Tag: Kitchen

The secret of the Lido 84? It's the vision, not the kitchen – Italian Cuisine

The secret of the Lido 84? It's the vision, not the kitchen

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.

Non-separated roles

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 ".

From Japs! the Shojin Ryori kitchen by Mari Fujii – Italian Cuisine

From Japs! the Shojin Ryori kitchen by Mari Fujii

There is no doubt: Japanese cuisine has fascinated us for centuries. So far from our culture, it is a kitchen sometimes not very understandable if not told

We got to meet the chef Mari Fujii in Turin, a few days ago, for an event dedicated to cooking Shojin Ryori, the cuisine of Buddhist monks, organized by Japs! Japanese food and Akane Douchi, cook and consultant in Italy for over 15 years now, who deals with cooking classes and recipe making in Modena.

Japanese cuisine is in itself a cuisine considered essential, as many visual arts are essential, including ikebana, bonsai or origami, to name a few.

Shojin Ryori is considered by most to be the quintessence of essentiality, the cuisine of devotion, the cuisine of Buddhist monks, a cure rather than nourishment, care for the body and the soul.
Shojin Ryori is the vegan cuisine of Japanese temples, and was born in the sixth century and then became very popular starting from the thirteenth century, with the ascetic Zen practices: it is based on the concept of nourishing the soul by removing obscure passions.
In Shojin Ryori it is not allowed to use spices and herbs such as garlic, shallots, onion, chives or spring onions, considered foods that awaken sexual appetites. It does not involve the use and consumption of any animal protein, but replaces them with vegetables, vegetables and legumes in large quantities and it seems that, thanks to this philosophy of life and prayer, the profession of Buddhist monk is one of the longest-lived in the world .

Shojin also means avoiding food waste, and the Tenzo, the monk appointed to the kitchen of the monastery, must take care of knowing how to better manage the supplies, minimizing waste and using almost everything that in theory should be considered a waste: the skins of well-washed vegetables, used to prepare funds and vegetable broths , dried to be reduced to powder and preserved to flavor dishes.
Each gesture is designed and built with full respect for nature and its gifts.

The Shojin Ryori kitchen is seasonal: it uses only the best that nature offers in the season suitable for each fruit, to fully enjoy the organoleptic qualities, without using any chemical additives or unnatural seasoning. The only concession is the use of tofu and all soy derivatives.

The menu designed by Mari Fujii for the two dinners held by Japs! is a real sensory journey and unusual flavors, to discover the Shijin Ryori kitchen, divided into five categories: Umami, the Quinto gusto, with miso and tofu, The vegetable world with Le Vinaigrette, summer vegetables and miso vinaigrette a salad of legumes and hazelnut vinaigrette, The taste of the sea, The Algae, with soybean spice, nori seaweed and vegetables in eastern carpione, Flavors of the mountain and the forest (I Funghi) Udea mushrooms, from the prefecture of Agano with rice and a miso soup with dashi mushroom broth and to close A sweet note with La Frutta, Dengaku of fig and lemon peel (with miso bianco), miso sauce that is traditionally used to season grilled aubergines, here paired with figs , for a taste explosion in the mouth. The almond and cherry milk jelly closes the dinner.

We chatted with the chef Mari Fujii, a brief interview to understand a little more about her vision of the Shojin Ryori philosophy.

Is the Shojin Ryori kitchen the secret to a long life?
"One of the historical archives of the monks (but we do not know which one it refers to, ed) says that eating little and above all vegetables helps to stay in shape and last much longer".

Was she already inspired by a vegan / Buddhist diet before she met her husband?
«My husband gave me the opportunity to learn about the kitchen Shojin Ryori being a Tenzo monk in a Zen monastery. I became passionate about this world, this spiritual practice and I made it my own over the years and now I teach it to those who want to approach the Shojin Ryori cuisine .

What is your favorite ingredient?
«I really love vegetables, all of them are eggplant and Daikon, due to its great versatility in the kitchen, as nothing is thrown away, I use every single part: from salad leaves, skins to make broths and root, cooked or raw, is really delicious .

What would you recommend to anyone wishing to start this journey, approaching the Shojin Ryori kitchen?
"I recommend learning from the basics, studying all the broths, from those prepared with Kombu seaweed to dried mushrooms, because broths are the base, the most important of all dishes."

In Italy the food trend is moving towards a more vegetal, vegan cuisine, a sign of changing times. Buddhist cuisine in Japan to what extent has it arrived? Do young people like this kind of food philosophy?
«Around the world there has been the fashion of macrobiotic cuisine, not only in Japan. Then the interest has shifted, over the years, to the Shojin Ryori kitchen which is much older than the macrobiotic one. The people who attend my courses come to learn this cuisine, the SR philosophy and Zen Buddhism, that many do not know, also because they started eating at a young age with junk food and are 35/40 years old with enough food problems important. Today's young people love meditation, mindfulness, having time to dedicate to their health, to the body, but also to the spirit. The most important thing is to apply the rules of the Shojin Ryori kitchen, and for them it seems to be the right solution ".

How to use chamomile in the kitchen – Italian Cuisine

How to use chamomile in the kitchen

All the illnesses go by with a hot cup of chamomile, the grandmothers said. But do you know that chamomile is also a very versatile ingredient in the kitchen?

There are many species of chamomile even if the most used are the Matricaria chamomilla (or Matricaria recutita) also known as "German chamomile" and la Anthemis nobilis (or Chamaemelum nobile) also called "Roman chamomile".
Matricaria chamomilla has been known since ancient times and the ancient Egyptians already used it extensively.
In the past the flowers of this plant were used as tobacco.

Curiosity about chamomile

The word chamomile derives from the Greek word khamaimelon, which means small apple because in fact this flower recalls the scent of this fruit and also in Spanish, chamomile is called manzanilla that is "little apple".
Chamomile is an annual herbaceous plant that can be found a little everywhere in uncultivated land, in dry and stony areas up to 500 of altitude, and has an erect stem that reaches a height of 50 cm.
It is not easy to recognize chamomile because it is often confused with other similar small flowers. We can say that three are its structural characteristics: the flower petals at the end of the flowering are turned downwards, the floral receptacle is conical and hollow inside and the leaves are engraved

How to preserve chamomile

The flowers must be picked at the beginning of flowering, when the heads are not yet well hatched and white in color.
If the product is destined for distillation to obtain essential oils, it is used fresh or as soon as it is wilted and the whole plant is generally picked (leaves, stem, flowers).
The flowers must be dried quickly in a dry, dark and ventilated place to avoid the formation of mold and the blackening of the plant with consequent loss of its characteristics.
They are kept in glass containers protected from light for a year and no more because then they lose their fragrance.

How to use chamomile in the kitchen

With chamomile flowers infusions are used that are notoriously used for their mild sedative virtues. The plant has no active hypno-inducing ingredients, but antispasmodic properties, such as lemon balm, ie it produces muscle relaxation thanks to the presence in its phytocomplex of flavonoids (eupatuletin, quercimetrin) and coumarins.
Chamomile is used in the kitchen to prepare excellent infusions with a calming effect. With the Matricaria a sweeter and more delicate taste is obtained, while the Anthemis nobilis remains more bitter.
With chamomile you can flavor jams, candies and ice creams as well as liqueurs, such as vermouth and you can prepare some very tasty recipes such as risottos, fish salads, soft cakes for breakfast, sweet creams and biscuits.
Furthermore the fresh flowers are the perfect decoration for many dishes both sweet and savory because they are small and very elegant in their simplicity.

Camomile dressing

2 tablespoons of fresh chamomile flowers
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
half a squeezed lime
1 tablespoon of honey
salt and pepper

Quickly mix all the ingredients, creating an emulsion to dress salads or fish carpaccio.

The recipes with chamomile tried in the editorial staff of La Cucina Italiana

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