We want to find the perfect chef and local, explains Victor-Alex. Above all, we don’t want to rush… everything has to be aligned.

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Victor-Alex Petrenko manages the activities and promotes the company. | Photo: Radio-Canada / Alexis Boulianne

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