There is talk all over the world of the Camanini brothers' restaurant that has climbed the charts in less than five years. But the real reason for success has not yet been understood: an Italian story, unique and complicated, which goes far beyond dishes
Talk about Lido 84, the Camanini brothers' restaurant in Gardone Riviera it is very easy: beautiful for position and environment, it boasts a kitchen among the best in Italy (for critics and gourmets) and records a full constant of public, even in winter, when the Garda is practically closed. A place firmly at the top of Italian guides: one Michelin star (everyone is convinced that the second arrives in November), five Cappelli dell'Espresso (the only one to boast that it doesn't have three Stars) and Tre Forchette for Gambero Rosso. Not enough, in February he was honored at The World Restaurant Award in Paris for the signature dish of the year (the famous Cacio e Pepe in bladder) and looks forward to receiving in Singapore Honey One To Watch, recognition that the famous company assigns in the context of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants: a sort of pass to see it (probably) in the highly coveted ranking in a year. One has to lose one's head and partly one's sleep.
The Camanini method
But this is the point of arrival, the final result of a unique system in our country that has transformed a valid local restaurant in a real laboratory of ideas, bringing boys from all over Italy to Garda West. Apart from two foreigners "adopted" for some time, there are no Brescians in brigades, but on the other hand in the halls resonate accents of Puglia, Liguria, Sardinia, Mantua, Bergamo and so on. Everyone in Gardone Riviera to see if the Camanini method functions as they have heard or read. And if the Lido 84 is the middle ground between a convent (serene) and a social center (anything but anarchic) that we first defined. Where is the law? total interchangeability in the kitchen and obsessive attention to savings. Riccardo, in particular, is a very careful controller: from the lights in the bathrooms to the use of detergents and the expense for the raw material even if in the last case he is happy with the results achieved. "The boys weigh everything and have a beastly ability to calculate the food cost of the dishes, including VAT", emphasizes the chef from Lovere.
An assorted brigade
"When Giancarlo and I opened in the spring of 2014, we only had six employees," recalls Riccardo, "now they are twenty-two, all hired on a permanent basis, with their own holidays, permits and contributions. Obviously with food and lodging at our expense. It is truly the result that makes us most proud, given that we started with the goal to be completely sustainable without external help, which made everything slower and more difficult. I do not forget that he and I did not earn a salary for two seasons . The brigade is made up of veterans of the first hour, an important nucleus that comes from Alma (the highly rated Parmia cooking school, ed.) And from boys chosen according to the curriculum. "150 arrive a year, 95 percent concerns the kitchen. A precise choice for our project that has paid and continues to pay, for example a sous chef, Gilles Fornoni, started from scratch, "he explains Giancarlo Camanini, fundamental in the development of Lido 84. When Riccardo was the soul of Villa Fiordaliso, he was the manager at the Fondital of Vobarno: he became so good at managing the hall (and not only) that in 2017 he was awarded by Gambero Rosso as number one in Italy.
Already the hall: a tourbillon of boys, a "kaos" in the original sense of the word because the disorder is only apparent, the cooks at the tables that change with each dish follow a specific order. On the pass there is Riccardo who dictates the times and controls the work in the kitchen, in the Giancarlo room that looks at everything, communicates the situation and in the case solves the (small) problem of the tarantiniano Mr. Wolf. And there are many peculiarities. «In January, with Riccardo we establish a dozen projects, at the reopening they introduce themselves to the brigade and try to bring them to the end. They can be on new dishes or on a card of herbal teas. But also on the savings in this or that sector: the important one it is assigning tasks beyond the normal routine. Every day we do a couple of briefings, very executive and on Saturday for an hour each one reads a book chosen by us ", explains Giancarlo, the man who arranged about 300 recipes in a database from the day of opening. Like it Spaghettone with butter and brewer's yeast that bewitched Ducasse and is part of the menu of the restaurant inside the MoMa in San Francisco, the one that replicates the most famous dishes of the top international chefs.
Research and tradition
If the menu path Classic already gives considerable emotions, that of Oscillations – seven courses freehand, you can see some of them in our gallery realized in May – it's incredible as it is the result of the inspiration of the moment, of the research on a product that hit Camanini (now it's the turn of tomato concentrate), of a technique introduced by curiosity and not as an exercise in style. The last is the smoking with the Josper that puts dishes that taste like scorched on the table, including bread and vegetable ones. Pasta is the magnificent obsession, today served – with explanation on paper – after cooking for 84 hours and 11 minutes, with a process of crystallization of the starches that makes it nutty, perfectly al dente and very digestible. And in all this "mess of ideas" – visible in a crazy card where you go from imperial purple shrimps, bitters, oranges and marigold to the press, according to the Apicius recipe – you have not forgotten the tradition and territory. The Torta di Rose with the zabione al Vov is easily the best in Italian catering; the spit of sardines – lacquered with bergamot honey and helichrysum – recalls absolute brescianità replacing the little birds forbidden with freshwater fish; the pike del Garda is cooked au bleu and seasoned with almonds, parsley, capers and lemon
The Marquis example
Last peculiarity: the Lido 84 is one of the restaurants most talked about in the world among cooks. Impossible not to see at least one sitting at each service. «Friends and curious, want to understand how we do to hold the tasting at 80 and 90 euros respectively for the Classic and Oscillations. It is that we are sustainable, we have always done business with our money, a small step at a time . And, without rhetoric, it is a place where you can breathe passion and ethics. «Because, if I am correct with my employees, the possibility of them doing the same with me becomes high. And then if on the one hand I demand a lot from them, on the other I am always here: I open the restaurant at dawn preparing the bread and cleaning the fish. Activities that relax me so much and make you think. Then remember what Marchesi said? The highest form of teaching is the example: the Master was right in this too ".