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The eyes and palates of the world are directed towards Milan’s elegant Piazza della Scala, where the 33 year-old chef Luigi Taglienti has been called upon by the Trussardi family to substitute Andrea Berton in one of Italy’s most prestigious and high-level kitchens.
Born in Liguria, Taglienti has southern blood in his veins; this mix has played quite a role in his professional journey, helping to attract the attention of chefs Michelin-starred chefs like Ezio Santin , from Cassinetta di Lugagnano restaurant, and Carlo Cracco, whom Taglienti considers his mentor.
After moving up the ranks in Milan, then honing his training in France, Taglienti returned to Italy in 2007 where his work at the Piemontese restaurant Delle Antiche Contrade in the city of Cuneo earned the establishment a Michelin star.
After just three months at the restaurant, where he was made executive chef last July, Luigi Taglienti is now ready for his debut on the international stage as the chef at the world-renowned Trussardi Alla Scala, an honor that will take him all the way to Moscow for the Golden Triangle event in the city’s Gastronomic Festival, where he will be preparing two emblematic dishes of Italian cuisine along with two colleagues.
Prior to his Russian appearance, Fine Dining Lovers got better acquainted with this young talent who is quickly emerging as a star of contemporary Italian cuisine.
How would you define your cuisine?
I’d say it’s classic Italian, with a pinch of French and dressed with a drizzle of the avant-garde. I’m very interested in niche products that manage to escape globalization, still firmly rooted in the Italian tradition. Beyond my own country, I consider the Troigros brothers as a point of reference - they possess a grandeur and style that go beyond culinary trends.
The Trussardi family also involved Carlo Cracco in the renovation of their restaurant. What was his role?
Carlo is a friend, and while the dishes here are “mine”, he’s like an older brother who acts as a filter with the city, offering advice on everything from suppliers to the best ways of appealing to Milanese tastes.
You’ve been in Cuneo for three years now, what will you miss about the Piedmont Italian region?
I’ll miss my beloved offal meats; I love all the more “humble” cuts that are harder to procure here in Milan. I’m trying to get even the most skeptical customers to appreciate them with dishes like ravioli filled with vela tongue, cumin and lemon. And I also miss the natural surroundings. When I opened the kitchen windows at the Antiche Contrade, I’d see the mountains, smell the woods, and enjoy the cool morning air.
You’ve introduced the mini-course at the beginning of a meal, which is definitely something new. Where did this idea come from?
I've created just a couple of spoonfuls of a cool mixture to serve after the antipasto, which helps to stimulate the taste buds and prepare the palate for the next courses. It’s made from water, extra-virgin olive oil (brought to -30°), lemon and licorice.
The dishes I’m bringing to Moscow are also a part of the restaurant’s menu. The first course is a fresh egg pasta with a cream of buffalo ricotta, tomato mixture and spinach oil. I want to convey an idea of a homey kind of cooking, a cuisine that is both familiar and technically sophisticated. I perfected the art of filled pasta while in Piemonte, where the tradition calls for 30 eggs in every kilo of flour. The second course is a bit more conceptual: I was inspired by black and white photography, which is a great passion of mine. The dish is made up of two sheets of flaky cuttlefish pastry filled with a panna cotta made from sea urchin with a citrus reduction.