Italian Cuisine World Summit :: Dubai


Forty years, and if I look back, I see a 15 year old boy, who was split between listless
classes at the vocational hotel school, and weekends and summers spent chopping
parsley and clean vegetables in the kitchens of the taverns in my town. At that age, I knew
that I would cook, but I did not know how and where. So, when they speak to me of "holy
fire", I know that it’s the repetition of thousands of hours of the same daily routine, and I
also know that a career requires favorable coincidences and lucky combinations.
It was at this point that I began four tough months of internship with Vissani, essential to
understand that the cuisine I had imagined was not only a chimerical obsession, but that it
was, instead, right there at my fingertips: thoughts of creative ability, of theoretical and
practical orientation, of pleased realization. With this, or right after, I created several
dishes, which were my fortune and gave me exposure on the national scene, such as, for
example, flagfish parmesan or fuscella ricotta and mullet soup. My cooking style has
remained the same: fish from the territory to create dishes that satisfy the senses and the
minds of my clients.
In France I learned that, in my job, managing the combination of “genius and
intemperance” does not work out, that the results are the children of a mental order, which
requires creativity, but that translates into rigor and discipline, all well balanced like the
ingredients of a great dish. To someone who recently asked me what professional
satisfaction had given me the greatest thrill, I answered, and still confirm, that it was being
admitted in 1999 to the JRE - Association of the Young Restaurateurs of Europe, since
comfort and sharing experiences with peers gives rise to the strong feeling of belonging to
a movement that excludes petitions and rivalries.
In 2003 came recognition from the Gambero Rosso Tre Forchette, a prestigious ranking,
which has seen me at the top to date, yet, it was also in 2003 that I was able to organize
an event in my town that was different from all others: a continuous three-day happening.
In short, a party, the Festa a Vico (Feast in Vico) that draws to Vico Equense (Naples)
established and promising young chefs to cook meals together for hundreds of visitors
who flock to the beautiful setting of the Axidie of Marina di Seiano. We started with 11 and
today we are 150. The second Michelin star in 2008 is recent history. If I look back, in
1991 I see Gennaro, Vittoria, Ciro, Luciano, and Salvatore working in Via Torretta under
the shadow of a Saracen tower from the VII century, and I still see them today.
Continues ...

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