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Refined Lovers of Haute Cuisine

| ICONIC GOURMAND| Chiara Melani

Studies in humanities, a passion for art, and then a series of awards as a self-taught chef. When and how did your passion for cooking begin?
My passion for cooking began long ago in 1981 when we had just opened IL SORRISO. The cook left and it was a question of replacing him as soon as possible, so I decided to go into the kitchen and I started reproducing the dishes that I had seen the previous chef make. I dedicated myself to reading all the revered texts of modern cuisine, following the recipes to the letter, putting in a little of my own and then letting the customers try. The success of it all got me excited and pushed me to go on trying new dishes, and it all became a passion right away. Searching for ingredients, studying these ingredients, and creating dishes all became my passion.
Michelin stars are a great honor and recognition, but also a huge responsibility: what is the secret to achieving excellence in the kitchen?
Surely Michelin stars are a great honor and the recognition of the sacrifices that this work entails. I think that study, research, perseverance and constant commitment are essential in achieving excellence in the kitchen, but I don’t want to forget that humility is an indispensable virtue as well.
What ingredient do you love cooking?
All ingredients have their charm, all have their characteristics, but the most important thing is that they are identifiable in the dish, so for me this means not having excessive complications of taste. Simplicity. Respecting ingredients is essential. Fruit, vegetables, and fish are certainly ingredients that allow your creativity to be let loose, in combinations of taste and color.
And what are the ingredients to your success?
I have already mentioned them, they are research, perseverance, firsthand experience, and total control of what goes on in the kitchen.
Speaking of links between cuisine and territory: is there a traditional Italian recipe that best represents this nation?
All my recipes have a foundation in the tradition that I have developed with a modern touch, even taking advantage of modern techniques when necessary, checking the aesthetics of the dish which I consider important, but above all the true taste of the ingredients.
How does the idea for one of your dishes come about?
An idea can be born in different ways, sometimes from a previous dish, or looking at nature, comparing other ideas found in books and magazines, and even building on possible criticisms, everything is constructive.
The next dish you are dreaming up?
A modern and streamlined interpretation of the Piedmontese mixed fried dish.
Web: alsorriso.com
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