Chef Paolo Croce was born in Mazara del Vallo, province of Trapani, Sicily, and moved to Milan in 1989. After work experiences in France and Austria he returned to Italy first to Mantova and then as a cook with Starwood in Rome, Sardinia and back to Milan. He has never forgotten his gastronomic roots and often proposes dishes from Sicilian tradition, all with a modern touch. Neverthelss, residing in his adopted home for all these years has led to him being recognized as an expert of classic Lombardia cuisine.
1 When did your passion to be a Chef begin?
The passion was born one day while at home. Before heading to primary school I asked my mother what she had prepared for my school snack. She was actually not feeling well and asked me to do something for myself. So I took 2 milk biscuits, the type with a whole in the middle, and stuck them together with Nutella. From then, I prepared snacks myself more and more. As soon as I entered secondary school I knew what I wanted to be.
2 What were your first experiences in the kitchen?
The first two were at 16 years of age. One was here in Milano at ‘Giannino’. Together with Restaurant Savini, it was the 'top'. The other was during the Summer break in Paris at ‘Bice’, a chain of Italian restaurants found all over the world. My parents didn't want me to go as I was too young to venture abroad, but I convinced them by telling them I was no longer carrying on with school.
3 A dish closest to your heart?
Polenta & usei ... only joking! I would say ‘Busiati alla Norma’, a type of pasta made by hand with knitting needles.
4 What ingredients do you prefer to use?
Fish for first courses and vegetables during the autumn and winter period.
5 In what direction is Italian cuisine heading
Cooking today is considered a creative process and has improved considerably with respect to the so called 'creative cuisine' of a few years ago. I believe the appreciation of local products and to the realization the importance of eating well for health reasons has led us to talk more about food as part of our general welfare. Not only today, but also for the future.
6 Share with us a secret of the Chef?
I couldn't possibly say!
7 One dish which sums up the territory?
Risotto alla Milanese with ossobuco di vitello (braised veal shank) in a gremolata sauce
The restaurant is located in the Sheraton Diana Majestic Hotel and is open every day from 10.30 am to 01.00 am. Seasonal closure in August.
Sheraton Diana Majestic
Viale Piave 42, 20129 Milano
Tel. +39 02 20582004