Italian Contemporary Cuisine Manifesto
1. Cooking is art and expresses its best sophistication thorugh simplicity and a process of synthesis
The sophistication of cooking is enclosed in the chef’s skills of synthesis. Almost 2000 years ago, Seneca said that, when recipes weren’t “corrupted by the pleasures”, human bodies were stronger and healthier, while the introduction of sauces and dressings let “the food for hungry diners became a heavy weight for full stomachs”. Mr. Marchesi too, with his subtraction process, highligted how the key to appreciate a pigeon breast was to separate it from all the sauces. According to my experience,it is only by valuing the natural taste of the ingredients and searching for the essence of the recipes that the art of cooking can express its maximum refinement.
2. Seasonality is the basis for sustainability
During the last decades, over 75% of the world’s biodiversity has been lost. Nowadays our focus has to be the valorization of our territorial excellences to protect them. Starting with the pleasure of buying ingredients at the local markets, giving value to the small producers, it is possible to consume seasonal and sustainable products, by respecting the natural rhythms of our Earth. Since 2013 my commitment is to work with forty diverse suppliers spread throughout the National territory, who are able to provide the freshness and the quality of seasonal ingredients. Furthermore, in my kitchen I work only with Mediterranean fishes – like anchovies and mackerels.
3. Nature is the fundamental rule for the future
Picasso said that it took a whole life for him to learn how to draw like a child, and to catch a natural and sensitive technique inside his paintings. For a chef, the art of creating a dish by following only the rules imposed by nature, holds the same thought and represents the secret to draw the future path of the cooking style. Like Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (painter and gastronomy connoisseur) stated “being cooks without prejudices” is possible by recognizing nature as the fundamental rule for the future.
4. Restoring tradition is necessary to build the future
I like to think that, once having learnt all the techniques and the basics of traditional cooking, there comes the time to put them aside and move on. The world tradition doesn’t mean “redo past things”, but, in the Italian language, it represents the unique ending for two words: translate and betray. The only way to translate the past into the future is indeed betraying tradition, as Toulouse-Lautrec said: “It’s not a matter of ignorance or negligence” but an evolution to reach a new level of consciousness. Since 2013 my approach to the Italian Cuisine has been focused on restoring the regional recipes by lightening and simplifying them, to meet the tastes of the contemporary palates. Traditional dishes are reborn in a light and healthy way, reaching a high gastronomic value.
5. Regionalization is the key to recover the relationship with our land
Adding value to the italian regionalization is the new frontier of the kitchen. There’s no other place in the world which can claim a biodiversity of recipes like Italy: every region, city and little town has its own ingredients and typical dishes. We need to take notice of the enormous potential of our territory and the history of the Italian kitchen, traceable back even to Ancient Rome, where a product like anchovy sauce (known as Garum) was born. Today we are influenced by different cultures that stimulate us to know new tastes and techniques, but we cannot forget the great value of a Sicilian, Tuscan or Milanese recipe. Regionalization represents the new scenario for cooks and I hope that it will be considered more and more common in the next few years.
6. Example is the highest teaching method
This is one of the most famous quotes of Mr. Marchesi, among the ones I care the most about. Sharing is everything, starting from the training of the cooks, until the moment in which the dish comes to the table, the highest expression of Italian conviviality. The “example” manifests itself when someone gives some advice, by observing the collegues at work and also in the relationship with the customers. In my restaurant the kitchen is completely visible and my team works with transparency without any visual barrier. We don’t want to hide anything from anyone.
7. A cook must use the brain and not the eyes to train and recognize beauty and good tastes
The original italian recipe book is my daily source of inspiration. I love it because no pictures of dishes are printed inside it. Every single dish is described with texts capable of stimulating the reader’s imagination. In my opinion, a cook must use the brain and not the eyes to train and recognize beauty and good tastes, rather than copying a recipe seen in a book’s picture or in a gourmet restaurant. Reading with the mind is fundamental to express your own personality, by following these three steps: ponder, elaborate and convey.