Palermo's indecisive Zamparini sends back meal for fifth time
Staff at the award-winning Palermo restaurant Kursaal Kalhesa have reacted with despair to the news that local businessman and US Citta di Palermo owner Maurizio Zamparini has sent back his food for a record fifth time.
Zamparini, 71, a regular customer of the establishment for more than a decade, declared after two mouthfuls that his stuffed chicken breast in marsala sauce with spinach was excessively dry, and demanded the waiters bring him the grilled swordfish with a roulade of clams.
Zamparini earlier rejected the artichoke risotto, the seafood tagliolini, the braised beef with paprika, and the mixed grill. Privately, waiters expressed their fear that the swordfish, marinaded in orange and honey and seared for two minutes in a charcoal oven, would meet with the same reaction.
"[The swordfish] is one of our most popular dishes, but in this business, reputation goes out the window," said Andrea Rizzo, Kursaal Kalhesa maitre d'. "We know we have to be completely on our game if we're going to get through tonight. We've been preparing for Mr Zamparini all week, but anything can happen out there."
Rizzo recalled an evening several years ago on which Zamparini sent back an onion soup three times, only to recall it on each occasion when a veal escalope, a spaghetti puttanesca, and a cheese board proved unsatisfactory.
"That was a long night," he told FourFourTwo. "We thought the cheese board would sort him out, but after a good start with the pecorino and the caciottina he took against the fig compote and we were back to square one."
At the time of going to press, Zamparini had reportedly sent back the swordfish half-eaten, sacked Gian Piero Gasperini, and demanded to see the dessert menu.