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The countdown has started: in a few days, the Venice lagoon will host the 2012 S.Pellegrino Cooking Cup, a competition that blends two passions - sailing and fine dining - all in a perfect Italian style.
While waiting for the behind-the-scenes scoop and exclusive video from Fine Dining Lovers, we’d like to introduce you to some of the young talented chefs who will take part in the competition and cook aboard the sailing boats.
Today we meet Lorenzo Cogo, a 26-year-old Italian chef from the El Coq restaurant: he is the third generation of chefs in his family, his father owned a traditional trattoria, Lorenzo opened his restaurant just a year ago.
Here’s what he revealed about himself and his food world.
Describe your cooking style in three keywords.
Istinctive, young, international.
What is the first taste you remember and why?
The first flavour I can remember is milk just drawn: I grew up with my grandparents and to go buying milk directly from the farmer was a daily pleasure and joy. It’s an easy, sweet and intense taste, a pure color that comes along with us in every moment of the day.
If you were a dish, what would you be?
I’d be a summer mixed salad: tasty, rich, light and very healty!
What dish do you most enjoy preparing and which one do most enjoy eating?
I’m really attracted by everything is related to grill. And that’s the reason why I would always eat a grilled steak with seasonal vegetables.
Who or what is your main source of inspiration?
The main source of inspiration, for me, is my mood and state of mind. Then I’d say my memories and all the experiences I have made, together with travels. My cooking style is very istintive, so I everyday try finding new inputs tasting, trying, researching everything is possible.
Tradition and innovation: what’s the relationship with these words, and how is it applied in your cuisine?
Growing up as a chef in my father’s trattoria, tradition is in my blood: I love everything is related to our gastronomic history but I prefer not to revise any traditional recipes that I consider already perfect. I’m more about research and innovation: I try pushing ingredients to a new level, without any limits. Italian cuisine is not only pasta and pizza!
What is fine dining to you? How do you think new generations are changing this idea and making it evolve?
For me the secret of the authentic fine dining experience is in the ingredients: high quality products, very very fresh, cooked in the best way possible. That’s it! The new generations have to keep in mind who we are and where we come from.
What will be, according to you, the next big trend in food and conviviality?
Nothing is better than street food: it’s the most authentic moment of conviviality I can imagine, that involves everyone without any economic distintion. The Spanish are the masters of these food culture, passed from hand to hand.
If you weren’t a chef, what would you be?
I have no idea! Since I was I child I’ve had a great passion for motorbikes, and I even compete when I was 16, but I think I wasn’t good enough to be a professional rider!
Year 2050: what food do you think we’ll bring to our table?
Freeze-dried food, that many years ago seemed impossibile to have, is now something real: I think that in 2050, or maybe earlier, we’ll have great dishes in our pockets… in the shape of a capsule.
Update: with the ingredients from the Mistery Basket the young chef from Italy prepared a 'Sgombro in Cambusa' and arrived third!