Two Sicilian chefs have made it to the top echelons of Italian cuisine according to Italian food guide Guida del’ Espresso. The Italian guide, whose editor is Enzo Vissari, is highly influential and many times has spotted ‘talent’ before other more international guides recognises chefs and restaurants.
Ciccio Sultano and Pino Cuttaia, chefs of Duomo di Ragusa and La Madia in Licata join the top chefs tier together with David Oldani of D’O di Cornaredo in Milan. There are now 13 restaurants in total with the ‘5 hats’. These are Casadonna Reale in Castel di Sangro, Seta at the Mandarin Oriental in Milan, St Hubertus at the Hotel Rosa Alpuna in San Cassiano di Badia, Le Calandre in Sarmeola di Rubano, Lido 84 in Gardone Riviera, Madonnina del Pescatore in Senigallia, Osteria Francescana in Modena, Piazza Duomo in Alba, Uliassi in Senigallia and Villa Feltrinelli in Gargnano.
Ciccio Sultano, chef of Duomo said he had thought of closing the restaurant in 2020 only to change his mind. “We have put Sicily at the centre and translated it into all the languages. He said that espresso hats, stars and all give them great pleasure and pin the awards to their chests with pride but ultimately they must not distract them from the guests who are the main focus on their work,” he said.
Pino Cuttaia of La Madia said he could not complain about the results from guides but what was important for him was to find a balance and to remain accessible also to people who live closeby and who go to the restaurant because they have complete trust in what you do. “You need the two elements. The guide give you a large platform and visibility, local customers appreciate you as a person,” he said.
Another very notable result was Canadian born chef Jessica Roscval who is at the helm of Massimo Bottura and Lara Gilmore’s Casa Maria Luigia who was named female chef of the year. This is also recognition of the change in direction that the Italian acclaimed chef has given to his ever expanding restaurant group by putting many of his staff in the limelight.
The young chef of the year is Valerio Braschi who also won the Italian Masterchef TV programme in 2017. Bros from Lecce won innovation in the kitchen.
Compared to all other guides, the Guida del’ Espresso has been published much later in Italy. “The late publication is due to the pandemic,” said the director and curator Enzo Vizzari. “It has shown the whole fragility of the sector. We cannot count the number of restaurants that have closed or have their capacity reduced. Having said that many have young professionals have been able to make a statement even in such particular times,” said Vizzari. “Our aim is to tell the story of the best of Italian cuisine and that is the reason why we are dedicating space to describing dishes.”
The Special prices
- Dinner of the Year: D’O Cornaredo (Milan)
- Cellar of the year: Bistrot Forte dei Marmi (Lucca)
- Maitre d’ of the year: Daniela Piscini Miramonti l’altro Concesio (Brescia)
- Sommelier of the year: Giampiero Cordero Il Centro di Priocca (Cuneo)
- Female chef of the year: Jessica Rosval, Casa Maria Luigia (Modena)
- Service of the year: Condividere in Torino.
- Young chef of the year: Valerio Braschi 1978 Rome
- Performance of the year: Duomo (Ragusa) and La Madia (Licata)
- Innovation in the kitchen: Bros (Lecce)
- Pasta of the year: Berton (Milan)
- Rice of the year: Petit Royal G.H. Royal and Golf (Courmayeur)
- Pastry chef of the year: Maria Novella Salemi Peter Brunel in Arco (Trento)
- Coffee service of the year: Piazza Duomo (Alba)
- Sustainable restaurant of the year: La Tana Gourmet (Asagio)
- Career: Francesco Bracali Bracali di Ghirlanda in Massa Marittima
- Young pizzaiolo of the year: Davide Quaglia Mama (Lendinara)