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Orta | Food & DrinksOctober 30, 2013

Antonino Cannavaccioulo Spiritual Chef

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" I believe that food and heart are one whole thing...Food nourishes the heart, and the heart longs for food , One cannot exist without the other.".

Antonino Cannavaccioulo

Now a TV star chef Antonino  Cannavaccioulo works on his cuisine every day of his life, drawing inspiration from life itself. His dishes also reflect and epitomise his journey northwards from the Sorrento coast to his wife, Cinzia, a native of Orta which is now his home.

“Our passion for hospitality and restaurants have led us to treat this fascinating work with the love, respect and respect it so greatly deserves. Our innovative Mediterranean cuisine is distinctive and we love to pamper our guests in the romantic rooms overlooking the lake where staff and surroundings reflect genuine harmony.”

I have had the wonderful opportunity to visit Villa Crespi last month and enjoy the marvelous menu prepared by  two Michelin starred  preparing for the third chef  Antonino  Cannavaccioulo   who together with his lovely wife Cinzia,  manages the superb Ottoman Style Villa at the foothills of the Italian Alps by the Orta Lake. While savoring the beautiful not less delicious dishes featured previously on Joellestagram , and enumerated below I have asked a few important questions to  our chef; Read below bout his hearted  feelings towards , nature 's ingredients , inspiration and  philosophy. Also find an easy recipe on his personal website link that you'll  be able  to prepare easily at home. Bon Appetit!

For Tonino Cannavacciuolo, cooking is an expression of life which has no choice but to move on, in a continuous process of study and growth. He plays with flavours, putting ingredients from the Mediterranean sea together with typically Piedmontese ones, creating new combinations that enhance their unique flavours and arouse the curiosity of his guests.

«It is important for me to highlight local ingredients, playing with the seasons and the flavours of different raw materials as they come out over the course of the year »

Ever seeking greater innovation without however abandoning tradition and the unique quality of flavour, he tells us that a dish well may change in the course time as he allows himself to be guided by his instinct, following no prescribed rules and drawing inspiration from what he finds around him.

“First I look deep inside myself and then into my cooking; I try to take each ingredient to its essence, to enhance it and couple it with just a few other ingredients and thus convey something absolutely authentic through my cooking, through taste and creativity. A dish may be tradition revisited or something entirely new thanks to what I have felt for something particular at a given moment in time, or for a specific ingredient, it is the continuous evolution of form, taste and colour.”

His experimentation and combination of the traditions of the South with those of the North can be summed up in his well-known phrase:  “While visiting the lake, the Mediterranean fell in love and bore the Alps the gift of its rich flavours”.

JM : WHERE WERE YOU BORN?

AC  : Sorrento in the province of Naples, in Italy

JM : HOW WOULD YOU COMPARE MEDITERRANEAN CUISINE TO THE ONE OF PIEMONTE?

AC: It's not easy to compare the two regions, so  geographically distant between each other:  By having lived in both beautiful places though, I  understood how many marvelous things  our country has to offer  within it's enormous diversity. 

JM:IN YOUR OPINION WHAT ARE YOUR GUESTS LOOKING FOR WHEN TASTING A MEAL AT VILLA CRESPI?

AC: I think that my clients , habitué and new ones, look for in my cuisine,  the essence of my emotions. The act of preparing a meal  for me , is to share the beauty of combining flavors , colors and tastes offering a gift at the same time  to the palate,  eyes and spirit.

JM: DO YOU HAVE ANY PREFERENCES OF SEASON WHEN CHOOSING YOUR INGREDIENTS:

AC:   In my opinion all seasons have a special meaning: I enjoy myself very much with the fruits the Nature offers at different times of the year and I believe that the use of prime seasonal ingredients is absolutely fundamental.

JM: IF YES, PLEASE GIVE OUR READERS FOUR SEASONAL EXAMPLES OF DISHES

AC: In Autumn, for example this season, I adore the use of mushrooms. For example . I  combine them picked fresh early morning( in the Villa Crespi's backyard ) with the dishes of the day , to the tagliatelle pasta, to the risottos. Then the water chestnuts, persimmons, truffles that I use so much everywhere  including desserts. In the Summer I make use of  Watermelon, tomatoes and peppers. Find a few dishes I have presented  in the Villa Crespi's menus  " Roasted  Octopus , on vanilla flavored tomatoes and watermelon and peanuts" also " Pasta with flowers , fresh goat cream , raw cuttlefish and marinated tomato salad " ( Picture above)

JM: HOW DO YOU SEE THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN FOOD AND HEALTH?

AC: I believe that food  and heart are one whole thing. Food nourishes the heart, and the heart searches for food. One cannot exist without the other.

JM: YOU ARE NOW A TV STAR, HOW THIS ACHIEVEMENT INFLUENCED YOUR WORK AND WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED FROM THIS EXPERIENCE?i

AC: Television brought me a kind of un-expected popularity. I am followed by  Kids ,older women, and a young crowd . That is a great satisfaction indeed. As for the rest I continue to do my work with the same love and passion I always felt  trying to improve constantly  on expressing my philosophy in the best way my work allows me to.

JM. WHEN DID YOU RECEIVE YOUR FIRST MICHELIN STAR?

AC: … I was not expecting it, really. It has been a fantastic satisfaction that filled my heart with enormous joy

JM: FUTURE ASPIRATIONS?

AC: To continue growing at my work, expressing and letting the world  outside Italy  get acquainted  with  my cooking philosophy .

JM: ANY DREAMS?

AC: Dreams, I have a few …At the moment I only wish to be lucky enough to do what I most cherish and in the best way I can!

Joelle's Tips:

My Menu Degustation: A welcome entrée from Antonino Cannavacciuolo    / Red mullet, aubergine, smoked cheese broth    /  Pasta & fiori” filled with fresh goat’s cheese, cuttlefish salad, filtered tomato sauce  /A dive into the deep (raw and cooked Mediterranean fishes) Reviewed in 2013  /Beans Tagliatelle, garlic, oil, bottarga of tuna    /World of passion    / and a Taste of MaterVitae Chardonnay

2 stars Michelin italian restaurant Piemonte Italy Orta Lake | Villa Crespi by Antonino Cannavacciuolo

Reserve a Cooking Lesson at the Villa Crespi:Cooking lesson

Antonino Cannavacciuolo

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