Today we are honored to speak with His Royal Highness Prince Emanuele Filiberto di Savoia of Italy.
You are the prince of Venice. Tell us about your fascinating story and your journey.
It’s a very long story. I am the son and heir of Vittorio Emanuele di Savoia and the only grandson in the male line of Umberto II, the last King of Italy. My family united Italy.
My great-great-great-grandfather King Victor Emmanuel II became the first King of Italy, then we reigned in Italy until 1946 when the Republic arrived after the referendum. Since then, we were in exile in Switzerland. We couldn’t go back to Italy and I wasn’t born in my country. In 2002 I was finally able to return to Italy to visit my country, but my family has existed since the year 1000. We are one of the oldest royal families in Europe if not the world, so from France to Switzerland on the way back we were all over Europe.
What made you decide to start a food truck and now a restaurant?
Victim. One day, years ago, I was at a big event in Los Angeles and discovered the food truck scene.
In Europe it was not very well known so I arrived and saw all these beautiful food trucks full of colors, but I wanted to eat Italian food. So I was with a friend and I was looking for an Italian food truck and I didn’t see one so I went home and said, okay, I’ll make one. So I wanted to do something a bit special. I decided to make fresh handmade pasta and celebrate pizza, Sicilian arancini, desserts, salads and let’s say the good Italian food that I think you find here in very expensive restaurants or that you don’t not find them. I wanted to introduce this food to Americans and with very good quality and at a pretty good price.
Are you planning to start a chain of restaurants?
The idea is to go into franchises and I hope, even if it’s a difficult time, to open a chain of restaurants. But if we manage to do good business, not lose money right now, I think that shows that the concept is a winning concept. So I’m even more excited to open in these difficult times and to see that people are responding very well. The restaurant on the first day was successful but it multiplies and people come back and that is something wonderful for me. So yes, the idea is to then open a chain of restaurants all over America.
What are the specialties of your restaurant?
We have very good food. Our arancini are prepared by a Sicilian cook. We have many food selections. What I like about my restaurant, without taking anything away from anyone, is that when you enter my restaurant you see that the chef is from Naples, my pizza chef is from Sicily, my manager is from Venice; they are all Italian. I think it takes Italians to have an Italian restaurant. We still have the food truck, but we are now waiting due to the pandemic.
Do you think Italian cooking is an art form?
I think Italian food is our culture first and foremost. There are amazing cooks and chefs who are artists, but my goal is to have amazing cooks more than artistic chefs on TV. I want people to discover the Italian taste and thus taste our culture. I want people to try grandma’s food. All grandmothers are amazing cooks.
You are a prince, the grandson of the last king of Italy, but you like to be on the front line in the restaurant and you have your feet on the ground. What is your approach to life?
It’s hard to describe myself, but I’ve always been very down to earth and I’m like, yeah, I come from a big family, I have a big name, but I’m a working guy and who wants to please people and wants to be friendly with them. I never put distance between me and others or between me and people I might meet. I could meet the President of the United States or my dishwasher and I really treat them the same. This is how I am made.
Prince of Venice website