Rarely do emotions take over you when you eat in a restaurant. A delicious dish is a great treat but something that can stir up sentiments that the chef wants to convey in his dishes is profoundly impressive. When Roy Salomon Caceres is in the kitchen, his dishes unravel with the unverbalized stories that he wants to tell. Born in Colombia in 1977 then transplanted to Italy when he was at a young age of sixteen, his stories are unique and bountiful which are spiced with aromas from far away. A chef is like a silent storyteller whose words are the ingredients that he uses and the way he puts them together is the story that he wants to relay.
If you put two extremely talented young chefs in the kitchen, one from the southern part of Italy where Mediterranean seafood cuisine is celebrated while the other one is from the mountainous region where alpine influence is utmost, the result is a surprising innovation of grand ideas, aromas and flavors intertwined in a luscious approach to gastronomy.
The story of Pashà is about a mother’s courage and natural maternal instinct to take care of things when difficulties arise in the family. When the restaurant got a call from their current chef who couldn’t come to work because of a medical surgery, the kitchen was going to be left unmanned. That’s the time when Maria Cicorella grabbed the apron and commanded the kitchen even without professional culinary education.
In the middle rolling hills of the Campanian Apennines lies Feudi di San Gregorio Estate, a futuristic rectangular structure created in 2004 by renowned Japanese architect Hikaru Mori. It stands prominently amidst its perfectly combed vineyards. It is the largest wine producer in the region and internationally well-known. To boost the enhancement of the perfect…
We are in South Tyrol, in one of Italy’s autonomous regions that is immersed in the best of what nature can give. But the list doesn’t end there because South Tyrol also has the most number of Michelin-starred restaurants in Italy. Let’s take a look at one of South Tyrol’s culinary gems. His name is Egon Heiss and he received his Michelin star in 2014. It’s an accolade that most, if not all chefs in the world work hard for.
At La Madernassa Restaurant, Chef Michelangelo Mammoliti, a native of Roero, creates dishes with outstanding mosaics combining nature, memories, thoughts and inventiveness in the kitchen. A young chef with a full luggage of experience in the kitchens of some of the most notable Michelin starred chefs in Italy and France, Gualtiero Marchesi, Stefano Baiocco, Alain Ducasse, Pierre Gagnaire, Yannick Alléno, and Marc Meneau. With the experience in France, Michelangelo was able to form the basis of his own kitchen which has strong leanings towards the French kitchen.
Il Cantuccio is a one Michelin star restaurant in a small and charming village stone house in the center of Albavilla. At the helm of the kitchen is Chef Mauro Elli, a Lombard by birth and who had his professional culinary training in Clusone (Bergamo).
Ristorante La Trota‘s location may not be conveniently inside the capital and it may take a bit of traveling from the center of Rome towards Rieti because it has a distance of about 100 kilometers but rest assured that if you do make that trip, the gourmand in you will be more than satisfied. In fact, you might even go back for more trips. A restaurant with 2 stars in the French Michelin guide, 3 hats in the Italian L’Espresso guide, and 3 forks in another important Italian restaurant guide, Gambero Rosso, can hardly disappoint anyone.
Parked just a block away, I walked along Via Pisanelli, a quiet residential road in Rome. My eyes riveted towards a light yellow building standing aristocratically amidst the other structures in the area. I quickly scanned the number outside for confirmation. I knew I was at the right place. It says 25 and on the other side of the entrance, The H’All Tailor Suite is written, along with Restaurant All’Oro and under, JRE which stands for Jeunes Restauraturs d’Europe. Being a member of JRE, two forks from Gambero Rosso, a hat from Guida Ristoranti Espresso, a medal from Touring Club, and a Michelin star, I had no doubt that my invitation to the press breakfast that morning would be a notable gastronomic experience.
There are some places that are hard to forget even after a number of years because the fond memories keep on rolling back. Ristorante Vescovado had that effect on me. During a press tour four years ago, I remembered how well-received we were, how one of the chefs of the restaurant pounded on her mortar and pestle tirelessly as she showed us how to properly make the genuine Ligurian pesto from scratch. I also remember how distractedly beautiful the view was from the veranda of the restaurant. And most of all, how delicious the food was, prepared with fresh Ligurian ingredients and paired perfectly with local wines. That was Ristorante Vescovado for me four years ago. Last month, I went back to retrace my footsteps and reconfirm the excellence of the food of Chef Giuseppe Ricchebuono.
Chef Gianfranco Pascucci has a vast source of ingredients right in front of him, where fishes of different kinds are taken to the dock by the local fishermen of Fiumicino as soon as they come in from fishing. He doesn’t limit his ingredients to the usual sea bass or turbot, because he feels impelled to take out the immense supply that the sea can provide us, more the unknown than the ones we are used to. There is the desire to generate awareness and through his kitchen, his dishes can create stories from the sea, the fishermen then to us.
In 1985, when Antonello Colonna took the reins and installed a bright red door in his family’s restaurant in Labico, not only did the name change to Antonello Colonna but it also became one of the best restaurants in Italy. The red door symbolized the preservation of traditional dishes and their flavors while adapting them for the modern day refined palates. He started a gastronomic revolution that became sought after by Italian gourmands. What a big change it was from what his family started in 1874 when Trattoria Andrea Colonna was just a simple restaurant that travelers stopped for, stay, eat and change horses for the last time before heading to Rome. But what remained unchanged for centuries is the distinguishing quality of its home-style cooking.
L’Atelier du Peintre in Colmar (Alsace), France
Entering the town of Colmar is like opening a book of a fairy tales.The intensely colorful half-timbered houses line the cobblestone streets while the well-tended flower boxes filled with gaily-colored flowers give the final touch of perfection. It’s alive with architecture, art and history that dates back to the time it was first written in a book in the 9th century. At the main square, it has a stately 14th-century Dominican church that was reconstructed centuries later in Baroque architecture.
My choice of restaurant went towards the quieter part of town where the dining atmosphere is more muted. My destination was Michelin starred Wolfshöhle Restaurant located in one of Freiburg’s prettiest corner. The restaurant’s elegant wood and leather interior is accentuated with some art pieces. The young staff, all dressed in black uniforms with red sneakers gave quite an impressionable service of professionalism with a friendly overtone.
In Rome, there is a star that glistens a tad shinier that the rest because that star brings out what the others can’t take out of the Italian cooking. From the heart of Land of the Rising Sun, love, as simple and precise as I can put it, takes forth an incredible rendition of the Italian cuisine.
Let me present to you Bistrot 64 in the hands of Chef Kotaro Noda, one Michelin star, Japanese transplanted to Italy and one big love for the Italian cuisine.