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EXTRAORDINARY ITALIAN NOVEMBER BY ALFREDO 2018 RUSSO

BRUNO SERATO

INSPIRES CHANGE

GONZALO LUZARRAGA

A JOURNEY ON A PLATE

VALERIA PICCINI

A MASTER CHEF www.extraordinaryitalian.com

FEDERICO ZANASI CONDIVIDERE EX.IT November 2018 -

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ANDONI LUIS ADURIZ

REIF OTHMAN

JORDI ROCA

ANDRÉ CHIANG

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YANN BERNARD LEJARD

YOSHIHIRO NARISAWA

MANU BUFFARA

PAUL BOCUSE


EXTRAORDINARY ITALIAN OCTOBER BY ALFREDO 2018 RUSSO

IOLANDA BUSTOS

CHEF OF FLOWERS

GAËL CLAVIERE

DALI OF PATISSERIE

REUBEN RIFFE

DANIEL NEGREIRA

SPANISH TOUCH IN TAIPEI www.wgmagazines.com

BOLD FLAVOURS

PACO MORALES

ANDALUSÍ CUISINE EX.IT November 2018 -

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SA HTEIN by

Bringing you a taste of the Middle East’s culinary scene www.sahteinbywg.com

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WG


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PEDRO SUBIJANA

RICHNESS IN VARIETY

EDORTA LAMO

TRADITIONAL BASQUE PINTXO

JOSEAN ALIJA

CORE, HEART, ESSENCE

JOSÉ LUIS VICENTE GÓMEZ

LEGACY OF FOUR GENERATIONS www.bas-que.com

ANDONI LUIS ADURIZ NINE COURSE

SAN SEBASTIÁN CULINARY HEAVEN EX.IT November 2018 -

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Good taste isn’t expensive

S P A C E S

F O R

B E A U T I F U L

L I V I N G

conceptplus INTERIOR DESIGN

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Suite 214, Hamsa (A) Office Tower, Za’beel Road Karama, Dubai, United Arab Emirates P.O.Box 300450, Dubai, United Arab Emirates Tel.: +971 4 3705269 I Fax: +971 4 2947442 E-mail : info@conceptplusstyle.com I osama@conceptplusstyle.com - EX.IT November 2018 www.conceptplusstyle.com

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Together we stand strong, dream big and create greater change for causes worldwide. CharityStars is the international platform specialising in fundraising through digital auctions promoted in collaboration with celebrities and large companies. All the proceeds are donated to charity. A different way of raising awareness about the many charitable causes worldwide.

CHECK OUT OUR AMAZING AUCTIONS

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Supporting the community of owners and investors with a proven record of success in hospitality development and management.

Lothar R. Pehl Lotharpehl@gmail.com EX.IT November 2018 -

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BRINGING AUTHENTIC GREEK FOOD TO THE TABLE

Opens daily from 12:30pm to 5:00pm & from 7:00pm to 11:30pm Located on the park level in cluster P, JLT connected to Armada BlueBay Hotel

Contact +971 (0) 4 399 8166 MythosDubai www. mythoskouzina.com EX.IT November 2018

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DUTY DUTYFREE FREE PRODUCTS PRODUCTS & & BONDED BONDED STORES STORES

5, Vyzantiou, Spyrides 2064Nicosia, Nicosia, Cyprus 5, Vyzantiou, Spyrides Tower, Towers, 2064 Cyprus Tel:+357 +35722210828 222 108 28 I I +44 +44 745 745 228 Tel: 22868 680202 www.brandhouse.uk.com www.brandhouse.uk.com

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Culinary Arts can give new life to children... we make it our mission to identify talented, underprivileged children with culinary ambitions and provide opportunities that otherwise would have been beyond their reach‌

Grant MacPherson

WO’GOA Foundation Ambassador An inspirer, innovator and perfectionist - Grant encompasses all the qualities that deserving children can glean from a role model!

The Pearl Martin Benn - Sepia, - EX.IT November 2018 Sydney, Australia

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partnered with SKD ACADEMY the culinary institute in the Philippines


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AWARNESS IS FINE BUT ADVOCACY TAKES YOUR BRAND TO THE NEXT LEVEL

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT

info@wgkonnect.com

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NOVEMBER 2018

Editor

Fabian deCastro Alfredo Russo

Feature Editor Contributors

Maria Lourdes Laura Pedrazzoli Elisabete Ferreira Michael Hepworth

Photography

Victoria Shashirin

FJMdesign WGkonnect Photography Consultant Creative Design Studio Publisher IZZY Publishing Pvt. Ltd. EX.IT™ is an online digital publication published by: Izzy Publishing Pvt. Ltd. Unit 14, Agnelo Colony, Kerant, Caranzalem, 403002 Goa, India Tel: +91(832) 2463234 Fax: +91(832) 2464201 sales@extraordinaryitalian.com Company Registration Number U22100GA2011PTC006731 Marketing & Advertising Call: +91 832 246 3234 E-mail: marketing@extraordinaryitalian.com WG™ Beverly Hills Michael Hepworth 287 S.Robertson Blvd Beverly Hills, CA 90211 ©IZZY Publishing Pvt. Ltd. All rights reserved. Editorial material and opinions expressed in EX.IT™ digital publication do not necessarily reflect the views of IZZY Publishing Pvt. Ltd. EX.IT™ and IZZY Publishing Pvt. Ltd. cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies or errors and do not accept responsibility for the advertising content. All contents are strictly copyright and all rights are reserved. Production in whole or part is prohibited without prior permission from IZZY Publishing Pvt. Ltd. ©2018 EX.IT™ All rights reserved. Cover Credit: ALFREDO RUSSO RICETTA ZUCCOTTO DOLCE STIL NOVO ALLA REGGIA - VENARIA REALE, TORINO

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Lavazza’s new gourmet restaurant CONDIVIDERE by Lavazza is the expression of a new flavor philosophy, a new way of consuming food inspired by the informal sharing of the original dishes. Housed in the new Lavazza headquarters in the heart of Turin, a symbol of a city that wants to be a leader in haute cuisine, as well as the capital of Italian coffee. Commissioned by Lavazza and designed by Ferran Adrià. The interior space designed by Dante Ferretti which is in perfect harmony with the philosophy of the cuisine of Federico Zanasi. From busboy to owner of the critically acclaimed Anaheim White House restaurant, Italian philanthropist, restaurant owner and chef, author, and speaker Sir Chef Bruno has inspired change around the world. Caterina’s Club, today feeds some 3,500 children daily and more than 2 million meals have been served so far and the need keeps growing. His influence has extended far beyond Southern California to include Chicago, New York, Texas, Mexico, and Italy. Gonzalo Luzarraga’s dishes are quite complex so to create balance on the plate, he firstly choose the base ingredient and then elaborate the dish depending on my own taste. For Christian Fava balance is the main ingredient of a fine dish. Harmony between different aromas is essential, as such as the mastery in raw materials and based on the functionality of ingredients - a recipe equals an equation. Valeria Piccini’s dishes are mirrored: succulent, with clear and precise flavors, played on contrasts of aromas, textures and temperatures. The result must be a real joy for all the senses, where taste is fundamental and only then comes the aesthetic aspect. Passion and experience of a lifetime that led Felix Lo Basso to meet and adopt many of the typical endless riches and traditions of the Italian territory. Giorgio Diana’s culinary journey has been through love and passion. What started out as a job is now a hobby. While Ardit Curri from the kitchen, expresses all of his considerable talent on ever changing dishes and with careful attention to the seasons, succeeds in conquering the most demanding palates. From a formaio to a pizzaioli, Giuseppe Cutraro’ s mentors are all those unrecognized pizzaioli that live around where he lives, where he went to eat a pizza at every Sunday. Or the old signiore who still makes pizza fritta only around Christmas time for all the quartiere with their huge frying pans out in the vici di Napoli. Viviana Varese, a self-taught chef who developed her technique through several stages with the big masters. The flavors, aromas, freshness, creativity and imagination are the same as what brought the restaurant in Via Adige to fame. Buon appetito!

Alfredo Russo EX.IT November 2018 -

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Welcome to the perfect City break, San Sebastian.

Don´t miss one of the most beautiful and awarded cities in Europe. San Sebastian is waiting for you to be discovered. BOOK YOUR NEXT CITY BREAK FROM

85€

www.sansebastianturismo.com

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MADRID

BARCELONA


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E X P E R I E N C E U N R I VA L L E D QUALITY Soaring above Amsterdam’s rooftops, step into a calm and composed realm of fine dining at Ciel Bleu Restaurant. Situated on the 23rd floor of Hotel Okura Amsterdam, Ciel Bleu holds two Michelin stars for its international cuisine led by chefs Onno Kokmeijer and Arjan Speelman. Attentive, amiable staff are on hand to welcome and guide you through the seasonal menus showcasing the creations of Ciel Bleu’s world-class chefs, alongside exclusive vintages from the award-winning wine list. For a rare glimpse into the workings of a two Michelin-starred team, reserve the Chef’s Table overlooking the heart of the kitchen. Visit www.okura.nl/cielbleu for more information and reservations.

Ferdinand Bolstraat 333 1072 LH Amsterdam The Netherlands www.okura.nl T +31 (0)20 6787 111

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Simple & Delicious

WHOLEFOOD RECIPES Available as hardcopy from thehealthychef.com E-Book versions available from iTunes, Amazon & Google Play

thehealthychef.com

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@teresacutter_healthychef

4 Collins Street, Surry Hills, Sydney, Australia hello@thehealthychef.com


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NOVEMBER 2018

CONTENTS 30

CONDIVIDERE

44

INSPIRES CHANGE

54

JOURNEY ON A PLATE

68

TASTE AND TRADITION

78

MASTER CHEF

84

PASSION AND EXPERIENCE

90

CULINARY PASSION

100

SAN MARTINO 26

108

FROM A FORMAIO TO A PIZZAIOLI

118

A SELF-TAUGHT CHEF

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EXTRAORDINARY ITALIAN BY ALFREDO RUSSO

EX.IT EXTRAORDINARY ITALIAN

ALFREDO RUSSO - RICETTA ZUCCOTTO DOLCE STIL NOVO ALLA REGGIA - VENARIA REALE, TORINO

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FEDERICO ZANASI

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Federico Zanasi Condividere

PHOTO © ANDREA GUERMANI & ANDREA MARTIRADONNA

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FEDERICO ZANASI

E

ver since he was a child, Federico has always been mad about cooking. But at that time it wasn’t so trendy to be a chef and there were no proper schools of cooking, so after middle school he went to a hotel management school which was, at the time, the nearest he could get to the line of study he wanted to follow.

After gaining his diploma from hotel management school, he gained experience in restaurants in the Modena area, so as to become acquainted with local and regional cooking. From there, he travelled abroad, not only to learn languages but also to come into contact with other gastronomic cultures different from our own. From 1991 to 2004, he lived abroad and spent some time travelling, particularly in America and Spain, rising to challenges and learning dynamics that were different from those of Italy, both in terms of content and service. He returned to Italy in 2005, still with a great desire for professional growth. It was at this time that he came in contact with Amerigo 1934, his first experience in a Michelin-starred restaurant. Sending his CV to Moreno Cedroni which led to a 10-year experience, give or take, with various interruptions for seasonal work: at the Madonnina del Pescatore, the ‘two star’ restaurant of Moreno Cedroni in Senigallia, at the Clandestino in Portonovo until 2007, with the experience at the Trussardi alla Scala Restaurant in Milan, with Berton. In 2009 a new phase of his professional life commenced as he began to deal directly with the creativity aspects of the dishes proposed and, as a consultant, he also took part in the opening of Cedroni’s new creation: the ‘Clandestino’ in the Hotel Maison Moschino in Milan, assisting the Executive Chef, Antonio Bufi, in the training of personnel for six months.

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DOLCE

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FEDERICO ZANASI

As a person, Federico is a great believer in the importance of reading up on everything: reading and understanding. “If we speak about Italian cuisine for example, it is important to study its history right from its origins, to be familiar with its major personalities, investigate its traditions, particularly its regional traditions, abounding with unique and distinctive ingredients that characterise it... The chef must seek out and gather as much information as possible in order to have as many ideas as possible at his fingertips to apply to his dishes, together with a solid knowledge of technique and perfect methodology” says Federico. The taste and experience at Condividere... It was in 2016 that Federico first met Ferran Adrià, this meeting was faciliated by Bob Nato, a great photographer who recently passed away and who was very close to the Lavazza family. Bob told Federico, that Lavazza was thinking of opening Condividere and that they heard about his cooking and they wanted him to meet with Ferran as Lavazza has an excellent relationship and working with Ferran since 2000. So the first meeting was arranged, during which Federico had to cook for him. This marked the beginning of their partnership and the rest of the story is public knowledge which took shape in what is now Condividere.

CONDIVIDERE

Ferran and his culinary theory... what can I say about it?... I can say that in order to be receptive you have to be openminded, so it doesn’t matter what kind of cooking you want to do - sea, land or avant-garde dishes – the important thing is to be open-minded and read up on things. That’s what Ferran is like; in order to progress he has always drawn upon the knowledge and cooperation of experts from different fields, thereby continuing his own personal evolution. So I think that rather than a culinary evolution we are really talking about a cultural evolution. “At Condividere we have become the result of all these efforts. We serve haute cuisine in a fun, informal way but quality is always key, and this is the fruit of careful study and experiment geared to ensuring that the customer enjoys a direct, simple but unique experience. Our aim is to put our untiring research and reading to good use, in a pleasant way” says Federico.

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CONDIVIDERE


EXTRAORDINARY ITALIAN BY ALFREDO RUSSO

FEDERICO ZANASI AND FERRAN ADRIÀ

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FEDERICO ZANASI

When Federico creates a dish, he always starts from examining an ingredient, this is the principle and the first step for each dish. From this analysis he finds the way to enhance the value of this specific ingredient and to italianise it, because according to his philosophy this is where one begins, from the flavours that are familiar. Then through teamwork behind the scenes – the chefs are all very proficient and experienced – they enhance the characteristics and the flavour potential of that particular ingredient and they develop a recipe in the real sense of the word, using experience and their background. “Let’s take the tomato, for example. How do we work with it? Raw or cooked, in sauce, frozen…. we try various things and from a basic idea we begin a journey that ultimately leads to the decision on how to serve it in the dish, thanks to the great knowledge of Italian gastronomic history that we have built up” says Federico. The philosophy underlying Condividere is unique. First, concentrating on Italian gastronomical heritage, which is immense, and allow it to inspire, but without going over the top.... It all begins with a systematic study of the Italian raw materials, from the story of their origin, from the description of their history and their evolution. Condividere’s gastronomical experience is based on this approach: referring to a real Food Democracy the aim of which is to create a pleasant atmosphere of informal sharing which makes everyone feel at ease. “The cuisine we seek to offer is current and contemporary, wide-ranging, versatile, in which the creation of a dish is never banal.”

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EXTRAORDINARY ITALIAN BY ALFREDO RUSSO

TAPPO LAVAZZA

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FEDERICO ZANASI

“The cuisine we seek to offer is current and contemporary, wide-ranging, versatile, in which the creation of a dish is never banal”

Giving a specific example, of one of Condividere’s typical dishes: “Gofri di farinata”. This traditional type of flatbread is made from chick pea flour which takes the typical form of the “gofri”, a Piedmontese street food dating back to the nineteenth century and inspired by French waffles. It is cooked on a waffle plate, giving it the typical grate-shape, and making it extremely crispy on the outside but soft on the inside. Federico adds “We reached this result through a series of steps: we decided on the ingredient and thought about how to enhance it, by incorporating in the process a technical application of Ferran – that of the cast iron plate – which he learned abroad, and which enabled us to improve upon the Italian recipe. It is a creative process in continual evolution. Ferran’s technique and methodology are not interpreted and implemented for the sole purpose of innovating, but also and especially for improving and enhancing the vast wealth of recipes that we have in Italy, the most traditional ones.” Another example of cross-contamination between innovative technique and tradition is the savoury meringue. Instead of bread, a kind of meringue with a neutral flavour is used. In this way he obtains an original combination between historical or traditional recipes, creativity and modern preparation techniques!

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GOFRI DI FARINATA

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FEDERICO ZANASI

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BRIOCHE MODENESE


EXTRAORDINARY ITALIAN BY ALFREDO RUSSO

Italian traditional cuisine re-interpreted in a light-hearted and contemporary key, a veritable “hybridization of taste”, served in tapas-style, putting the focus on sharing.

CONDIVIDERE

Condividere means ‘sharing’ – which comes from the Latin word CUM DIVIDERE. It is much more than just a name: it is a philosophy, a more light-hearted way of approaching life, together. Italian traditional cuisine re-interpreted in a light-hearted and contemporary key, a veritable “hybridization of taste”, served in tapas-style, putting the focus on sharing. At Condividere, food is shared: it is placed in the centre of the table so that everyone can dig in, family-style. The diners serve themselves with the aid of tongs and eat with their hands, although cutlery is always providentially provided, just in case. The approach to the food is immediate, physical and convivial. The idea of sharing was very far removed from Federico’s philosophy. He learned it from Ferran who started this new trend of Italian haute cuisine for sharing.

GELATO AL PARMIGIANO BOB NOTO

Italian cuisine, a lively informal atmosphere, haute cuisine in a democratic key, a new cliché to be shared. Federico is in frequent contact with Ferran to update him on how the restaurant is going, but they are completely autonomous in terms of decision-making, in the choice and selection of the recipes. They only consult him if they are in doubt and in order to discuss future projects. Condividere is an Italian restaurant so it is fitting that it should be managed by an Italian in order to guarantee that its menus and service are 100% Italian - or rather, 100% Mediterranean. CONDIVIDERE

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FEDERICO ZANASI

“An expression of a new flavour philosophy, a new way of consuming food Housed in the new Lavazza headquarters in the heart of Turin, a symbol of a city that wants to be a leader in haute cuisine”

CONDIVIDERE

FEDERICO ZANASI, DANTE FERRETTI AND FERRAN ADRIÀ

When asked how has cuisine changed around the world and especially Italian cuisine? “There have been schools of thought that have had worldwide effects and which have been followed in Italy as well. First and foremost, the Spanish current, which had enormous influence in the 1990s and 2000s: El Bulli was at its peak at that time, and was considered an absolute Mecca of taste. The world’s top chefs have all had a spell there. Then there was the Northern current, the Nordic Food Lab founded by the head chef of the restaurant Noma, which offered original possibilities, combinations and cooking methods combined with fermentations that broadened the flavours of food, opening up new horizons… Today we have reached a greater awareness of the Italian style, and are returning to a style that is ours and is unique.” Lavazza’s new gourmet restaurant CONDIVIDERE is the expression of a new flavour philosophy, a new way of consuming food inspired by the informal sharing of the original dishes. Housed in the new Lavazza headquarters in the heart of Turin, a symbol of a city that wants to be a leader in haute cuisine, as well as the capital of Italian coffee. Commissioned by Lavazza and designed by Ferran Adrià. The interior space designed by Dante Ferretti, a multiple Oscar-winning set designer, creative right-hand man and friend of Pasolini, Fellini and Scorsese. His interpretation of this dreamlike space, which emphasizes time as a true value of the 21st century, is sumptuous, but at the same time urban and colorful, in perfect harmony with the philosophy of the cuisine of Federico Zanasi.

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CONDIVIDERE


EXTRAORDINARY ITALIAN BY ALFREDO RUSSO

GELATO AL PARMIGIANO BOB NOTO

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BRUNO SERATO

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EXTRAORDINARY ITALIAN BY ALFREDO RUSSO

I

talian philanthropist, restaurant owner and chef, author, and speaker. Sir Chef Bruno has inspired change around the world by speaking at special events for over 30 years. Born in Laon, France, Bruno arrived in the U.S. from his native Italy speaking no English with only $200 in his pocket. Through hard work and determination, he worked his way up from busboy to owner of the critically acclaimed Anaheim White House restaurant, whose patrons include U.S. Presidents, sports stars and celebrities.

BRUNO SERATO

But it’s his work with children that has earned him an international reputation. Serato launched the nonprofit in 2005 after Bruno and his mother, Caterina, visited a local Boys and Girls Club. There, they saw a 7-year-old boy eating a bag of potato chips and when she learned that the snack was all he had for dinner, she instructed her son to head back to the restaurant and feed the children pasta. Through Caterina’s Club, he has done so each day since and today feeds some 3,500 children daily. More than 2 million meals have been served so far and the need keeps growing. His influence has extended far beyond Southern California to include Chicago, New York, Texas, Mexico, and Italy. He has extended his mission by moving these “motel families” into permanent housing. While many of the families are working and able to pay the monthly rent for their own apartments, they cannot afford the first, last and security deposit required at the onset. He has already helped hundreds of families escape motel living by finding them apartments of their own and their lives have improved considerably.

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BRUNO SERATO

His newest endeavor is working with the Anaheim School District to establish the Hospitality Program, which seeks to divert high school students from gangs and other bad influences by teaching them about the food, hospitality and service industries. The students receive hands-on experience and even paid internships in these areas so that they can explore careers in the field following graduation. For his humanitarian work, Serato has earned international publicity including profiles in People Magazine, “CBS Evening News” and newspapers and magazines all over the world. Among his many honors is being named a CNN Hero, being knighted by the Italian government, receiving a papal blessing from Pope Francis, getting a humanitarian award on the steps of the U.S. Capitol, being honored by the Good News Foundation and receiving numerous proclamations, Man of the Year awards and other forms of recognition all of which he accepts to generate public awareness of the needs of our most vulnerable population - our children. EX.IT’s publisher catches up with Bruno Serato… It’s interesting to learn how Chef’s find their passion for cooking and where they grew up. How did you find your way into the culinary field? Early influences in my culinary life was from Mamma Caterina. She cooked for 7 brothers and sisters, in addition to our family run “bar.” I learned a lot from her from cooking times, temperatures and ingredients. Of course the hard part was measurements because it was always a dash of this and a handful of that. Your culinary philosophy… My culinary philosophy is don’t be afraid to experiment and follow your taste buds. I find inspiration in many different aspects of my life and turn those wonderful things into dishes. It can be something as simple as a colour that evokes a feeling inside of me and then I translate that into a new dish! I think creativity is one of the most important things when it comes to cooking and each chef should find his own style of cooking and grow to perfect that.

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BRUNO SERATO

CATERINA AND BRUNO

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EXTRAORDINARY ITALIAN BY ALFREDO RUSSO

Your culinary experiences, the person you inspired your culinary career… La Vie en Rose was a great opportunity to learn the business. Beginning as a bus boy, then waiter, then captain and finally Maitre D’. I was lucky enough to work with amazing chefs like Salvatore Troia at La Vie and few C.I.A. Chefs that taught me great food. Mamma Caterina is my inspiration for most all things in my life. She taught me what hard work is and the love and commitment it takes to be a chef and a good person. She had the biggest heart for children and I carry that passion with me in my nonprofit organization, Caterina’s Club. It is of course named after Mamma. Well up into her old age she amazed me with her generous spirit and unwavering faith in God. She was a very devout woman and I too am connected much with my faith. This has led me to where I am today and even gave me the opportunity to meet the blessed Pope Francis. Your cuisine is an expression of creativity and passion, innovative and engaging in perfect harmony on each plate… I believe dining is an art and the food should look the part. It should be part of the overall experience of atmosphere, service, and food. Like a symphony, they all work together to make one beautiful experience. Your earliest food memory, flavours from your childhood can you not live without… Pasta with olive oil and garlic is what we grew up on and cannot live without. What inspired you to create “Caterina’s Club” - Feeding the kids of America? Caterina’s Club was started by Mamma Caterina. We were visiting the Anaheim Boys & Girls Club where she saw a small boy eating a bag of potato chips. We were told that would be his dinner so Mamma looked at me and said “Maybe you should serve him some pasta for dinner tonight?” and that started it all. You know, you can’t say “NO” to Mamma.

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BRUNO SERATO

The Power of Pasta initiative - the plan that pasta makers donate 2 million pasta plates… how did this come about and how will this project be launched? According to a UN report, for the third year in a row, there has been a rise in world hunger. The number of undernourished people has increased, returning to levels from almost a decade ago, and putting the Zero Hunger Development Goal at risk by 2030. More than 820 million people suffer from hunger and more than 150 million children experience delays in growth because of it. This is why pasta makers from all over the world have committed themselves to the “Power of Pasta,” a global charity initiative donating about 2 million pasta plates to local organizations involved in the fight against hunger. Pasta makers from countries including Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Italy, Mexico and Turkey are contributing. I was proud to launch this 2nd annual initiative at this year’s World Pasta Day event in Dubai on October 25, and talk about social responsibility. This year, World Pasta Day, organized by the International Pasta Organization (IPO), Italian Association of Confectionary and Pasta Industries (AIDEPI), and Italian Trade Agency (ITA), focused on the healthful, sustainable and greattasting aspects of pasta, as well as its growing and enduring popularity around the world. It featured information and thought sharing from renowned pasta makers, industry members, scientists, media and other opinion leaders, as well as in-depth research analysis related to the healthful and nutritional aspects of pasta and its place as part of the goldstandard Mediterranean Diet. Everyone loves pasta. It’s an amazing food with great nutrition for everyone and can be mixed with every other food available on this planet — making it the best of the best, and very affordable for everyone. Pasta also does not damage the planet. There is nothing better than sharing a plate of pasta around a table. It makes everyone smile and inspires great conversation. I even wrote to Pope Francis suggesting every religious leader get together to eat pasta and make peace around the world. It is the hope that something as simple as pasta and love can feed the hungry people around the world.

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BRUNO SERATO

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EXTRAORDINARY ITALIAN BY ALFREDO RUSSO

“The Power of Pasta” - A mission to feed America’s hungry children, your book… what inspired this book? It all stems from Mamma Caterina. She told me to feed the kids pasta and I did not have the heart to stop. I can see how great the need is and my organization is only doing a small part here in our communities. This inspired me to tell my story and share this with other people so that they may be inspired to go out into the world and help to end childhood hunger. I believe that we can end world hunger and it is a matter of us doing it together. The book stands as an example of how others can begin a project like mine in their own neighbourhoods and begin to address the issue that way. Something I often say is that it takes zero money to be a good person. I want my book to offer hope and love to my readers. A chef, a philanthropist and several awards and accolades, what keeps you motivated at this point of your career? The children. They are my number one priority and I can only hope that Caterina’s Club continues to grow and help feed America. My family is very supportive and helpful with both the restaurant and organization allowing me to focus on what really matters. In the past years how has Italian cuisine changed around the world? Italian cuisine still has the staple foods that represent the country and culture but has evolved over time. Italy has become an iconic place where other chefs across the world look to for creativity. We are known for, of course, our pasta, pizza, and gelato but also the beautiful wine that completes a perfect meal. There are many traditional dishes with new age spins on the Italian cuisine today that makes it unique while holding the great simple taste people are looking for. Your advice to chefs entering the kitchen for the first time… Don’t be afraid to ask questions and learn as much as you can from everyone who is willing to teach you something. Be observant in and out of the kitchen because you never know when inspiration will strike. Put it in the time and be patient because success is not won overnight.

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GONZALO LUZARRAGA

GONZALO LUZARRAGA

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PHOTO © ROBERTO SAVIO


EXTRAORDINARY ITALIAN BY ALFREDO RUSSO

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GONZALO LUZARRAGA

aving spent his childhood on the French boarder of Italy in Piedmont. Gonzalo was immersed in food from a young age, he was brought up in a family centered on food, surrounded by diverse flavors, and a rich tapestry of native ingredients. “I would see my grandfather and father cook, and their passion inspired me as I spent my childhood in the kitchen, reading and learning how to cook from my grandfather and father.� His father was from the Basque region and would cook at home every Sunday and his grandfather, who was a pastry chef, taught him the foundations of cooking and a respect for crafting food with love, passion and skill, an ethos which he built on when he embarked on his journey through Europe, Asia and South America.

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As an intelligent child, Gonzalo’s parents wanted him to go to a technical school as being a chef was not as highly regarded as it is today since there were no celebrity chefs and the profession didn’t seem like a big deal. His grandfather was his idol and he was really attached to him but when he passed away, Gonzalo decided to go to cookery school to become a chef, just like him. He was lucky because the cooking school he chose in Piedmont was well connected with some of the best restaurants in France and Italy. At 15, he did my first stage at a Michelin-Starred restaurant in Piedmont. It was an old French-style restaurant and everything was perfect. It inspired him even more to become a chef.

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GONZALOLUZARRAGA GONZALO LUZARRAGA

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ENOKI


EXTRAORDINARY ITALIAN BY ALFREDO RUSSO

“I was lucky to learn the basics of the kitchen from Alain Ducasse and the creativity from Walter Eynard”

He worked under some of the most progressive chefs in the industry, including Alain Ducasse and Walter Eynard and led several high-profile restaurants. “I was lucky to learn the basics of the kitchen from Alain Ducasse. Alain always found the best ingredient on the market, in terms of both colour and taste. He taught me the importance of ingredients, and how to respect them. Walter was more creative. He used unusual ingredients and he was lucky to have top quality, organic local produce. He had a modern approach, using less fat for example, and focussing on giving dishes an interesting taste. His parents foraged ingredients in the mountains and the animals used were raised on a strict diet locally. He was one of the first chefs in the world to create a restaurant that is a destination for those living miles away.” adds Gonzalo.

FRESH MOUNTAIN BEEF

Ducasse helped to push him, teaching him to always strive to perfection and how to respect the ingredients, which reflects in Gonzalo’s cooking while Walter taught him how to be more ethical when sourcing produce, and the importance of sourcing top quality produce, putting this into an innovative dish. Both Alain Ducasse and Walter Eynard influenced his style of cuisine. Ducasse with his modern French style of cuisine influenced his precision when cooking and Walter for his creativity, always the first to try something new and to be creative. With working both France and Italy, among other countries, Gonzalo takes his inspirations from his experiences and put them into his own style of cuisine, which showcases French, Italian, Spanish and Asian influences. PLUMA OF CINTA SENESE

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GONZALO LUZARRAGA

EX.IT catches up with Gonzalo Luzarraga… You create a composition of flavors with the finest produce... My dishes are quite complex so to create balance on the plate, I firstly choose the base ingredient and then elaborate the dish depending on my own taste. Many chefs use sweetness and acidity, whereas I prefer an umami and bitter taste so I put dishes together in this way. I like to use a strong flavor, one that guests will remember, and the rest of the ingredients are chosen to enhance this.

PORCINI

Your creative approach of creating a dish, the philosophy behind it... I try to put my own personality in the dishes. I always want guests to remember my dishes when they leave. I try a combination of flavors, of which guests may have never tried before; normally taking inspiration from food I tried in the past to put emotion into my dishes. I usually choose the main ingredient and then choose other ingredients to compliment and enhance that flavour. I decide if I want the flavour to be acidic, sweet, salty or umami, and then find a way to boost the main ingredient. The base ingredient must always be the flavour you are left with, so the experience when eating it is like a rollercoaster of flavours. Some of my dishes take inspiration from past experiences, such as my childhood or travelling. The Sea Urchin dish on the menu at Rigo was inspired by my childhood. My father gave me my first sea urchin while we were fishing. It was the first taste that really shocked me and I didn’t like it initially, but it is a memory that has stuck with me and fills me with nostalgia. Other dishes are inspired by my emotions. I like to capture the emotions of the people around me and put it into a dish. For example, I have a dish on the menu using fava beans. This reflects the emotions felt when seeing my wife. When we lived apart, it was always bitter sweet when seeing her, as I knew it wasn’t permanent. The strongest flavor of the dish is the cheese, so a little bit of sweet and a little bit of bitter in this dish portrays this.

MORTADELLA

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BEEF TENDONS

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GONZALOLUZARRAGA GONZALO LUZARRAGA

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SEA URCHIN


EXTRAORDINARY ITALIAN BYWG ALFREDO MAGAZINE RUSSO

“My favourite ingredient is the sea urchin. It was the first taste that shocked me as a child, and this memory has stuck with me”

Your favourite ingredients, those that inspire you and ingredients that you weren’t able to master… I like to work with unusual ingredients to create a new taste, so I like to look into other cultures to find these. I have recently started using seaweed. I like the taste of natural saline. I used to use Bottarga, which is typically used in Italy. I’ve also tried using Ume Shiso from Japan – it tastes like seaweed but it’s made of plums and shiso leaves. I like to work with unusual ingredients to create a new taste, so I like to look into other cultures to find these I have also started to use pinecones. I’m still in the experimental stage and have been fermenting them to change the taste, combining with sugar or salt. Then, I always try to compare it to another taste, so I know which ingredients to pair it with. Pinecones have a similar taste to rose. Once I have the best result from the main ingredient, I will start to think about the other ingredients that compliment it. I have many, but I would say my favourite ingredient is the sea urchin. It was the first taste that shocked me as a child, and this memory has stuck with me – I can taste it just thinking about it! Chilli! I have tried to incorporate it into my dishes a few times but haven’t quite been able to master it. I once made a soup and the only taste that came through was the chilli. For me, Chilli overpowers all the other ingredients.

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GONZALO LUZARRAGA

DUCK EGG

Special cooking equipment you particular enjoy using… My favourite machine at the moment is the Ocoo. It’s a Japanese double pressure cooker. It’s great for fermentation as it extracts all the juices from an ingredient. Produce, Creativity or Technique… Creativity is the most important for me. Of course, without the other two, you can’t do anything, but it’s the creativity bringing these two elements to life. Without creativity, it would be difficult to evolve and grow as a chef. Your greatest influence in the kitchen… Curiosity - If you’re not curious you can never come up with new ideas. I will always try something new. This is true with all aspects of life; it enables you to become more creative in what you do. Flavors from your childhood, your earliest food memories... My grandfather’s cooking. He would make coconut cookies. They were made of almond and coconut, and it’s a taste I have never been able to recreate it. He would also make Panettone every year for Christmas. He used to bake at home quite often, and I remember the fragrant smell of the Panettone cooking in the oven. I crave for it every Christmas! Sea urchin is also a food memory from my childhood I will never forget. The saltiness and umami flavors from this are ones I cannot live without!

SEARED FOIE GRAS

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OYSTERS

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GONZALO LUZARRAGA

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BLACK FOREST


EXTRAORDINARY ITALIAN BY ALFREDO RUSSO

“If you are driven, you can grow not only yourself, but the people around you”

Gonzalo Luzarraga

What keeps you motivated?

I try to keep myself motivated in order to improve. If you are driven, you can grow not only yourself, but the people around you. In the last two years, my wife has always kept me motivated. If I ever have self-doubt, she believes in me, which pushes me to do more. What do you do to stay on top of the new cooking trends? There are so many new cooking trends so it is difficult to stay on top of all of them. Everything moves so fast so new trends seem to disappear quite quickly, and they are not quite as clear as they once were. For example, a few years ago, everyone knew the trend was molecular kitchen, or foraging, or seasonal cooking. I think today we are missing a clear food trend. I always have one eye open at the trends as it’s important to be aware of them, but I always try to go down my own route. In the past years how has cuisine changed around the world? Everything changes very fast. Due to globalisation, people travel so they are aware of authentic cuisine from other countries. It’s common today for a chef to cook a cuisine from a foreign country. They have their own vision of the food, with a new approach, and end up creating something new. Being a chef is perceived as a glamorous profession, advice to chefs entering the kitchen for the first time… Being a chef is very hard work and it takes patience. It can be very exhausting so you need to stay focused. Although it can be hard, being a chef can be one of the most satisfying and rewarding jobs.

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CHRISTIAN FAVA

CHRISTIAN FAVA

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CHRISTIAN FAVA

T

he sous-chef of Magnolia originally from Treviso and grew up in a countryside family restaurant. Christian was introduced to the culinary art by his aunt who was eager to hand him down all the family recipes which inspired him to the point where he realized that hehad a real feel for the cooking life. Despite that he first applied for engineering at the university. A path he soon abandoned to follow his true calling and passion that was, of course, being a cook. At first he started exploring this world all by himself, travelling a lot in search of new insights and skill building and to unveil the secrets of such a noble and fascinating art. He later came back to my family restaurant, to put in good use all that he learnt during his travelling days, and for that he was soon noticed by the critics. In a short lapse of time, he was offered a job from the star chef Alberto Faccani at his restaurant, opening the amazing world of haute cuisine to him. And it was a while working with Faccani and his team that they received the second Michelin Star, an achievement that still fills him with joy and pride. Alberto Faccani gave him all the right tools to handle complicated situations and to get along well with all sorts of expertise from people all around the world, as well as developing his teamwork abilities and thanks to the Faccani’s good advice, he grew a strong appreciation for the aesthetic value of a fine dish that - of course - has to par with flavour and fragrance. Presentation has always a strong impact on people, so paying attention to also the smallest details such as decorations, plate style, light effects, can really make the difference.

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CHRISTIAN FAVA

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“He has an ethical form of respect for raw materials and for this reason he only chooses ingredients from the local markets ”

“Balance is the main ingredient of a fine dish. Harmony between different aromas is essential, as such as the mastery in raw materials. From my point of view, a recipe equals an equation” says Christian. His cuisine is based on the functionality of ingredients. There is a precise reason and significance behind every ingredient he chooses for his dishes. If an ingredient shows up to be redundant, he doesn’t use it: everything must be part of a logical concept. Moreover, he has an ethical form of respect for raw materials and for this reason he only chooses ingredients from the local markets where he can find freshness and the quality he searches for. Every ingredient has its season, its taste and flavour. For this reason he sticks to the seasonality of every product he chooses. You will never find courgettes or tomatoes in his December menu: this is one of his precepts. Christian Fava began to taste the real starry cuisine traveling around the country (Crippa, Alajmo, Uliassi and others) and Europe where he found inspiration from Blumenthal’s cuisine. Back home he dedicated himself to applying the philosophy and principles dear to him in the kitchen. The first recognition was not slow to arrive and the risotto prepared first hit the local and then the national criticism enough to get him into the guide Traveling in taste with Volvo for his ability to combine simplicity, taste and tradition.

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CHRISTIAN FAVA

EX.IT catches up with Christian Fava… Ingredients that inspire you, your favorite ingredients, ingredients that you weren’t able to master and have given up on and in your opinion an overrated ingredient… To be honest, I do not often change my ingredients. I definitely prefer to cherry-pick from the local markets, freshly brought from sea and land. I always enjoy fruits and vegetables, and I am always looking for fresh and genuine garden products, hence my strong calling for ethics: there is hard work behind the production of these ingredients and, for this reason, I always go local. Local producers always sell the best of all ingredients, food chain production will never stand a chance. In my honest opinion an ingredient represents a challenge, or better to say, a riddle. For that I never stop trying and experimenting until I am able to master it at best. A complex ingredient can always be fractioned in different parts. There is only one ingredient that I don’t like very much for my dishes and that is the beetroot. Plankton is definitely one of the most overrated ingredients. I can’t find a use for it and surely there is no way that stuff could give any value to a plate at all. Special cooking techniques or equipment’s you enjoy using… On one hand I consider myself a traditionalist chef. On the other, I feel a connection to the French Cuisine, but I tend to soften its precepts, and there is not a particular cooking technique I am faithful to, but I’m in a constant research of something new in my cuisine. I don’t think that kitchen appliances are fundamental. They are tools. Off course very good equipment is really useful to achieve a goal. What matters anyway is the goal itself.

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CHRISTIAN FAVA

Produce, Creativity or Technique… Products are the focal point of my cooking. All of my plates are built around the products. Nevertheless creativity and technique are mostly fundamental indeed. A good dish is a concert of these elements. Your greatest influence in the kitchen… My strongest legacy is in raw materials, they are the source of my inspiration and the roots of my traditions. I learnt how to cook thanks to my family, in our small restaurant. And here I understood the core values within a fine dish. I started by observing my parents working and their starting point was always raw materials. That’s my secret. What keeps you motivated? A great brigade in the cuisine is one of the finest ingredients for a positive environment. All the team supports me and I support all of them. And we all work passionately, together, and this is one of the greatest achievements in my personal professional life.

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EXTRAORDINARY ITALIAN BY ALFREDO RUSSO

Your earliest food memory and flavours from your childhood… As I recollect my first memory related to food, I can see my grandmother and her heavy cream custard. I can remember the scent of boiled milk coming from the stove. That’s a scent that still recalls a sense of coziness and the idea of family. Moreover, I cannot live without rice. I always had a strong passion for this simple ingredient since I was a child, and believe me when I say that I tried every single Italian rice brand and I am fixated on finding new ways to master this ingredient perfectly. In the past years how has Italian cuisine changed around the world? I believe that there has been a remarkable growth of Italian cuisine all around the world. Massimo Bottura is at this moment the greatest Italian chef and his Osteria Francescana clearly represents a spearhead in this field. He led the “Made In Italy” at the highest levels. Simple products and fine quality are one of Faccani’s restaurant secrets. His cuisine is based on the idea that raw materials are the main actors of his dishes, and the overall result must be characterised by simplicity and quality. Your advice to chefs entering the kitchen for the first time… This world requires motivation, passion and strong personality. It’s hard work indeed, with a lot of sacrifice and many humiliations along the way. You must get used to the stress and the frustration. Being a chef is not at as glamorous as people may think, but instead it is important to be humble, willing and most of all enthusiastic.

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VALERIA PICCINI

Born and grew up in Saturnia, into a family of farmers who taught her to appreciate the value of every single ingredient, which our beautiful earth has to offer. Her mother and grandmother used to cook for the pleasure of those around them and Valeria became a chef from sheer passion, and never went to a vocational school, she studied the sciences and has a degree in chemistry. However, from a very early age, her mother and grandmother taught her to appreciate the fine touch and traditional cuisine, which she retains to this day amidst her innovations. She started to cook at the end of the 70’s in the family restaurant, without any other professional experience. Her mother-in-law was a tremendous help and in 1987 she left her in sole charge of the kitchen. Her husband, Maurizio, takes care of the service, reception and the wines. “It was hard work to get ‘Caino’ known outside our own little world in Maremme, the ‘Camargue of Tuscany’, even though we won two Michelin stars. Joining Relais & Châteaux helped to make us known around the world. My cuisine sets out to be simple, which doesn’t mean that it does not seek to be creative, full of flavor and balance, aiming at virtually perfect flavors. I want our guests to get a sense of the emotions and love I put into to it” says Valeria.

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VALERIA PICCINI

ANGUILLA LACCATA CON YOGURT E SALICORNIA

CROSTINO ALICI FRESCHE E CAVOLFIORE ALLA SALVIA

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CALAMARETTI SPILLO

PICCIONE, INDIVIA E NOCCIOLE


EXTRAORDINARY ITALIAN BY ALFREDO RUSSO

Only by following a long, curvy road, sometimes narrow and steep, we arrive at Montemerano, a medieval village where time seems to have stopped. Between romantic corners, ancient stone houses leaning against the other and the cobbled and sloping alleys of the old town, you can see the sign of Cain placed on a small entrance made by a wooden door and three steps downhill leading into the kingdom of the Menichetti family. Gonzalo Luzarraga

The love for food and the desire for a constant search for quality and product has made the dispensation of Caino. Precious elements wrapped in the magical landscape of Maremma and every ingredient is the result of the garden of Valeria and her attentive gastronomic research to the territory to discover produce of the highest level. The seasons with their colors, aromas and flavors, their shapes, are the protagonists of the kitchen of Valeria. It is hard to imagine Caino in a place other than Montemerano, a splendid medieval village, on top of a hill in the municipality of Manciano. The furniture is elegant, sober, and extremely accurate in details. The fireplace, linen curtains and soft lighting create a comfortable environment. A few tables, only nine, where they seat a little more than 20 people at most, set with precious tablecloth, strictly white dishes, crystal glasses and silver cutlery. It is in this frame that Valeria expresses herself through her unmistakable recipes. Starting from tradition, it surpasses it without ever forgetting it. Her dishes are mirrored: succulent, with clear and precise flavors, played on contrasts of aromas, textures and temperatures. The result must be a real joy for all the senses, where taste is fundamental and only then comes the aesthetic aspect, which is always taken care of. EX.IT catches up with Valeria Piccini… Your culinary philosophy… It is related with tradition and terroir. I knows that a lot of the dishes, even if they are old in terms of cooking and ingredients, they differs from others but by the taste it’s always current and replicable, meliorated by old knowledge and new ideas. Ingredients that inspires you… All the produce of my land is my favorite, I now rediscovers roots in general like carrots, turnips, beets. I started to use them because of the very hard cold winters and found in the roots a very good ally.

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VALERIA PICCINI

Special cooking equipment’s… My kitchen on the contrary to the other restaurants is not very technologic. We do not have special equipment’s, except for a paco jet, a rooner and a juice extractor. Produce, Creativity or Technique... In my opinion, if you can mix the 3 elements you could be a complete chef. More than a technical chef but not creative, and more than a creative chef but with cheap ingredients. What was the feeling to receive the first award when you opened Caino, what motivates you? Caino was opened by Maurizio’s parents in the 1971. It takes many years before the first satisfaction starts to arrive. When I understand I was in the right path, I found the strength to go on and to do better. Now with my son, who comes back home and found again the passion for this work, I feel stronger, this passion in me doesn’t never die. In the past years how has cuisine changed around the world ? I think technology had changed our word and we choose more now than before, especially ingredients are much lighter and healthier. What can guests expect from your restaurant? Guests will find a warm, comfortable and classy environment, where tradition and innovation are together. We can lead our guests to taste of our history, tradition and Maremma. Advice to chefs entering the kitchen for the first time… Being a chef is not glamorous and I they don’t have to believe to media’s programs. This work is not a game, but is hard work, sacrifice, perseverance, passion and a lot of study. I suggest to study tradition and they should find their own culinary identity.

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RISOTTO AL NOSTRO NERO CON PORCINI E LARDO

TORTELLI DI CINTA SENESE IN BRODETTO DI CASTAGNE

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FELIX LO BASSO

“Passion and experience of a lifetime that led Felix Lo Basso to meet and adopt many of the typical endless riches and traditions of the Italian territory”

Hailing from Puglia a region beautifully surrounded by the sea in southern Italy. When he was a child, he loved watching his grandmother when she cooked, she was not a professional chef but she cooked always for the whole family. He linked the tastes and the scents so much that he was fascinated by this.

FELIX LO BASSO

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He worked from the length of Italy from the south to the north in order to study all the typical ingredients, since every region has its traditional dishes and he loved to discover how to cook them. He lived in the Dolomite Mountains in South Tyrol for 12 years and his cuisine showcases a combination of delicate flavours from different regions of Italy. Equipped with a refined style, always at stake between creativity and research, it makes quality and respect for raw materials its starting point. His cuisine was born at sea and grew in the mountains: the trait d’union is the search for quality products, the desire to experiment with shapes and colors, to mix tastes. In his restaurant, Felix Lo Basso offers a high level cuisine, sophisticated in the elaboration of dishes but with strong anchors to tradition and Italian raw materials. Intuition, imagination, innovation and creativity are the pillars of the enogastronomic proposal.


EXTRAORDINARY ITALIAN BY ALFREDO RUSSO

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FELIX LO BASSO

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EXTRAORDINARY ITALIAN BY ALFREDO RUSSO

“I do not try to create new dishes, but I try to invent new recipes from old traditional dishes”

Committed to refining his culinary art to amaze guests with new creations. He showcases a selection of fresh high quality products and raw materials that are sure to create a remarkable Italian dining experience. EX.IT catches up with Felix Lo Basso… The process of creating a new dish… When I want to create a new dish, first of all I have to know the ingredient, to study it, and on that point I decide what to do with that ingredient. We compress everything, the passion we have, and from those passions ideas are coming out. Ingredients that inspire you, your favourite ingredients… I always try to use regional products, I always try a lot of similar ingredients so that I can choose that one that I like the most. I like to work with is fish, I grew up by the sea so it is very important for me. Produce, creativity, technique… In an elaborate dish all three are absolutely important. Your earliest food memories, flavours from your childhood… Parmigiana… It is one of the classic preparations of southern Italy, Eggplant Parmesan is a casserole dish made by slicing eggplant thinly and frying it in olive oil. That’s why I created a dish called the Italian Parmigiana in a risotto, when you close your eyes it is like eating a real Parmigiana, but in real it is a risotto.

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FELIX LO BASSO

How do you stay on top of new cooking trends? I travel a lot, I love to see new traditions and to see how people in other counties are used to prepare their dishes. In the past years how has cuisine changed around the world? I think the cuisine is changing every day in the world and thanks to the media, television and internet, but I think also that if you don’t know the basics in classic cuisine you are also not able to do the modern cuisine. Advice to chefs entering the kitchen for the first time‌ I think our profession is the most beautiful profession in the world. For sure it is not easy, because you have to work a lot all the day long, but my advice that I give to chefs who are first entering on the field today is to stay always humble, to engage yourself and you will see you will have a lot of satisfactions.

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CERF


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GIORGIO DIANA

GIORGIO DIANA

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GIORGIO DIANA

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B

orn in Cagliari, Italy. Giorgio did not start wanting to be a chef, his family owned a construction company and they wanted him to be an engineer. But his childhood passion was cooking and to eat. He changed his direction when he was 12. He started engineering school not before switching to his true path and joined the culinary school Antonio Gramsci. He was blessed with an amazing professor who helped him and gave him direction. Surprisingly at the same time his father influenced him and actually helped me throughout his career especially when failing to see the significance of what he wanted him to do, his son striving to prove himself in front of him was a powerful motivation. And, as a result by the age 17 he left to follow his dream. He went to Germany to improve his skills and learn from the best. This is where his culinary career started where he wanted to be one of the best. His culinary journey has been through love and passion. “When, first starting this job it turned out that it was not a job but a hobby you practice day in and day out. You make mistakes and errors but you learn something new with every mistake you make adding into your ability and skill” says Giorgio. Having worked is some of the best Michelin restaurants in Germany, Giorgio gained his experience working with Giovanni Marchesani. He further enhanced his culinary experience working with Bobby Bräuer, Shane McMahon, Andrea Fadda and Claudio Turrin who worked with Ferran Adrià for five years and with Alain Ducasse for three.

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GIORGIO DIANA

Inspired by Mediterranean cuisine with a touch of molecular cuisine science and infused with Asian spices, Giorgio creates his own style of dishes. He earned qualifications in several different cuisine styles and operates his own cooking school in Munich. From beginning of his career he didn’t want to work in restaurants only, but also to explore cultures and cuisines. To study people’s mentalities and life styles around the world. His dream was to be the best in gastronomy and for him this was achieved outside the kitchen starting at a young and early age. This has influenced him a lot, as now it’s almost 21 years in the kitchen in 12 different countries that has helped him to apply different methodologies and recipes, all the previous experiences built his own signature style in gastronomy. With Giovanni Marchesani he learnt how to be involved and infuse life, effort, and respect in the entirety of the field. It was working with Bobby Bröuer that I got to understand that the kitchen had a philosophy, discipline which were the two keys of success in this career. Jordi Cruz helped him discover molecular cuisine and highlighting how creative and interesting it could be. Working with Gordon Ramsay in the US, it was all about strict discipline that strictly prohibited talking, eating, or anything other than the task at hand. Every 4 hours you got a 15 minutes break. That lasted the entire 16 hours shift and 6 days’ a week. Claudio Turrin, taught him how to how to work with fish and meat, and how to prepare the perfect bouillon stock. And Shane McMahon influenced his career to the souse vide world, which eventually made me a worldwide souse vide teacher.

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GIORGIO DIANA

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His philosophy is based on a worldwide experience, studying the culture, clientele, the market, and colleagues that he has worked with or competed against. So, he can achieve a unique experience in each and every country he has worked in. When he creates a new dish, he considers the season and the local market, the environment around and the product freshness that inspires him. When the fish for example arrives it has some seaweed around it, this sparks a spontaneous action that is triggered by an inner intuition that runs through his blood and leads him to create my own version of nature and reality. He is in love with fresh vegetables and plants. It’s an ingredient obsession for him. He prefers seasonal ingredients, where he knows farm, the producer, it makes a great difference. Especially to know how the vegetables are grown and harvested. His favorite is seafood and complimented with sea salt and seaweed. When asked about special cooking technique, his favorite equipment he enjoys using… “I love working with a souse vide, it’s one of my favorite techniques, all ingredients stay in a vacuum bag, all proteins, calories and colors and consistency are as fresh as just cut ones. The big green egg, because the BBQ flavor is the best you can give to any product, dish, or taste.” For Giorgio it’s all about discipline and patience, he further adds “When, you work in the kitchen for 16 hours daily led by discipline, love, and passion. You will be creativity and techniques that will paint your emotions into your cooking which gives importance of produce, creativity or technique”.

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His greatest influence in the kitchen is the mise en place “A strong mise en place in every kitchen then everything will be perfect, you cannot work without it. Everything has to be ready and comfortable.” He recalls flavors from his childhood, “I can never forget when my mum use to make meat balls with tomato sauce. The fish flavor I can never live without as I am from an island that consumes 80% of sea food.” He tends to stay on top of new trends with his travels and reading. He makes the best of every hour in the kitchen. And cooking with kitchen stars as competitors is the best part for him. He considers them as friends not competitors, it’s what they really are. A big family around the world where each have their own methodologies, and unique trends. For him he finds a new trend every day following his own style in the country where he is working. To him cuisine has changed a lot around the world, every country grows in a flavor and in an era that is beginning to start to understand more about food tasting and flavors. Not only coming to restaurants to only to eat. But, also to satisfy their hunger for emotions and desire. His advice to chefs entering the kitchen for the first time… “It’s not a profession it’s a hobby and that’s my first advice. You have to as a chef feel what you are doing, cooking is serving your emotions to guests’. To all young chefs, my advice is not to watch too much master chef and concentrate on what your own future plans may be. Put in mind you have to embrace and accept the requirements that need to be met. That is if you want to grow and develop yourself. There can be no vacations on official days, you will almost certainly miss your loved ones birthday and important occasions. On average of 16 hours daily you have no other priority above your own craft and responsibility”.

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ARDIT CURRI

ARDIT CURRI

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ANTIPASTO

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ACCIUGHE


EXTRAORDINARY ITALIAN BY ALFREDO RUSSO

S

on of an engineer father and a pharmacist mother, he lived in Albania until 16, where at 13 years old he already worked as a waiter in various restaurants of the capital and where he already began to be interested in the world of gastronomy.

At 16,he decided to leave for a better future and it was then that he chose to follow in his big brother’s footsteps (now my right hand in the kitchen and not only there) who already lived in Italy since 1997. Almost immediately, he left him to move to Arezzo to follow his studies at the hotel school at Cortona where he encountered his professor of gastronomy (Gianfranco Giannetti) who made him fall in love with gastronomy and food as its raw material even more.

SAN MARTINO

He then moved to San Gimignano where, during the school holidays, he worked at the restaurant “Perucà” of the Pernarella family. He continued to work for the same family where, after a short while, he took over the reins of the kitchen. It was a historic restaurant opened in 1990 which offered - and does so to this day - a combination of traditional tuscan cuisine styled with refined adroitness. In 2014, they decided to open a second restaurant, it too in San Gimignano, named “San Martino 26”. Here they continued to remain true to the region with gourmet offerings of recipes based on research, study and the endeavor to reinvent traditional cuisine interpreted from Ardit’s point of view, as well as to give room to simplicity and try to succeed in a pairing of two cultures; that of his origin and the one added to it. SAN MARTINO

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San Martino 26 It all begins in 1990 in San Gimignano, where, riding on the wave of youthful fervor which unites great passions and makes everything look much simpler, Fabio and Lidia Pernarella, driven by a great love for good food and drink, decide as their first and completely autodidactic endeavor, to open a pizzeria with rotisserie. By origin from the Lazio region on Fabio’s part and Tuscany on Lidia’s, they begin to create traditional food in a a simplistic style, rich in taste and aroma, elements which they try to combine and bring to life in their pizzas, which - in turn - after only a short time begin to collect much approval and success. So much success that, after very little time, one pizzeria turns into two, but the changes do not stop there, because in the very second locale, slowly but surely the pizzas are abandoned and in 1994, the family’s first “restaurant” comes into existence. From this moment on the Pernarella family’s story is enhanced by many shades and tastes perfumed by food and wine. The level of professionalism grows with sommelier and cooking courses, all the way up to gourmet level. Curious and enterprising by nature, husband and wife keep on transforming their initial passion into a beautiful and proficient drive dedicated to their restaurant’s class and hospitality.

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SPAGHETTI

RAVIOLI

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FILETTO

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So much so, that their two daughters, Elisa and Emma, also get swept up into this not exactly easy line of work from a young age and are both now ready to enter the game as serious protagonists themselves, as well. After other changes and adventures, arrives Ardit Curry fresh from hotel school in Capezzine die Cortona - for an internship. A very young chef, who, in a very short time, demonstrates considerable talent in the kitchen. Thanks to his capability and to the wonderful love story between Ardit and Elisa, the family decides to a take a leap of faith and bring a further restaurant into being, dedicated to even loftier ends. So is born the restaurant “San Marino 26”, which gets it’s name from the street and street number on which it is situated. A very beautiful environment, where tiles, arches and lightning fixtures directed at art works combine to make the place cozy and welcoming. Equipped and furnished in refined style, it offers avant garde cuisine firmly tied to the tastes of Tuscany but free to soar when it comes to technique and imagination. Ardit from the kitchen, expresses all of his considerable talent on ever changing dishes and with careful attention to the seasons, succeeds in conquering the most demanding palates. In addition to this many layered cuisine, complementing wines - given the region - are not missing. They can be found in the wine menu in great number, from Tusany, the rest of Italy and beyond. Attentive and professional service go on to complete a place of undoubted quality where elegance and hospitality join in one single and beautiful venture.

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GIUSEPPE CUTRARO

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PHOTO © FABRIZIO SAYA


EXTRAORDINARY ITALIAN BY ALFREDO RUSSO

H

e never knew that he wanted to become a chef, it was the job that chose him. A sharp boy, however the choices of adolescence sometimes shape your whole life. His mother was firm however she would go to work, before seeing him off to school but he would sneakily go back to bed till late and go out just to come home and play the part. In the Quartieri Spagnoli, they would stay up till late in groups of friends around Piazza Plebiscito where they talked about nothing and everything, ball or ride their motorcycles all the way to St. Martino, so this made it difficult for him to wake up in the morning.

GIUSEPPE CUTRARO

After a while his mother noticed this and enrolled him to a course offered by the city council for adolescents at a risk of him choosing the wrong path. This is how he was introduced to the culinary world. The course he was subscribed to was that of a confectioner. However, when he asked if after this formation he would be kept to work they said no and he refused the job. He wanted money and was not interested in the job. The second option was that of a fornaio aid. He wasn’t happy about this as a pizzaiolo in Naples works till 2-3 in the morning. However, the man who had the pizzeria also offered him a small wage and this he found enticing. And that was that! He started from the bottom, cleaning the pans, the kitchen tiles and little by little they would give him space to do something else. However it was impossible for anyone to let him come near to making a dough.

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GIUSEPPE CUTRARO

“My mentors are all those unrecognized pizzaioli that live around where I live who I’d go to eat a pizza at every Sunday”

Then at 19, he left Naples to follow the American dream. He worked in New Jersey for 2 years and didn’t know a word of English. He found it difficult to bring a new form of pizza to a patriotic mentality like that of the Americans and their American Pizza. After a while, the people started to appreciate the pizza. He wasn’t on top of his game there, as it was at his first experience. But the guys he worked with would call him “il maestro” and this gave him the encouragement he needed to fuel his ambition. Giuseppe is the only child and he grew up without a father, and a after a few months he started to miss his mother. He returned home, but something in him had changed. He then went to Malta which was much more difficult. They would see a simple pizza marinara and would gaze in awe for the basic, until they started to appreciate the dough, the sweet salty tomato sauce and the good quality oil. From there he moved to Switzerland and stayed there for 5 years and then he came to Paris and started to work for the Big Mamma Group. This experience helped his style by learning to see what the clients are used to eating and try to pair this with what he knows to do. For example: everyone dreams of going to Naples to eat a Pizza at Via Roma or Piazza Plebiscito with the view of the Vesuvio. And who has the fortune of doing this amazed by the goodness of the pizza. But if you take the same pizza to another country, things change. People generally prefer it crunchy and cooked well, whereas in Naples the dough is just golden and very thin. His mentor is travelling the world, different places, different cultures, different kitchens and the more you broaden your views on the culinary cultures, likes, preferences, uses etc. “I think my mentors are all those unrecognized pizzaioli that live around where I live who I’d go to eat a pizza at every Sunday. Or the old signiore who still makes pizza fritta only around Christmas time for all the quartiere with his huge frying pan out in the vici di Napoli” says Giuseppe.

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GIUSEPPE CUTRARO

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PHOTO © FABRIZIO SAYA


EXTRAORDINARY ITALIAN BY ALFREDO RUSSO

The dough… “I love to play with flour. New dough, new methods of working it, yield different outcomes. No piece of dough comes the same, sometimes it’s the room temperature, sometimes it’s the water, sometimes it’s due to humidity. No person can make the same dough twice let alone two persons. You always need to take your time with food and let it take its course without hurry. To begin with I always select my ingredients depending on the season. I think nowadays a lot of chefs are opting for this. Everybody wants good food. When you select seasonal ingredients you already have more flavors as their sugars are naturally matured and thus more flavorful. You always try to pair ingredients like spicy with fresh, something fatty with something slightly acidic so it cleans the palette. And something soft with something crunchy.” He likes to use an indirect dough processes like biga or autolysis which has a long levitation process, which makes the dough highly digestible and thus you can easily eat a pizza without feeling uncomfortable after or overfull, and after an hour you would not even remember you ate a whole pizza. All three, produce, creativity and technique have their role. “At Big Mamma Restaurants we have waiting lines that start an hour before opening and thus we need to put simple genuine recipes that my pizzaoioli can produce easily and quickly. The preparation which comes before this is where all the technique lies. Creativity in picking and preparing the ingredients yes but it doesn’t entail any creative presentations, and I would think technique and production are most important.”

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GIUSEPPE CUTRARO

“Always in search of something better and brought him to where he is. Giuseppe started as a fornaio in Naples”

Culturally food plays a great part of who he is, he comes from Naples where on Sundays it means sitting down at the table at 3pm and you finish eating ar around 7pm. It all starts with the ‘primo’ which is a pasta dish and ends with ‘caffee napoletano’ boiled in a ‘caffetiera’ on top of a burner. His ambition is his biggest motivation, he is not a person that settles. He is always in search of something better. This brought him to where he is. He started as a fornaio in Naples and knew that it will be hard to ever be a pizzaiolo there. Pizzaiolo in Naples is a very highly esteemed profession and thus either you are born in a family of pizzaioli or you have to wait for a pizzaioli to leave the work due to old age. It is difficult to find any professional pizzaiolo who would tell you his secrets. Therefore, he chose to go out of Naples and from there he changed places as soon as he saw there was nothing more to learn or offer. Before he looks into new cooking trends, he tries to look into the old cooking methods. He is a traditionalist, therefore he tries not to go far from the basics. He like to have simple products and to be able to individualize all their flavors when eating. He is not kind who likes overcomplicated things. When cooking a pizza he likes to keep things basic, not too heavy on the stomach, always providing a 38 hours matured dough as a base with autolysis maturation and then a few good ingredients on top.

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4 POMODORI & MAMAN EST DE SORTIE À PIGALLE PINK MAMMA PHOTO © JOANN PAI

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GIUSEPPE CUTRARO

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Giuseppe adds “Social media in the last few years has had a great influence on the culinary world. Before you had to have the luxury or the courage to take a backpack and travel around the world in order to explore new methods or cultures or work in new kitchens. Nowadays you type in an ingredient or a method and you are spoilt for choice for different usages, manners of utilization around the world. Nowadays, everyone is growing fond of fusion cooking, however I can even see people in search of provincial or regional cuisine where they look for the #oldisgold type of food.” His advice to the new comers to the field is to stay strong “Every beginning is hard. The culinary field mays seem glamorous on the outside but behind the scenes there are a lot of sacrifices and hard work, hours and days: Holidays and feasts away from families. More than that not everybody will like your food or techniques and you will be criticized more often than not. I see the young pizzaioli who wants to start as pizzaioli from day one. I tell them this is not the way to start. It’s best to start from zero as a ‘conditore’ or a ‘formaio’. You need to learn the basics of having and keeping a tidy and organized kitchen, before you can learn the mechanics of the oven, how to control the fire, without the fire controlling you. After that you learn to cook the pizza and then making a dough that should be personalized opting always for something highly digestible and naturally perfumed.” PHOTO © FABRIZIO SAYA

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VIVIANA VARESE

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VIVIANA VARESE

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VIVIANA VARESE

A

self-taught Chef who developed her technique through several stages with the big masters. The flavors, aromas, freshness, creativity and imagination are the same as what brought the restaurant in Via Adige to fame. For Viviana, cuisine is synonymous with life. And just like life, it requires passion, commitment, creativity, dedication and humility. All characteristics which the young chef has shown since an early age, when she stepped up to the hotplate and thanks to the family fish farm. Her personal and professional life eventually brought her to leave her native Campania to grow, learn and train in different places with Gualtiero Marchesi’s Albereta and El Celler De Can Roca, in Girona, until 1999, when she opened her first restaurant, “Il Girasole”, in Orio Litta, in the surrounding area of Lodi. What followed was the first encounter with Sandra Ciciriello, which paved the way for a rapid evolution which has since never let up, leading to the 2007 opening of Alice Ristorante in Milan, obtaining her first Michelin Star in 2011 and subsequently changing location to Eataly Smeraldo in Milan. Evolving entails constantly aiming to better herself, never ceasing to study, experiment and cook with niche products of the highest quality. As always, Sandra Ciciriello selects the base materials – starting with fish – which Viviana Varese then takes to new culinary heights in the kitchen, carefully balancing flavor and texture. “But without Sandra’s expertise in fish, and without all the other carefully selected products, none of this would be possible”, says Viviana. It is this harmony of strength and excellence which allows quality to go hand in hand with creativity.

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VIVIANA VARESE

Viviana Varese’s creations unlock the flavours of land and sea, combining the highest quality ingredients to delight your eyes and palate. This perfect harmony of flavours which is based on season, merges with modern technology; these ingredients have contributed to the growth of Alice Ristorante which as of February 2015 has been part of the Associazione Le Soste. EX.IT chats with Viviana Varese… Your passion for cooking… Both my parents worked in a restaurant and so I start to cook when I was only 7 years old making pizzas. In this manner I discovered my passion for cooking. Your cuisine is inspired by a combination of fresh, quality ingredients, creative and a composition of flavours… I’m really inspired by my routine and my voyages. Every time I try to mix up my experience with new realities all over the world. Your culinary philosophy, and what inspires your dishes… My culinary philosophy is based on my experiences and voyages, from an experience in a typical Italian restaurant to new flavours and techniques used abroad. These inspires me a lot to create a new dish.

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VIVIANA VARESE

Ingredients that inspire you, your favourite ingredients… When I select ingredients I’m focused on quality and an ingredient that I discovered in a voyage in Spain is plankton marino. Fish and citrus there always in my menu to remember my origins. Special cooking techniques… I really like to use smoking process as I like smoked products. Produce, Creativity or Technique… All, because all them are necessary to give the best in a dish. Your greatest influence in the kitchen… It depends by what I live at the moment. What keeps you motivated? I think that feed and take care of people is the most important thing that motive a chef. What do you do to stay on top of the new cooking trends? I don’t follow any cooking trend and so I just do the best I can do. Your advice to chefs entering the kitchen for the first time… The only advice I can give them is to have a very strong passion for cooking, if not they will give up soon.

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