Ficara, affectionately referred to as "the David Copperfield of the kitchen" by his crewmates, hails from Sicily, where he spent five years training as a chef in the IPSSAR Hospitality School in Catania, Italy. At 30, Ficara has spent years working in kitchens in Australia, England, and Spain, although working in a kitchen on the white continent was always little more than a dream.
"To be honest, [going to Antarctica] was not in my plan," said Ficara, laughing. "It was like a lottery--you just buy a scratch card, and if you're lucky, you're going to win. You always dream about it, but you never think you will be the winner."
Each year, the Italian National Program for Antarctic Research (which maintains the base along with the French Polar Institute Paul Emile Victor) holds a lottery to determine who will be spending the next year as the resident chef at Concordia. This lottery system has won the station something of a reputation for its food, which received a nod in the Lonely Planet as a place "considered by many to enjoy Antarctica's best cuisine, with fine wines and seven-course lunches on Sundays."
Le strade, le ruote, i sentieri, i pedali, le corse, la pista, il sudore, l'agonia, il tifo, l'euforia, il trionfo. Il ciclismo.