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Family tradition taught me a love of fine ingredients and a respect for good quality. At home every day proceeded to the rhythm of the kitchens which operated all day long, almost like a ritual. As an adolescent, I developed a love for fine cuisine, blends of different flavours, contrasting tastes and unusual pairings: sweet, savoury, bitter and sour. I became a chef out of passion. I had a talent for it and a desire to be creative and was entranced by the idea of working with ingredients much like a real architect works with materials. I started my career as an apprentice in Saint-Moritz, and then, under the supervision of the great chef Angelo Paracucchi, in Ameglia, I learnt how to bring taste to life. It was later at Le Moulin de Mougins with Roger Vergé and in Paris working with Gaston Lenôtre that I gently found my place in life and my vocation. Since 1982, I have been at Arnolfo, the family restaurant where I create contemporary cuisine inspired by the Mediterranean.
I discovered the Alba truffle when I was doing my military service in the Piedmont region — I was in charge of the officers’ mess. It’s a seasonal product that can be found between November and January, depending on the area’s microclimate. The gatherers use specially-trained dogs to find them. Our two main suppliers are in Montá and Piobesi.
I love to use Alba truffles to enhance certain risotto dishes, with pecorino, the famous ewe’s milk cheese from Pienza, and even with passion fruit…