Chef Paolo Cappuccio and Mediterranean madness
"Although cooking is about senses and sensations, I put my trust in contact, and not just while making my dishes.
I seek eye contact with customers at the tables, I have to see if their eyes open wide with amazement, if they smell the dishes when they’re served, I have to see the look on their faces, I have to understand. On television today, cooking is entertainment and is fascinating, but it doesn't allow you to breathe in the scents, the aromas, the smells, and all the emotions remain on the other side of the screen. I’d rather watch my customers’ reactions, and actually seeing them brings a moment of truth." These are the words of Paolo Cappuccio, Michelin-starred chef who together with Nicola Dinato and Alessandro Borghese animated the Berto's stand at Identità Golose 2017, the Congress of International Haute Cuisine in Milan.
Paolo tells us that he celebrated his marriage with the world of flavours in Naples at the tender age of 14, when he learnt the first secrets about baking and cooking from his mother. From here he started his path, which took him from the best schools in the industry (he met Joel Robuchon at the École Lenôtre in Paris) to working with grandmaster chefs Alain Ducasse and Paul Pommel.
When we asked him what ingredients are needed to create a great chef, he spoke of passion, technique, meticulousness, research and taste. He explains that Mediterranean cuisine is primarily about seeking simplicity, reminding us that simple things are the most difficult to obtain if you don’t use a pinch of creative madness (he calls it Mediterranean madness). Hence his famous recipes (if they were music, we would define them as "crossover"), such as foie gras paired with Sicilian fish and crustaceans from Mazara del Vallo, a successful culinary risk just like his experiment to bring Mediterranean fish to the high altitudes of Madonna di Campiglio (high up in the Dolomites, in the Eastern Italian Alps). This geographical pun of tastes and flavours earned him a Michelin Star in 2009. Paolo Cappuccio is a sincere and passionate rhapsodist of living cuisine; cuisine that dares to risk and which focuses on colours, not rules, yet never losing sight of values: nutrition basics, keeping an eye on fats, diversification, balance.
For his cooking show at Identità Golose, Chef Paolo used the induction hobs of the Berto's new “La Cucina", the company’s flagship that was presented at the event in Milan. We asked him what he thought: "practical, high-performance, as solid as the best avant-garde tradition, incredibly easy to use thanks to the one-piece countertop which, with my ingredients spread out over the surface, linear and undeniably beautiful, inspires me to explore even more risky combinations."