My passion came from my family, from my grandparents’ trattoria. Even when I was tiny, I was determined to become a “grand chef" without any great idea of what that might mean. My career started predictably in a hotel management school. But essentially I created myself, without the outside influence of other chefs. My cuisine is born of my own personal experience: it reflects my innermost feelings. My career really started when I was 26, with my restaurant, “Ristorante Il Rigoletto” where I remain today. I continue to forge a path for myself there and now work with my son Federico who has joined me in the kitchens. There are several events which have marked my career: the two Michelin stars and acceptance into the Relais & Châteaux family were particularly high points. And, more recently, the publication of my first book “Sinfonie del Rigoletto” was particularly satisfying. In a profession which is very demanding and exhausting, it is your guests who give you the strength to carry on.
I nibble on little pieces of Parmesan several times a day. I cut it into “scales” or thin strips to bring out the quality of its texture. We use Parmesan that has been aged for 24 or 40 months in many types of seasonings, combined with balsamic vinegar, with cream in risotto and even in an ice cream.
It’s region for a chef to go out to meet the producers and talk, sometimes for hours on end, with the people who make the cheese. The casaros (dairy processors) are the most important links in the cheesemaking process. The Parmigiano Reggiano that I buy comes from the mountains of Reggio Emilia.
I was born in a small village in the middle of the Parmesan-producing area. I probably had it in my baby bottle! Some even say that Parmesan flows in our veins.