Born of a passion for the street food of his homeland and a love for cooking, Alessandro Ancona's Picciotto Truck transports New Yorkers to the delicious streets of Sicily.
Alessandro Ancona is a Sicilian chef and restaurateur. Born in the historic town of Erice, Sicily, Alessandro is the youngest of three sons. Alessandro grew up in the seaside town of Castellammare del Golfo, and lived there until emigrating to America in 1998 with the dream of bringing traditional Sicilian food to the streets of New York City.
Alessandro’s passion for Sicilian food, culture, and tradition started in his early childhood. His father was a shepherd, and instilled in him the importance of taking great pride in creating homemade foods through traditional practices (like olive oil and cheeses) from their own farm-grown product. These traditions are still carried on by his brothers in Sicily, and Alessandro has taken these lessons with him to the US. Like many Sicilians, Alessandro’s mother was a passionate home cook and passed on many culinary gifts to her son.
When it was time for Alessandro to join the Italian Army as part of his country’s civil service duty, he also acted as chef and cooked for the highest-ranking members of the Regione Militare Tosco-Emiliana, Florence. It was during his time in the Army that Alessandro picked up the nickname of "Picciotto", a word that means "boy" in the Sicilian dialect. He quickly realized that he wanted to follow his passion for cooking, and worked in many restaurants in Sicily as a waiter and cook. He also apprenticed with his town’s most respected pizzaiolo (pizza chef), who passed on years of knowledge and recipes, before moving to the United States in his early twenties to continue his career in the restaurant business. In 2006, Alessandro and a partner opened Cacio e Vino, a restaurant in NYC’s East Village that specializes in Sicilian cooking. Alessandro was chef and partner here for the restaurant’s most successful six and a half years, and was at the helm when it was given the honor of “Best Sicilian Restaurant” by Italy’s Accademia Italiana della Cucina.
In April 2013, he sold his shares and left to pursue a dream of bringing Sicilian street food to his adopted home city. After spending some time with his growing family (Alessandro’s wife, Julie, recently gave birth to their second daughter), he decided it was time to take this dream to the streets.
The Picciotto NYC food truck is Alessandro’s gift of Sicilian street food to the hungry eaters of New York City. When he isn’t behind the wheel or preparing pizzas and arancine for the masses, you can find him passionately cheering for the AC Milan soccer team and spending quality time with his loved ones.