by Amanda Long.
The sun rises over the mountains, pigeons coo in the distance, and the town of Cagli wakes up. The Cagliesi begin their journey to the piazza for their morning espresso and croissant, while Loris Lepri begins his work. Loris is the owner of a local pasta-making shop, Pasta Fresca, and he begins his workday making and preparing pasta. He explains that his pasta is always made fresh daily for the display case as well as for special orders. To fill the orders, sometimes he begins as early as 6:30am.
The art of pasta-making begins with its ingredients. His is made with “a little water, five eggs, and flour,” Loris explains. He mixes the ingredients to make his pasta and from this, creates many rolls of pasta dough. After the dough rises, it sits on a long, wooden rectangular table where his pasta creations take shape. When the balls of dough are ready, he flattens them in preparation for the machine. He then grabs one ball of pasta dough and carefully, with both hands, maneuvers it into the pasta machine. Loris promptly catches the flattened dough as it goes through the machine. Each time the dough goes through the machine it thins. Loris continues until his pasta reaches the desired thickness and all the dough is gone. Loris gracefully uses the pasta cutters to make different pasta shapes. After the pasta is prepared, Loris explains that he will make the pasta meals. He gently picks up each of the small squares of pasta and rests gumball-size balls of meat on them. Loris then seals the pasta squares to ensure the meat will stay in place during the baking process.
Pasta Fresca started in 1971 when Loris Lepri’s dad and mom bought the space to start a business. Once he received his Business degree, he had to make a decision about his career. He decided he wanted to have more one-on-one interaction with the public than with a corporation. Loris’s contemplation led to his career working within the family business. The youngest of three boys, Loris begins and ends his day with a commute to and from the neighboring town, Fossombrone. He elaborates that his wife accepted a teaching job in Fossombrone and they started a family.
Pasta Fresca keeps their doors wide open during business hours. Loris greets those walking by and gives a friendly wave. “I believe in creating more conversation and relationship building,” Loris explains. Loris describes his approach to customer service in positive ways. He makes a strong effort to provide quality pasta and friendly customer service to anyone who walks into his business. He introduces himself to new customers and welcomes them to ask questions about the business. “I am surprised how people open up so easily and confidently to me,” Loris says.
Loris works with a smile. He illuminates that working next to his parents and a close family friend gives him a sense of joy and pride. He plans to continue his commitment to the life of Pasta Fresca. “I enjoy more contact with people, rather than contact with a corporate business,” Loris explains while making the tortellini. All the pasta is made fresh daily but only as much as will be sold for the day. In the winter when it is colder he knows that the daily inventory needs to be larger.
“The best part of my job is getting to know other people and their lives,” gleams Loris. He is proud to see the love that the customers have for their families because he has the same love for his family.