GQ - Last year, he says, he had a business idea. What if, he said to himself, “pasta really had the same kind of fast-food credentials as burgers and pizzas? I was trying to figure out how to capitalize in this area of the market, and I was trying to think: How do you make a pasta which you can hold in your hand?”
He says he went so far as to design a prototype that involved the use of a panini press, and then, he says, he went even further, setting up a meeting with Los Angeles restaurant royalty Lele Massimini, the cofounder of Sugarfish and proprietor of the Santa Monica pasta restaurant Uovo. “And I told him my business plan,” Pattinson recalls, “and his facial expression didn’t even change afterwards. Let alone acknowledge what my plan was. There was absolutely no sign of anything from him, literally. And so it kind of put me off a little bit.” (Massimini says: “It’s 100 percent true, everything he told you.”)
Nevertheless, Pattinson says, he conceived of a brand name for his product, a soft little moniker that kind of summed up what he thought his pasta creation looked like: Piccolini Cuscino. Little Pillow. He thought he’d give the product another go, with me now: “Maybe if I say it in GQ, maybe, like, a partner will just come along.”
So he now takes hold of the bag that he’s brought from the corner store, out of which he produces the following:
One (1) giant, filthy, dust-covered box of cornflakes. (“I went to the shop, and they didn’t sell breadcrumbs. I’m like, ‘Oh, fuck it! I’m just getting cornflakes. That’s basically the same shit.’ ”)
One (1) incredibly large novelty lighter. (“I always liked the idea of doing a little flambé, like the brand name, with kind of burnt ends at the top.”)
Nine (9) packs of presliced cheese. (“I got, like, nine packs of presliced cheese.”)
Sauce. (Like a tomato sauce? “Just any sauce.”)
He puts on latex gloves. He pulls out some sugar and some aluminum foil and makes a bed, a kind of hollowed-out sphere, with the foil. He holds up a box of penne pasta that he had in the house. “All right,” Pattinson says. “So obviously, first things first, you gotta microwave the pasta.”
I watch as he pours dry penne into a cereal bowl, covers it with water, and places it in the microwave for eight minutes. He says using penne is already new territory for him. Usually he uses…well… “Do you know the pasta that’s, like, a little, it’s like a blob, a sort of squiggly blob?”
“No, no, no, no, it looks like—what would you even call it? It looks like a sort of messy…like, the hair bun on a girl.”
“I have literally no idea what you’re talking about,” I say.
“There was one type of pasta that worked. It definitely wasn’t penne.”
Nevertheless, penne and water in the microwave for eight minutes. In the meantime, he takes the foil and he begins dumping sugar on top of it. “I found after a lot of experimentation that you really need to congeal everything in an enormous amount of sugar and cheese.” So after the sugar, he opens his first package of cheese and begins layering slice after slice onto the sugar-foil. Then more sugar: “It really needs a sugar crust.”
First of all, I say this every month but the GQ cover story is my only must read story every month. They're always incredible and this one was better than most. I think so many people still think of Pattinson as the Twilight dude but he's impossibly cool and funny.
However, now we must add brilliant to that list. He's impossibly cool, funny, and brilliant. I mean this handheld microwaved pasta concoction is something I can see myself eating the hell out of. We've all tried to make a pasta sandwich before (I don't know if "we all" have. I should be more accurate here and say "I" have). Be it when you're drunk or hungover or just starving and poor, it's happened. I've put Spaghetti O's in a hot dog bun and I've put Chef Boyarde on a cheeseburger bun. I'm not proud of it, but I'm not not proud of it either. It's survival.
Still, I don't think anyone has ever put as much effort into it as Pattinson has here. That's probably due to the aforementioned drunk brain or hungover brain. This is a multi-step process (I just said process in a British accent because I've just been reading Pattinson's quotes in a British accent. Is that common? Whatever.) and it involves many ingredients. It's drunk eating on another level and if I know anything about foods that serve drunk people, it's that those foods do well.
I don't know what an entry level investment would be here, but if Robert is looking to take on investor in the 50 dollar ballpark then I can't give him my money fast enough. Sugar, pasta, bread, and "just any sauce"? Sign me up.