Posted on by Wine & Food Society
By: Journalist Margaux A. Cintrano
Photo Copyright: Ristorante Don Alfonso 1890, Dеssert Photo – 4 by Claudio Mollo, Photographer
Chef Ernesto Iaccarino is the Executive Chef of the Ristorante Don Alfonso 1890 located in the enchanting village of Sant´Agata Sui Due Golfo on the Sorrentine Peninsula, and possessing breathtakingly stunning views of The Island of Capri. It is a legendary historic restaurant and Relais & Chateaux Hotel, Don Alfonso 1890.
Margaux: When did your passion to become a Chef begin?
Ernesto: I was born and raised on the Sorrentine Coast and at the age of eighteen, I relocated to Naples to attend university. My family has been in the restaurant and hospitality sector since 1890. I was taught by my grandfather and then my father, “first, how to eat, and then how to cook”.
Marguax: What were your first experiences in the kitchen ?
Ernesto: Since I was a child, my family had prepared me and taught me about the quality of the raw materials, ingredients and the basis of fine Italian regional cuisine. For example, the varying types of tomatoes. They told me, “ a tomato is not just a tomato. There are a wide variety of tomatoes,, and they are a profound ingredient of Italian Culture”. They also instilled within me, to know how to use which tomatoes in what dishes. In a fresh pasta for example, the Vesuviani Tomatoes are the best variety.
Margaux: A dish closest to your heart ?
Ernesto: Using fresh produce, I have been creating deceptively simply Mediterranean delicacies, since my childhood.
Margaux: What ingredients do you prefer to use ?
Ernesto: If I am making a tomato sauce or a Ragu, the best tomato to employ is the San Marzano. If I am creating a Caprese Salad, or a tomato salad, then the most tasty variety are the Cuore di Bue Tomato. I had learnt from the ground up about our lands and our raw materials. Our land is dotted with lemon groves, vineyards and olive trees.
Margaux: In what direction is Italian Cuisine heading ?
Ernesto: My most important gastronomic trip of 2013 was Japan. There, I had really seen how the Japanerse treat their ingredients and respect their food. Japan is a country where the quality of the products are very highly appreciated and honored. Furthermore, we respect the bio diversity worldwide and the exceptional ingredients of the Amazon and Peru, for example. We want to give these indigenious people the chance to farm and by providing them with employment and incomes, so they can maintain the agricultural product growth, or they shall be lost. Italy needs to adopt to this form of preserving the food culture.
Margaux: Do you have a tiny secret to share with us as a prominent Two Michelin Starred Chef ?
Ernesto: “Presentation is essential of course, however, we also believe the most important part of a dish is the taste”.
“It is the most memorable thing we have about a dish, its taste”. With this in mind, I create the unforgettable.
Food styling or dressage is absolutely quintessential but the quality of the ingredients we use is the most revelant aspect. The research is based on the highest quality available ingredients both local and foreign. Last year, I had travelled to Peru and Chile to research new ingredients to use at my restaurant. Margaux: Chef Ernesto, one dish which sums up Don Alfonso 1890 ?
Ernesto: At our Restaurant, we specialise in modern regional Italian cuisine, maintaining its identity, however, we want to respect our traditions, our roots, and our culture. The usage of organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil and the organic vegetables that come from our organic farm, which faces the Isle of Capri, are the key ingredients of our cooking. This is our way of eating.
Publisher Margaux Cintrano of Beyond Taste, Oltre il Gusto Magazine
Posted on by Wine & Food Society