An unlikely guide to the destinations of the heart and belly.
In a previous life, when I sailed the sea, I visited many countries, today I see the world pass by from my restaurant, sitting at the table with the desire to know something about the territory.
Expectations, resistance, curiosity, preconceptions, the guests who come and visit me draw a kaleidoscope of cultures and ways of living which at times can be very distant. I’m not just talking about geographical distance, but also experiences, habits, and desires. For this, each of them for me represents a journey, an opportunity, which I respect and want to get in touch with.
I have a few white hairs, and for this reason I ask, I grant myself the luxury of talking openly to anyone who will listen to me, of what should encourage each of us to make a choice, to choose to trust and to let go of ourselves to an experience when we cross the restaurant’s threshold.
Truth be told, nowadays chefs owe a lot to media exposition. They have achieved a level of charm that they did not possess before. The public has become familiar with the lexicon of food and wine, staff or personnel do not exist anymore, today we are talking about kitchen or restaurant brigades, working tools are hi-tech, the platings are works of art. And everyone has to be able to skillfully discuss on wine combinations and cooking techniques… Italy is the country with sixty million football coaches and the same number of starred chefs.
Far from wanting to deny the idea that food is culture, history, anthropology, but cooking is mostly relationships, warmth, memories. It is something that concerns the territory, for the typical products, the excellence of the raw materials, the traditional dishes. But it also covers the personal history of each one of us, our lives, our places, childhood cooking, party dishes, dinners for two, and special moments… In short, each of us has their own “madeleines”. If Proust seems to be dated, the memory of the hearth does not arouse any tenderness and you do not regret grandmother’s cooking, but instead, you feel magnetically attracted by cocktails and finger food, molecular cuisine and the signs that expose the desired stars, I hope you can still take my advice. Do not be lazy when you choose the restaurant for your lunch or for your evening, do not settle for it. The key ingredient to consider is only one, passion, which is not simply the love for your job. It is that feeling that drives you to see all your life, every thought, every possible knowledge, every opportunity as a moment of personal enrichment to share with the guests of your restaurant. This is the compass that drives me when I choose to enter a place and sit at a table. I’m not just there to eat, but also to have an experience.