S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2016 - Italy semifinal winner - Alessandro Rapisarda.jpg

Alessandro Rapisarda: “My cooking philosophy: to create an experience artistic and with human depth”

The young chef representing Italy talks to us in this interview exclusive ahead of the Grand Finale.

Alessandro Rapisarda was named the best young chef in Italy region during the S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2016 regional heat and he will now put his passion for cooking to the test at the Grand Finale in Milan under the guidance of mentor chef Davide Oldani.

We spoke to him about his preparations on how he turned a passion into a profession.

My dish is unique because…
My dish is unique because there is a close link between purity, elegance, tradition and escape... all elements that represent me as a person.

What are the main influences in your signature dish?
Definitely where I come from, my land... and the smell of the sea engraved in my head. And then my last strong experience by Mr. Crippa where I realized the cohesion between the beautiful and the good.

How are you collaborating with your S.Pellegrino Young Chef mentor in order to perfect your dish for the final?
We often speak on the phone, he gave me lots of advice... in September we will meet a couple of times in his restaurant to plan and shape the plate for the final.

What led you to choosing a career in the kitchen?
It Is a passion that I have has since childhood, for example, I always loved making pasta by hand... I like to eat well and I never get tired of doing my job.

Who has been a mentor to you throughout your career?
In my opinion Oldani is a master, not only in cooking, but also in his lifestyle. In my career I have always seen a chef as someone who, in addition to food, looks for balance in everything.

What are your professional ambitions?
My biggest ambition is to open my own restaurant, where, following my cooking philosophy, I will try to excite the customer, creating an experience which is not only culinary, but artistic and with human depth.

What’s the best dish you ever tasted? Where did you eat it and who cooked it?
Until now there are 2 first: 'scallops, sea urchins and pecorino' at Piazza Duono by Enrico Crippa, and 'salmon and raw rabbit with brown butter and almonds' at Del Cambio by Matthew Baronet.

What is the most exciting/challenging element of the S.Pellegrino Young Chef competition for you?
To present my dish to the seven sages and stand infront of them, I can’t think of anything more exhilarating, but I'm sure that will go well.

What will you do if you win the competition?
Unfortunately I can’t tell you about it…

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