The cuisine of Chef Antonino Cannavacciuolo is a combination of the traditions of both South and North Italy. His has not only been a gastronomic journey, but also a personal one having left his native Vico Equense along the Sorrento coast to move to Lake Maggiore with his wife, Cinzia, a native of Orta. To cite a well known phrase of Cannavacciuolo: “While visiting the lake, the Mediterranean fell in love and bore the Alps the gift of its rich flavours”. He has worked in the 'Auberge Dell’Ile' in Illerausen, the 'Buerehiesel' in Strasbourg and the Grand Hotel Quisisana under Gualtiero Marchesi on Capri. As well as managing Hotel Villa Crespi with Cinzia, he heads the hotel restaurant which was awarded two Michelin stars in 2006.
1 When did your passion to be a Chef begin?
I grew up in a family where cooking and food related to traditions were undisputed protagonists of celebratory get-togethers and enjoyable meals between friends and family. I think cooking is a like a bag I always carry with me and which over the years has become so full that it is now an expression of all my dishes. My father was a cook and teacher in a hotel school. This also meant that I grew up with a certain understanding of a profession from which I am still constantly learning. It has been perfect for my spirit, that of being always on the move.
2 What were your first experiences in the kitchen?
I started with an internship during my school years and from there it was a series of experiences all with the aim of growing professionally.
3 A dish closest to your heart?
Many dishes represent me. My cooking philosophy seeks to represent the best tradition have us by creating dishes which both remind us of the past but not ignoring the present. It is a constant search for textures and tastes which give emotions. I enjoy playing with the raw materials, selecting those of a better quality and working with them so they express to the maximum their 'beauty'.
4 What ingredients do you prefer to use?
I cannot do without extra virgin olive oil. I could just not see myself without it.
5 In what direction is Italian cuisine heading
It is going towards an awareness of the immense value that cooking represents for all of us. Italian culinary tradition boasts products and secrets which are able to be both distinctive and a unique trait for our country in the world. We wouldn't be what we are without our gastronomic traditions.
6 Share with us a secret of the Chef?
Forward with passion.
7 One dish which sums up the territory?
What amuses me most is to harness the raw materials of each territory and enhance their positive features. If I think of Campania, my region of origin, I believe the dishes which best represents are 'parmigiana di melanzane', the signature dish of my mother, and 'peppered mussels' or 'L’impepata di cozze'. They both remind me of those adolescent evenings by the sea with friends when we were never without a bellyful of fresh fish whch the sea would treat us to.
Villa Crespi is located right on the shores of Lake Orta. It is just a 45 minutes drive from Milan’s Malpensa airport or an hour from downtown Milan and 90 minutes from Turin’s city centre.
Hotel Villa Crespi
Via G.Fava 18, 28106 Orta San Giulio (Novarai)
Tel. +39 0322 911902
CookinItalia is located in La Vignola, a country style hotel set in its own park by the River Liri a...
This day trip to the Sassi of Matera in Basilicata really is a full day, as it combines two nights i...
If you are interested in learning about the traditions and culture of Sicily, then understanding the...