Mentoring the up-and-coming talent in the S.Pellegrino Young Chef competition is the important task carried out by the Seven Sages. These are experienced and knowledgeable chefs who have risen to the very top of their game. So they are uniquely placed to offer the right encouragement, insight and advice to the young chefs setting their sights on gastronomic achievement. We have asked the Seven Sages to share their wisdom with a younger version of themselves, the result is a series of personal letters reflecting on their journey, obstacles overcome and successes.
This letter is from Italy’s Enrico Bartolini, one of the country’s leading gastronomic lights. Originally from Tuscany, he holds three Michelin stars at his eponymous restaurant at MUDEC Museum of Cultures in Milan.
Our society puts a lot of pressure on young people to be great. Your life experience will be rich only when life presents you with challenges. One day you will be ranked, studied and imitated. Like every young person you need opportunities to discover your talent, and you need time, challenges and experience to understand what you really believe.
You will have incredible experiences now when you are young, but you will only appreciate them when you grow up. I, for example, found it very difficult to receive advice and to use it in the heat of battle. However, those words that I discarded are still a great resource today.
It is not necessary to be perfect but to be able to always be real and dream that your talent makes the things and people around you shine. Being together is the greatest force that motivates and stimulates every great secret.
You have already discovered immediately after being very young that your palate and your sensitivity are 'the path' that allows you to appreciate and preserve the history and culture that belong to you most. These are the elements that will forever make gastronomy appreciated all over the planet across talents and territories."