The first chef to gain attention was Peppe Barone of Fattoria delle Torri in the medieval town of Modica. In the 1990s, Barone began experimenting with Modica's traditional dishes—such as rabbit cooked in chocolate sauce, a recipe that recalls the four centuries Sicily spent under Spanish rule. By lavishing attention on a home-style dish, he elevated Sicilian cooking in a way that had never been done in high-end restaurants. One of Barone's cooks, Carmelo Chiaramonte, adopted his mentor's local approach and, when he landed at Il Cuciniere in Catania, became an outspoken ambassador for superlative Sicilian ingredients like olive oil from Mont Iblei and blood oranges from Catania. And in Noto, Corrado Assenza, a fourth-generation pastry chef (pictured at right), introduced brilliant new sweets that were inspired by Sicily's history: things like basil-scented marzipan and jams that treat vegetables, such as peppers and zucchini, like fruit.