Frank Falcinelli, Chef and Co-Owner, Frankie’s Spuntino
It’s a well-known challenge within the hospitality industry: creating a successful culinary venture while staying true to one’s creative vision. Needless to say, it takes an individual with a great deal of character and persistence to integrate his rich heritage into not one, but several incredibly popular restaurants in New York City. With a menu based on quality ingredients cultivated from his Italian-American roots, and an unwavering respect for guests, restaurateur/chef Frank Falcinelli (and business partner Frank Castronovo), are cherished by foodies near and far.
Serving up seasonal Italian cuisine in an inviting atmosphere is the recipe to the Franks’ success. Although a French-trained chef, Frank F. ultimately owes his passion for cooking to his Italian grandmother. It’s no surprise that the Franks’ approach to Italian comfort food has earned them a reputation as creators of the best meatball in New York City.
Frank Falcinelli is one of a handful of Lincoln Individuals featured in the Lincoln Motor Company’s current print campaign for the 2013 MKZ.
A Few Words For Proust
We asked Frank to muse on a few questions from the Proust Questionnaire.
Q: What is your greatest fear?
A: Not accomplishing my life’s work before I die. Or accomplishing it and then not dying.
Q: What is your current state of mind?
A: Per usual: persistent and happy.
Q: What is your favorite way of spending time?
A: Cooking for friends and family out of the garden, ocean, and forest. I also love working on vintage cars and motorcycles.
Q: What historical figure do you most identify with?
A: There are four: Jerry Garcia, FDR, Lao-tzu, and Thomas Jefferson.
Q: Which living person do you most admire?
A: There are two: William Jefferson Clinton and Keith Richards.
Q: Who are your real-life heroes?
A: Chefs. For the most part, they’re passionate, driven, and unfailing in their generosity.
Q: What is your most treasured possession?
Q: When and where were you happiest?
A: The three months before I was born — it was dreamy, ethereal, and I had to pay zero taxes.
Q: What is your most obvious characteristic?
A: My overwhelmingness.
Q: What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
Q: What is the trait you most deplore in others?
A: Lack of respect for others’ time or, more accurately, tardiness. But lying about drugs in cycling for 12 years straight is pretty bad, too.
Q: What is your greatest extravagance?
A: Really long, hot baths.
Q: What is your favorite journey?
Q: What do you most dislike about your appearance?
A: My piercing blue eyes, as they distract other drivers.
Q: What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Q: On what occasion do you lie?
A: When I have to answer Proust questionnaires.
Q: Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
A: Sick; I love this business; I’ll have simply the finest; dispatch me your finest; we’re here for a good time, not a long time; God, I love the Grateful Dead.
Q: If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
A: My inability to have spent time in every great era.
Q: What do you consider your greatest achievement?
A: Surviving in the restaurant business in New York City.
Q: Where would you like to live?
A: As far as I’m concerned, there’s no place better than Brooklyn, my home right now. Though I would consider the cellar at Rekondo, in San Sebastian.
Q: What is the quality you most admire in a man?
A: Their ability to admire women.
Q: What is the quality you most admire in a woman?
A: Their ability to be smarter than men in every way and make it look easy.
Q: What is it you most dislike?
A: Other than airport security, the NYC Building Department red tape and not being able to park in Midtown. Or anywhere else, for that matter.
Q: What do you value most in your friends?
A: That they consider me a friend, but loyalty, respect, trust, honesty, and humor go a long way.
Q: How would you like to die?
A: I’m going to die? I’m a huge proponent of everlasting life, but if I really must die I’d like to die peacefully in my sleep, on a warm beach, surrounded by friends and family.
Q: If you were to die and come back as a person or an animal, what do you think it would be?
A: Jay-Z, the king of the jungle.
Q: If you could choose an object to come back as, what would you choose?
A: Alain Passard’s favorite knife.
Q: Who has been the greatest influence on you?
A: My parents and grandparents, on both sides of the aisle.