“Making a good tyre is just like making a good risotto.” Apparently it was during a lunch break, between a meeting about polymers and another one about nanotechnologies, that Maurizio Boiocchi, the ‘father’ of Pirelli’s tyres – including the Formula One rubber – was visited by this pertinent insight.
So what did he mean? Boiocchi replied: “Tyres, just like a risotto, are the result of finding exactly the right balance, with top quality ingredients and constant tasting. And then, think of the words that are often used to describe the processes: to make a risotto you have to mix the ingredients carefully, and what is a tyre compound, if not the result of mixing as well?”
It was at that moment that Boiocchi’s dining companions were struck by an idea: why not unite the two concepts in a unique book? How about describing Pirelli’s house speciality – Formula One tyres – with the help of a good risotto?
That’s how the Miles and Meals recipe book was born: a cookbook used by Pirelli to underline the similarities between tyres and recipes, compounds and ingredients.
So just take Formula One’s exclusive tyre supplier, add the best known Italian chef in the paddock, mix it all up with a dash of adrenalin from the 20 circuits on the calendar, and finally add the ingredients and flavours that make the venues visited by the grand prix circus uniquely delicious.
The result is an unforgettable and original recipe book, in which Pirelli has brought together 20 dishes, taking in starters, main courses and desserts equally – in order to satisfy every taste.
The mastermind behind these recipes is chef Fabrizio Tanfani, from Tuscany in Italy, who presides over the kitchen in the Pirelli motorhome and whose talents have made Pirelli’s home from home the place to be not only for the company’s technicians and engineers, but also for journalists, guests and drivers, who flock to Pirelli’s hospitality throughout the day for coffee, lunch, or just a drink.
Each recipe is prefaced by an anecdote that tells the story of every circuit both from the point of view of the tyres and that of the kitchen. So we find out that Australian Angus beef is the very best that you can get for a quintessentially Italian ‘tagliata’, Tanfani’s recipe for home-made pasta with tuna and Sicilian capers stems from a chance meeting in Montreal market with some Italians living in Canada, and how avocado turns out to be the best accompaniment to a Mediterranean seafood salad.
And there is plenty of diverse global food that passes through Tanfani’s kitchen: from beef fillet for the desert in Abu Dhabi, to goose carpaccio tasted on the Ramblas in Barcelona, as well as squid ink tortellini inspired by China, not to mention tagliatelle with porcini gathered from the rich Belgian forests.
It’s a feast not only for the palate but also for the eyes. Giving the book extra spice are lavish photographs that illustrate the ingredients, which are playfully transformed into tyres, cars and mechanics; ready to take to the track and start their ‘race’. So agnolotti become racing cars in a head to head duel through a corner, paccheri head down a straight flanked by tomatoes with pine nuts as tyres, gravel traps are represented by coarse salt, the green light is a basil leaf, and an octopus becomes the world’s most sought-after mechanic, with eight arms ready to work on a car...
In the end, as Boiocchi said, the world of tyres isn’t actually so different from that of gastronomy. It’s all about ingredients, temperatures, and finding the perfect combination.