Coming originally from Trentino, in the North of Italy became Milanese by adoption.
People say about him:”great chef with a strong sense of concreteness and harmony”. He is chef in his restaurant “Ristorante Sadler ” 1 Michelin star and also in his “Chic and quick” Italian modern tavern in Navigli district in Milan. He is also Chairman of the “Le Soste association” with more of 90 chef as members.
This association has as its purpose the enhancements of Italian cuisine. He has received the Ambrogino d’oro by the municipality of Milan , the most important award given by Milan city. His cooking philosophy is characterized by a delicate balance between fidelity to the Italian regional cooking and the re- making of it, with an artistic twist.
Your Italian roots, shared among Mantua, city Trentino Region, Milan where you were born ,all this is a melting pot of contamination that , perhaps, is mirrored in your menu?
In preface of your book My new menu, you outline when kid, you were looking at your mother and aunt hands making tortelli pasta and when you were looking what was going on in your uncle restaurant .All this made you really Italian and chef, I mean inclusive local particular characteristics in just one” thing”: being Italian.
In reality, I’ve been learning the basics of classic cuisine, the French one, at hotel school and also at hotels and restaurants where I’ve been working at the beginning of my career.
At that time Italian cuisine did not exist, there was the local cuisine and the home cuisine, the one of our mother and grandmothers.Over time I have traveled a lot and I have had a restaurant in Japan for 5 years.I remember that ,one day, I made a dish that seemed molecular cuisine , very up to date at at time.A customer after having tasted the dish said to me :” I’ve not found the taste and the warmth of Italian cuisine in this dish”. Starting from that moment I decided I always would have done my Italian cuisine , also the poor one, the one my mummy was used to do: Tortelli from Mantua city, bolonnaise ragu sauce, lasagne and so on ….but ranging all over Italian territory .I love Italian regional cuisine and it’s my job to last the tradition , improving its characteristics, using techniques and rules to make it more up to date , light , modern and Italian.
Reading your interviews or listening to your words, you look like a Renaissance workshop master with his school or a conductor who gathers the soloists, are you like this in your kitchen?You start from a sketch of the dish, colors must melt and match each others exactly like a crescendo in music, starting from light musical tones till the low ones.Does your menu mirror that?
Usually each recipe could become a classic, every dish is studied, planned and drawn with its colours. Colours are very important in a dish, they lead to taste the dish.The respect for different cooking methods keep the taste alive. At the same time it activates the perception of flavors on our palate and smell.All this means harmony of sensations.
You indicate 7 basic rules on your being chef, how can we syntesise them?Ease, well being, balance, lightness, crescendo, tradition, contamination, creativity, modernity and… ?
Difficulty of culinary art is indeed gathering all these sensations.You must consider that a dish has an ephemeral life , just few minutes and that’s it, it will disappear. That’s the reason why it must leave a memory, more than one, to our senses. Music is different, you can reproduce it anytime and painting too, because it is perennial.
Does in your career exist a before and after Gualtiero Marchesi?It seems that , you were always looking for a balance between your Ying and Yang beyond all the influences (nouvelle cuisine, molecular cuisine,) and beyond any changement (internationalization, exotic influences )Perhaps because you are a Gemini?Apart from astrology, talking about yourself, you say that you are a thinking and business chef, not only a kitchen chef, again your search for a synthesis?
First of all I am a chef, I love cooking, but I think about what I’m doing, because the kitchen is a way of living my job and my time .According to me staying in kitchen is really a pleasure , a gesture I usually dedicate to my guests to give them pleasure. Reality is business based that’s the reason why I must get into the “unsuccessful role” of entrepreneur.
The birth of a recipe is a long path, an in an ideal tour of Italy by bike with the final sprint of Sadler the soloist. How important is sharing it with your kitchen brigade , with your young people?
A dish can live for long or die at birth, it depends how it is proposed. Some dishes have been with me for more than 30 years.They have been modified and reworked, they were repeated by my students in their own restaurants . Also chef and housewives, after having read my books, have reproduced them in their kitchen. I like very much it, when over time my dishes become classic. Coming back to your question,I always work together with my chefs while preparing a new menu.They must feel passion and transport towards that dish so they will cook it at their best .According to me taste is more important than choreography and taste is more difficult to teach.
Last but not least :truffle, a serious and mysterious product .it has hidden features and scents coming out only under certain conditions ,such as heat for example. In your last book My new Menu there are 6 dishes with fine black truffle Melanosporum.We can read about pizza with truffle in your Stuzzichini menu, duck ravioli, more traditional San Martino menu tagliolini born to go with truffle, till capo, boiled dish and gnocchi .It seems as truffle is an ingredient you like, do you think that according to you, truffle based products could have “a place in the sun”?
Fine black truffle is my best friend, followed by the white one and also the summer truffle when it has the good maturation, I use all the different species of truffle.Truffle is a strength, it enhances the taste of the dishes, it is a supporting column, I cannot stand without it to create and fabricate my dishes .