Valeria Piccini has been the iconic chef of Maremma cuisine in the world, since the time when being a chef was not fashionable. In fact she is a true “Cook”, who likes getting her hands dirty in the kitchen and draws inspiration time after time for memorable meals reminiscent of her homeland. She was still young when she started working in the bar of her boyfriend’s family; Maurizio Menichetti later became her life companion. Since then, the mediaeval village of Montemerano has thronged with hosts of passionate gourmets and the ancient village wine store, that later became a simple Tuscan hostelry, has turned into a gastronomic experience. As perfect counterpoint to an excellent cuisine that combines tradition and modernity, Maurizio has been the architect of one of the finest and most formidable wine cellars in Italy, although he has recently withdrawn from the restaurant to focus on oil and wine production, leaving his son Andrea to lead the dining room and provide assistance in the kitchen. Top news of the year is the glamour partnership with the Winter Garden of the Hotel St. Regis Florence, a well-reputed, award-winning Tuscan restaurant.