Let’s start with a pretty straightforward question. Where does your cuisine come from?
Good question. I would say, from farmlands, literally, which is where I come from.
Which is to say…
My parents were farm owners in Campania. My relationship with everything that is about farming is so strong that has profoundly shaped my life and, of course, my career as chef. A would describe such a relationship as a longstanding love story, in which curiosity for harvesting and processes of production played a key role.
What about cooking? How did your career as a cook start?
You know, when you grow up in a farm, what you grow is what you eat. As you can imagine, I loved the cooking part.
An interest in cooking that brought you…
To a small restaurant in town, where I used to work over the week-ends and in Summer. I was just a teenager then. But what was a kind of a part-time job soon turned into passion. As this passion bloomed I understood that I need to improve my knowledge and skills. I was lucky enough to be offered the chance to work at a very famous restaurant in Munich, Germany. And I grasped it.
A positive experience?
Definitely! Germany was the chance for me to know different gastronomical cultures, Japanese and Thai among others. A chance to comprehend the meaning of experimentation and contamination when it comes to gastronomy. And, also, a chance to learn to understand the needs of a wider public.
But you worked in Italy, as well. Is that correct?
It is. My working experience at a 3 Michel star restaurant near Milan was paramount. This experience gave a deeper understanding of what we can define as the ‘complex simplicity’ of Italian cuisine.
Talking about this idea of ‘complex simplicity’ of Italian cuisine and your relationship with farming. Is that right to say that you developed a thorough knowledge of ingredients production processes?
It is right. But there is something more than that. I’m talking about the crucial role that the quality of ingredients play in gastronomy. And of the very unique relationship between traditions, places and gastronomy.
Just one last question. How can two apparently incompatible concepts like luxury and farming join together and produce something beautiful?
We all know that there are many different ways of interpreting the idea of luxury. However, it is my belief that, when it comes to gastronomy, and this is certainly true for Aurora’s cuisine, luxury is about ingredients’ greatest authenticity and quality. As far as ingredients are concerned, Aurora relies on exclusive relationships with growers and on a constant quest for fresh products characterised by a zero level manipulation.
We are talking about luxury as craftsmanship
Exactly. After all, this idea of luxury as craftsmanship is at the basis of the so called Made in Italy, and embraces different sectors and fields: from fashion to visual arts. Something authentic that we can only find in family owned firms.
Luxury as craftsmanship and simplicity, then?