Trentino born and bred, I was born in Mezzocorona, in the heart of the Rotaliana Plain.
My dad was a baker. He taught me how to make up the dough for bread, and it was from him that I discovered how fascinating it is to watch it rise.
My mum worked in a traditional, old-style restaurant. It was from her that I got my love of food in all its many forms.
One of my clearest childhood memories is the huge orchard opposite our house, where I watched the changing of the seasons and, day after day, got a little bit closer to the magic of nature and strengthened my bond with the land, by learning to respect its times and needs. Along with my wife Sonia, my fellow traveller in this adventure, I love to discover and get the very best out of the excellent things that the territory offers up, which I present in my dishes without ever abusing their identity. With the birth of our son Damiano, we moved into new forms of cooking, that weren't just good, but, at the same time healthy and observant of the needs of all people, from vegetarians to those with food intolerances, taking maximum care over the use of allergens, but without the least sacrifice in terms of flavour.
My ideas on what I wanted to become have always been clear. Cooking was, and still is, my life I therefore attended professional catering schools in Trento, but I also started working from a very early age, when I was only 14. I started off close to home, then on to Lake Garda and Alto Adige before moving overseas, to Hong Kong, Singapore, Munich, Paris and Los Angeles. It was all good, electrifying, even, a learning experience, but undoubtedly difficult and demanding. It was worth it, though. I learned something in all of those places, adding another little fragment to a remarkable mosaic that I tried to transfer into my experience as a teacher in Austria and which I'm committed to conveying into my dishes day after day. I met lots of Master Chefs, mentors who taught me that all the things you use have to be good first and foremost, and that you have to respect the ingredients and resources at your disposal and maintainthe right balance between tradition, creativity and innovation.
PFor me, cooking has to be simple but surprising. The real star isn't the restaurant or the chef, it's the dish. I study my dishes with the intention of getting the most out of the ingredients, eliminating all the unnecessary frills and giving space to the essence. It's no coincidence that my signature dishes include shoulder of beef (known as Cappello del Prete, or the priest's hat) and offal, as well as miniature open lasagne with chestnut flour, artichokes and Sformato di Coméda (wild spinach flan) and tagliatelle with fenugreek - traditional foods, practical and substantial, reviewed to bring them into line with the requirements of the diners of today and mapped out down to the tiniest detail, to ensure that they're perfectly balanced to the eye as well as the taste. Plating up the dish is important, certainly, but it shouldn't take priority over the cooking. Because I'm convinced of their invaluable contribution to the story, the selection of those occupying the supporting roles is just as fundamental. I make use of local craft specialists who forge the elements of nature to show off the food at its best, using materials such as walnut, acacia, Trentino pine, chestnut and pear woods, as well as local ceramics and terracotta.