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GENNARO ESPOSITO



Author Christian Dori | Date 28/09/2019

 

Hi Gennaro, it’s a great honour to have you in our magazine.

What do you remember most about your beginnings in the culinary world?
It's always necessary to contextualize the historical moment. My generation began to work collecting on the one hand what learnt at school, whose references were all French and depicted a very pompous cuisine, while on the other it saw the real world and discovered a kitchen in which mayonnaise and ketchup were mixed. In short, our cuisine had no identity: farfalle pasta with salmon, shrimp cocktail, and champagne risotto reigned supreme. In practice, we worked with the dream of seeing where we could actually see the kitchen we were looking for.

What has been your career path since then?
I have sought and partly found my inspiration in some cuisine meccas, then I started to express myself without repeating other people's models. I started telling my point of view through Torre del Saracino, where I recalled experiences, traditions, family and I summarized my vision there. I was born in obscurantism and got involved in the Renaissance of the Italian cuisine, a real fortune.

When do you think it was the real turning point in your career?
I still have a lot to do, I don't think I've had a definitive turning point in my career. Of course, it has helped me a lot to be able to tell the historic transition I have witnessed. I went from being a performer of other people's ideas to being an interpreter of the contemporary world.

What does it mean to you to be a chef?
Being able to tell my point of view, being a reference for young people, an ambassador for my territory that I can also tell through TV or thanks to my editorial content on Brother in Food.

How would you define the style of your dishes?
A clean style in which the making itself is behind the plate, never ahead. Where technique is always and only designed for flavour creation and never wants to be the star of the dish, while the raw material, authenticity and originality of the product are always the main aspect of it.

What did you feel when you received your first Michelin star?
Considering that was the year 2000, when the food revolution was just beginning, I felt that someone had noticed the sacrifices I was making at that moment along with my group and the people who were always close to me.

Tell us about your restaurant in Vico Equense, La Torre del Saracino... what is your philosophy?
La Torre used to be a defence outpost of the territory, which blocked invasions and enemy attacks. Today we do the same but in a culinary way: we bring out local products through a straightforward, uncompromising, authentic kitchen. It’s the place where I was born and I know everything about this Marina: the sea, the seabed, the reefs. It's a place that I feel is mine.

Let's move to Ibiza, where you opened IT Ibiza restaurant 4 years ago. Why did you choose this location and what kind of gastronomic experience does it offer?
Ibiza was a very pleasant challenge. When we opened, the Adrià brothers did that too, and this marked a change in the desire to raise the quality of catering on the island. We tried to build a cheerful, quality place, in which my cuisine would embrace well the local product and also get excellent raw materials from Italy. There is still much to do, but we’ve soon become a reference point on the island thanks to chef Massimo La Rosa and pizza chef Alfonso Russo.

And after Ibiza, IT restaurant opens its doors also in Milan and London (coming soon)...
The experience continues with enthusiasm and curiosity: in Milan we have kept our careful, respectful and in some ways fearful approach towards these new realities. In Milan there was obviously no shortage of excellent restaurants, so we formed an important group with resident chef Aldo Ritrovato and with Adriano Rausa. In pastry-making, we have Francesco De Padova. They’re all very good guys coming from Torre del Saracino school. Our pizza, a formidable attractor for all restaurants, has been “imported” from Ibiza. IT Milano is a place with a very nice design, thanks to the architect Falconio. Brera is a central and historic location; in short, it is a place suited to the level of what today Milan represents for Italy and for Europe.

Tell us about your TV collaborations... what is the part that most amuses you or stimulates you when you work on a TV program?
Cuochi di Italia has now reached its eleventh edition. It tells the Italian cuisine through some regional ambassadors: it has a respectful and curious key towards territoriality. The chefs who challenge each other tell about their dish and therefore their knowledge, then there is the judgment that is never presumptuous but the result of a constructive confrontation aimed at ensuring that those watching from home can learn something.

What are your next projects?
IT London is a very ambitious project, but there are so many things boiling in the pot and surprises coming up.

And to conclude, our ritual question, are you Night or Day?
I have always been "Night". For me the night has always had something intimate with oneself and with the world.

 



Photo credit: Giuseppe Corsini

 

Torre del Saracino
Via Torretta 9 - 80069 Vico Equense (Na)
Tel. +39 0818028555

 


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