Michele Berlendis

Resident Head Chef Michele Berlendis is the hands and heart of MaMa Florence, since he joined the team in 2016. A native-born Tuscan, he attended a technical school specializing in hospitality and during weekends, worked in a local restaurant where his passion for the kitchen was born. His most significant formative restaurant experience was working alongside chef Filippo Saporito, who he defines as his culinary guru, at La Leggenda dei Frati. After honing his skills, Michele moved to Berlin where he worked at the premier Italian restaurant Boccadibacco and helped run Caffe Pfoertner. Michele’s approach to cooking is dynamic and he loves experimenting with simple flavors so the taste of the genuine ingredients he uses can really come through. He reinterprets classic recipes to give them his personal touch. You can find him coordinating the order from the butcher, finding the freshest seasonal produce at the local vegetable market, or in his chef’s whites in front of the stovetop at MaMa sharing his knowledge with smiling participants.     

What’s on his plate?
Ricotta and Spinach Tortelli with Butter and Sage Sauce
What’s in his glass?
Castello di Ama Chianti Classico


Valeria Piccini

Valeria Piccini is chef and owner of Da Caino restaurant in Montemerano in the province of Grosseto not far from the Saturnia thermal baths in a quiet corner of Southern Tuscany. Even with a restaurant up a winding country road and boasting a mere nine tables, Valeria is one of the most influential Italian chefs and an incredible voice of contemporary Italian cooking. With her firm grasp on traditional regional ingredients, her beloved vegetable garden, and a pantry filled with homemade products, her dishes come to life as she experiments and painstakingly researches each dish. The end product is an incredible seasonal menu displaying her unique style at once elegant, delicate, and decisive. 

Valeria never had professional chef training, but learned everything she knows alongside her mother in their home kitchen and later alongside her mother-in-law, the original chef of the family run restaurant she and her husband took over in 1987. What was once a nice local restaurant became one of Italy’s most highly acclaimed restaurants with two Michelin stars and numerous other accolades. Alongside her every step of the way has been her husband, Maurizio Menichetti, who is in charge of the service, hospitality and incredible 20,000-bottle wine cellar. Maurizio’s wines are stored deep beneath the town of Montemerano in subterranean tunnels, in one of the most beautiful and well-stocked cellars in Italy. 

What’s on his plate?
What’s in his glass?

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