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‘I always knew that I would be a chef. Like my father before me. He had trained entire brigades of chefs in Sorrento and the surrounding area. However, I must say that it was my grandmother who was really responsible for this conviction, with her ‘ragù’ and pasta at our family Sunday lunches. Its irresistible aroma permeated the entire house from the crack of dawn. That showed me the importance of finding the best possible raw materials, of self-sacrifice, of determination and total commitment to the profession. These were the foundations on which I built my cuisine. My travels and various experiences did the rest: in France, with Marc Haeberlin at L’Auberge de l'Ill in Illhaeusern in particular, and especially in the South and North of Italy, from the School in Vico Equense to the restaurant of Grand Hotel Quisisana de Capri run at the time by Gualtiero Marchesi, not forgetting, of course, Lake Orta. There is where I met my wife, Cinzia, before I went on, in 1999, to take over Villa Crespi, which has since allowed us to do what we can to please you and thereby ourselves.’
I remember my grandmother cooking pigeon in ashes when I was a child. Later, I rediscovered it in Alsace thanks to the Michelin-star chef Marc Haeberlin, and after that it became a very important product for me.
I learned everything I know about pigeons in France, and the best, nicest ones always come from there. I used to source from a few small producers in the Piedmont region, but now I buy French pigeons almost exclusively. Those unique flavors and aromas keep taking me back to France.
I like to reinterpret dishes, recipes that I have enjoyed. These days I’m serving a pigeon supreme with foie gras enhanced by a little cocoa and a Banyuls sauce.