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Cracco’s dream: to compose a different menu every day

A young chef in the list of the 50 best restaurants in the World. The secrets of a contemporary cooking, springing from a sapient combination of flavours and contrasts

At 43 years of age, Carlo Cracco from Vicenza has an impressive record and his own distinctive talent. One-time apprentice of Gualtiero Marchesi with experience under Alain Ducasse, today he owns “Cracco”, a top restaurant in Milan. Since 2001, this culinary temple offers Milanese specialities interpreted with unique creativity and “intellectual and emotional” flair. Not to be missed the Russian salad with caramel or tagliatelle of marinaded egg yolk. Awarded the Michelin stars, since 2007 “Cracco” has been among the 50 best restaurants in the world.

The furnishings are elegant and comfortable, the walls adorned with warm cherry-wood boiserie. Restaurant capacity is about sixty; the small “table d’hôte” overlooks the kitchen, as into an acquarium.

Cracco’s cooking is traditional but contemporary, springing from a sapient combination of flavours and contrasts. Cracco himself is a synthesis of this: face, hands and voice are a portrait of modesty, plasticity and sobriety; his dishes are original and elegant.

- His cooking?
“My dishes are recognizable. They are traditional recipes reinterpreted in a modern key. From Gualtiero Marchesi I acquired a taste for simplicity; by simplicity I mean essentiality and lightness of the final result. However, my dishes are my own.”

- A reason to be proud?
“I began creative research years ago, starting with eggs. At the time nobody was interested in eggs. Before, egg recipes betrayed the influence of late 19th century French cooking. Apart from the dishes I have created, I find it very satisfying to have been a pioneer in this field.”

- Plans to open a restaurant abroad?
“No, it is difficult because the products you work with are different from what you find in Italy. I would like to open a place halfway between and café and a bar, where people could eat something light quickly.”

- Extravirgin olive oil?
“It’s a great product but you really have to know what to do with it. It has the same value for us as butter has for the French. The great variety of oils means you have to know what to choose. Certain months of the year, we taste many oils. We only use oil from Italian regions and areas such as Sicily, Tuscany, Garda and Liguria. Oil is never the same from year to year, but depends on the oil season. Of course, if oil was identical from year to year, it would be terrifying.”

- Wine?
“My wine list has 2000 labels. My personal list has only seven or eight, from Italy and other countries.”

- Italian cooking abroad?
“Italian cooking in hotels is regarded as “easy”. In general, Italian cooking abroad is limited by the absence of suppliers of quality Italian products. For example, there are at most two or three large oil producers and the oil is hardly ever single variety …”

- Plans for 2009?
“If I succeed before the end of the year… we can talk then.”

- A dream?
“To compose a different menu every day, using excellent ingredients offered daily by our suppliers.”

- His Russian salad “revisited”?
“Imagine: the crunchiness of a disc of slightly sweet caramel and the melting quality of mayonaise and delicate, tasty vegetables.”

Yes indeed, we can imagine! Buon appetito!


COOKING RECIPE
Burnt cuttlefish cream with oil and murex: http://teatronaturale.com/article/195.html


Ristorante “Cracco”
Via Victor Hugo 4
Milan
Tel. +39.02.876774
info@ristorantecracco.it

by Monica Sommacampagna
02 march 2009, Food & Fun > Gastronomy

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