It all started with a setback… Ezio and Barbara, hard workers, one day saw the business built up over years of work vanish in a flash. They made the mistake of having misplaced their trust in unreliable collaborators.
When faced with the crossroads of life, they had to decide whether to succumb and wallow in self-pity, or to react by taking responsibility for their mistakes. After a pitiless self-criticism and adding up the skills, they decided to rise like the phoenix.
They studied a project and, with a small loan from their friends Cristiana and Giuliana, opened a streetfood shop, 2.5 metres by 1 metre. After 18 months of hard work, they reluctantly sold this little treasure in order to carry out the project of rebirth. The spark came in 2014 when 87-year-old Alfonsina, mother of their great friend Gianni, won the World Pesto al mortaio Championship. Soon afterwards the turning point: a chat, in the historic centre of Genoa, and abracadabra together with Gianni and Fabio opened Cavour 21. In this true Trattoria Genovese, the absolute protagonists are pesto and Genovese cuisine in its most traditional version, but managed with the most modern skills of the restaurant industry, from food costing to management control and staff training.
So success arrived, fast, overwhelming, Cavour 21 climbed the city rankings, with many many people wanting to eat there, even if there is a queue and in 2020 Tripadvisor included it in the 10% of the best restaurants in the world! In 2016, “21” became “modo21” to identify the philosophy and values according to which Ezio and Barbara work in their restaurant.
In 2016, Corrado, the founding chef of modo21, offered the two the Piero restaurant in Genoa Nervi, where he had worked from the gavetta 40 years earlier. A place of the heart that would become part of the history of modo21 and then in spring 2021, having enjoyed the desired success, a new parent would take it over.
After came Molo 21, where the range of pizzas and cheese flatbreads for friendly customers was expanded and became very popular thanks to the recipes and experience of master pizza maker Alessandro.
In 2019, modo21 arrives on the outskirts of Milan. In Lacchiarella, Taliedo 21 is inaugurated, conquering Lombard palates in five months. In March 2020, the virus interrupted the Po Valley dream.
The passion remains, and in 2021, hosted by Bagni San Giuliano in Genoa, modo21 will arrive on the sea and for the summer season will combine the cuisine of Cavour 21 and the pizza world of Molo 21, to the acclaim of San Giuliano bathers and others.
The success of the project modo21 is certainly the result of Ezio and Barbara’s initiative and resilience, as well as the commitment of all their collaborators over time. Among them: Mario the Argentinean, Arianna mamma pesto, Silvana, Barbarina Jennica and Sarah; then the lineage of Alessie, Valentina, Ibra, Enzo, Martina, Momin, Akash, the super cook Annabella, Condolito, Federica, Viviana, Marco, and those who have teamed up…
But it doesn’t end here, something else is cooking… the story continues…
“Being modo 21” is resilience, heart, a bit of magic, determination, fantasy, friendship, inclusion, trust, respect, friendship, loyalty… but also some discussion, some grumbling and some “beo” (shouting in Genoese) and more…
Many people have asked us why 21. When Cavour 21 was born, we started with the house number 21, we went to look into numerology and symbolism and we read that, among other things: “the number 21 is linked to positivity, creativity and enthusiasm, to having a positive attitude towards changes or adverse situations in order to achieve one’s goals and dreams. People close to the number 21 have the human ability to socialise freely without any difficulties. Their active and creative mind is agile enough to find effective solutions to all problems. From a spiritual and esoteric point of view, the number 21 is a sign of progress and success. The number 21 has to do with unity, fulfilment and happiness…”.
So, recognising ourselves in much of what we read, we adopted 21 which in 2016 then became “modo 21”
And it is from this “stuff” that Armando Ezio Ferrari and Barbara Agnarelli, creators of the modo 21 brand, started to shape a different way of understanding work in the restaurant industry and the relationship with their collaborators and clients.
The added value of modo 21 can be found in the emotional atmosphere that one breathes in the modo 21 premises. Collaborators or aspiring collaborators, not employees, are asked to share this modus.
It is a systemic vision of work, in which the cleaner and the administrators are equally functional parts of the machine, albeit with different skills specific to each role. In modo 21 every individual, with his or her own characteristics, has equal citizenship, irrespective of religious choice, skin colour or sexual orientation, sometimes even of one’s past.
One of the inspiring values of modo 21 can be found in the word TEAM, which also stands for “Together Everyone Achives More“.
The customers of modo 21 enjoy and feel, and sometimes even participate in, the energy that comes from this way of being, this taste of living everyday in a peaceful and productive way.
And in the modo 21 restaurants you can also breathe and eat this magic…
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