Depictions of Flavors
ICONIC GOURMAND | Chiara Melani
Fassona beef, Piedmontese hazelnuts, chestnuts, mushrooms, white truffles from Alba, capon, rabbit, fresh cream butter, Alta Langa potatoes, hunchback thistle from Nizza, topinambour, white turnips…delicate notes that echo in the Langhe’s enchanting amenities. There lies a kitchen of contemporary art filled with aromas of a French past and distant Oriental flavors: Piazza Duomo D’Alba.
It isn’t a restaurant with eleven tables, but rather eleven different restaurants. It is a gastronomic atelier, where three Michelin Star Chef Enrico Crippa ranks 15th out of the 50 best restaurants in the world; it has been awarded the Grand Prix de l’Art de la Cuisine from the International Academy of Gastronomy. His only distraction is a bicycle, his shrine, at the foot of the Ceretto winery and Piazza Duomo’s vegetable garden.
Enrico Crippa – what is the essence of your cuisine?
My cuisine, or rather that of Piazza Duomo, takes a lot from the vegetable world at the moment, giving it the amount of attention that was reserved for meat or fish in the past. Furthermore, it is a cuisine of gestures and colors that follows the worship of beautiful and good, great teachings from the late master Gualtiero Marchesi.
Your cuisine is colorful. Where does this dedication to colors come from?
The attention to color comes from afar, from my experiences, and comes to fruition daily with the colors that my vegetable garden gives
me every morning.
Piazza Duomo has a rich and sophisticated asset: a mixture between Langhe traditions, avant-garde flavors, and perception of your previous experiences.
Of course, you’ve perfectly captured the essence of our menu. I like working with local products and regional traditions, relating them to my experiences and travels. I also try to acknowledge the different wishes of the diners here at Piazza Duomo.
You owe the Japanese period to the master Marchesi. What memories do you carry with you? You are defined as the “Japanese of Italy” …
Let’s say that I owe him more than this, in fact, I had the great opportunity to work at Milan’s historic restaurant on Bonvesin de la Riva as well as at L’Albereta in Franciacorta. I admit that I don’t completely identify with the definition of the “Japanese of Italy” because in my kitchen there are nuances from all across my walks in life. From Japan, I have kept a love and respect for ingredients, and a quest for choreography on each dish.
Tell us about your famous vegetable garden.
Piazza Duomo’s vegetable garden started in 2007, and then expanded to two other plots, in addition to a brand new greenhouse. It is an extraordinary resource that allows me to bring certain flavors to the table that most of us have forgotten, flavors from fresh ingredients that are at the top of their season and naturally cultivated. The vegetable garden was also a gamble well before we began talking about “foraging” in cuisine.
What does it mean to be part of the culinary Olympus?
It is a great honor, but also a continual responsibility towards customers and the people that I work with everyday.
What discipline, what passion.
When you have a goal and a desire to reach it, you have to work hard; you need an attitude of discipline, passion, and perseverance.
The next step?
To this day, continue the work started here at Piazza Duomo with the Ceretto family and brigade as best as possible. One day, I would like to have a restaurant open just for lunches, maybe in the country: the light is different and plus you can relax with a healthy walk after finishing the meal.
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