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Top Chef: Angelo Celona of Mani in Pasta

The Sicilian culinary master dishes up restaurant tips and a courgette recipe you can try in your own kitchen. Meet him at his restaurant/pasta shop in Markthalle IX.

Image for Top Chef: Angelo Celona of Mani in Pasta
Photo by Maria Runarsdottir

When he was 16, Angelo Celona’s older brother put a frying pan in his hand and he’s been cooking his family’s Italian recipes ever since. In 1998, the Sicilian came to Berlin and spread his love for pasta. Since December, he’s been the proud owner of Mani in Pasta restaurant and store in Markthalle IX, accompanied by his brother Gioacchino and their friend, fellow Italian Lorenzo Corisi. Here, he prepares dishes like aubergine- and ricotta-stuffed ravioli right before your eyes.

What’s the food trend you hate the most? 

It’s become so popular to cook with capsicum. Yes, it tastes good, but I find it boring… aubergine is so much more interesting! You can put it in almost every dish. 

The best selling item at your restaurant?

The classical one: Spaghetti bolognese. And people go crazy for all of the pestos… I make my own, with aubergine, basil and courgette. 

A cooking tip…

That’s very difficult, because it depends on what you like… but I can recommend cooking with courgette. Just fry it with garlic and a little bit of mint and spread it with some Parmesan. It doesn’t have to be complicated!

A dining tip (other than your own restaurant)…

Lode and Stijn, which recently opened in Lausitzer Straße 25. These two young Dutch guys have such a good energy and eye for the details. They cook pretty traditional food, but it’s just great. 

The best and worst thing about having a restaurant in Berlin? 

The worst is that you work almost all of the time. There’s just so much to do… I mean, if you’re preparing fish for instance, you also have to clean it, and clean up afterwards. You basically never have a day off in this business. Then again, I like the stress. I just have to have a break every third month or so. But during my breaks I also cook, haha. I guess I just love my job.