Davide Spinelli – private chef in Milan
Davide Spinelli is a private chef in Milan. The Italian cuisine is of course something very special. Read this great insight here.
What drove you to become a chef?
Actually, today I work as a private Chef in Milan, this is for me a period of pause and reflection on these three years spent in various cuisines of Europe and the world, and I decided to stop for a moment, and focus on all the cultural and culinary baggage acquired.
Which cooking school did you attend at the beginning of your career?
Currently, I have two diplomas in the enhancement of Italian typical product and management of large events, with over 300 hours of culinary specialization courses with the Galdus Academy, in Milan.
“The true heroes” of the kitchen in Italy; are the Grannies: Hand on heart: is it hard to compete with them?
This is a wonderful question. Actually, my only source of inspiration were two women, my grandmother and my mother, as tradition wants. With my mom, I admit there is a lot of competition, and dialogue, because in the kitchen “I saw her born” like her with me, but for my grandmother she is different. When together with my grandfather, as a child, I saw them making pasta by hand, for me it was lightning! See those movements, repeated who knows how many times before that day, so hypnotic, to understand that nothing can ever kill the tradition of a good dish. I firmly believe that cooking is a tradition that is handed down, without that there would not be innovation, which only a traditional dish can give you. All of us have been electrocuted in this way, from the tradition! .. in a few instead, from a revisited dish!
Outside from Italy, you gained experiences as a chef in Lithuania. What was new for you as an Italian chef at the Lithuanian kitchen/ what makes it special?
Through the association UE Trade, which organizes stays abroad for professionals in the catering sector who want to learn about the European Union and spread their food and culture, I have won a competition for emerging chefs. Among various options, there was Vilnius, in Lithuania, and I chose it because I’ve always been passionate about Europe, and being a supporter of Europe and every culture that is part of it, I took and I left for this new adventure lasting in total almost three months. Travelling I understood that every city can give you something, and Vilnius has been a special discovery a special city. All of Lithuania is a beautiful place and I advise everyone to visit it with its churches, its markets, and good food! Made of unique and centenary traditions.
Did you have time to get to know local Lithuanian kitchen/ dishes?
Of course! the first dish that has remained in my heart is a simple dish, which in summer inevitably we eat sitting in front of the fire, camping in nature, having dinner with friends, but also in front of a beer in the frosty winter evenings. It is the “kepta cesnakine duona” and it is nothing but bread cut into strips, fried in boiling oil, with grated garlic and melted the cheese! Absolutely delicious! The second one is more complex, sort of a secret recipe kept in the dark for more than one hundred years by monks who preserved its original form so as to fall in love with the queen of Poland and the great duchy of Lithuania Barbora Radvilaitė! I’m talking about the cake “Šakotis”, (tree cake) big, yellow, fresh, soft and (the best thing) baked over a fire. If not the taste, seeing the process of baking Šakotis is something unique. Actually, the main ingredients of the cake are very simple – eggs, sugar, cream, and flour. It sounds easy, but the most important part of the Šakotis is preparing to rotate an open fire. Oh, one more thing – for two kilos of cake you will need to have 30 eggs! It is common to have Šakotis on our tables during the big celebrations – Weddings, Christmas or Easter celebrations. And for the big events, Šakotis is decorated with chocolate and candy flowers!
You also worked as chef several years in Portugal. In what sense is the Portuguese kitchen similar to the Italian kitchen?
Italy and Portugal are similar in many things, but one is fundamental: raw materials of the highest quality. In fact, in Portugal I found fish and very good meat, and oil and wine, which were a real surprise! The luck of Italy and that as children we are accustomed to excellent products that often only need to be handled with care. Portugal is similar in this, it lives in joy and in conviviality. In Portugal, cooking and partying go together like in Italy, there is no better occasion to party than eat together! And Portugal, closing my eyes and remembering those wonderful landscapes, it will never cease to remind me that food is joy.
Today you are working as a Chef in Switzerland. Can you share with us some Swiss/ Italian fusion dishes/ recipes?
As I mentioned, I do not work in Switzerland currently, I must admit that the work in Switzerland was very sectorial and monotonous, I was in the breakfasts area, so I did not have many opportunities to taste the Swiss cuisine, also because it was very expensive, what has remained to my mind are the cheeses, of a variety and formidable quality. I can say that the svezzera cooking is dominated by Italian dishes, Italians have the excellence of truffles for example, or pasta in all its forms, but if I have to be honest the Swiss / German snobbism left little to the experience, apart from the beautiful landscape.
The Swiss kitchen is fine and traditional. What are the latest trends in the Swiss kitchen/ new developments?
As I said in my opinion, the Swiss cuisine seemed to me a little un- traditional, however with the level of innovation I was very impressed, the Gourmet Festival in St. Moritz was a great festival, with many international guests, I had the possibility of working as Demi chef for all the preparation with the chef Dominique Creen and her staff. I believe that Swiss cuisine is very fascinated by the novel Cousine, perhaps a little too much.
Do you have a closer relation to some of your local food producer/ supplier in Switzerland?
No, I didn’t have.
After so many experiences in different kitchens; wow would you describe your culinary line today?
Today I believe my cuisine is influenced by the research to stabilize all the knowledge acquired in these years, I wanted to specifically stop to fix the various dishes that include my culinary line. I can say that I am, in these years, falling in love with different foods: Risotto and fresh pasta under every facet is a food that is never lacking in my kitchen, as well as wild meats and cooking at low and slow temperatures, I love crustaceans and molluscs, I love truffles, soups Japanese and fish, spicy korean taste, marinated fish and fine pieces of meat grilled, I love everything that reminds me of tradition and looks towards innovation. I love the imperfection that a dish can give, not perfection.
Can you share some of your latest creations / specialities you offer as chef?
Of course! I follow the seasonality of the products, in this period I like to prepare tortellini in broth filled with cotechino, walnuts and grana cheese fondue. Or low-temperature pig, finished on the grill, with sauerkraut sautéed in a wok in seed oil, blended with brandy and gold leaf. Finally I could suggest my pumpkin risotto, with pomegranate gel and red wine cold fish.
If you could choose a country in the world to take a chef job for some time, where would it be?
In the future I would like to work in China and Africa, but now I would like to go to Argentina or Chile, I am very curious and I would like to taste their food and their culture.
Davide Spinelli, thank you so much.
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