A taste for art and feasts of the imagination ….… A passion for power ……. A lust for life and adventures ……. Hedonism and gluttony ……. The seven deadly sins ……. All this and much more was Florence of the late 15th century. All senses and scents “invaded” the city and turned it into the cradle of the Renaissance where painters captured the light and movements in their glamorous paintings while young lads like Nino Latini brought life to ingredients, spices and herbs.
The boy has an inherited twin passion for food and art as he’s the son of butcher and a nephew of Fra Filippo Lippi (one of the renowned painters of Florence of that time). He’s still young when he realizes that he’s not that ordinary regarding tastes and scents. Unlike other people and even cooks ingredients and spices trigger quite different senses and associations for him. His sharp senses allow him to develop his talent to taste things others cannot. He’s like a true painter in the kitchen who “draws” with ingredients, his tongue being his brush. And all these skills spin the Wheel of Fortune and bring him to the palaces of the wealthiest and most powerful men of those times – de’ Medicis, the Borgias and the Pope himself.
The 14-year old boy starts as a cook in his uncle’s tavern where he’s noticed by Lorenzo il magnifico (the Magnificent) and thus he becomes his illustrious chef. Through the years Nino puts his inherited artistic skills into an extravagant use. His imagination and inventive nature are beyond any limits and are always on to meet any taste when he creates allegorical banquets and parties with aphrodisiac meals for Lorenzo de’ Medici or the Spaniard – Rodrigo Borgia.
But, unfortunately, the new culinary maestro’s not fully satisfied. He has everything in Rome starting from the most desired work ever to the amusements with girls in brothels. But definitely he misses his Florence. He’s away from his homeland because he falls foul of political factions there. He’s also on a constant search for the perfect dish and above all for love – love for his childhood sweetheart Tessina degli Albizzi.
And like any fairytale Philip Kazan’s “Appetite” has a happy ending. Grown Nino goes back to Florence at the time of the Pazzi conspiracy of April 26, 1478 in The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore. He finds his princess and marries her. And at the same time he returns to the old scents and flavours, tastes and smells that call to mind the people and places he has always loved.