He shows less than his years and does motocross with a bit of unconsciousness, but when he enters the kitchen Emanuele Donalisio appropriates its 33 springs and a wisdom you would not expect. His curriculum, however, explains everything: from Turin, he started working with the "big" at 16 when, still a student at the hotel management Pinerolo, was chosen as a collaborator by the Maison Flipot steakhouse, and then moved, by newly-appointed, to Michel Roux, in London. Leave the stars, set sail on cruise ships, continuing to develop essential experiences.
"On board, get acquainted with all the kitchens and ingredients in the world: from the Baltic to the Caribbean," he assures. But it's just a coincidence, he says, if five years later, he found himself managing a restaurant in Ventimiglia, right there, in a city that acts as a link between his Piedmont and the sea in which he sailed, between Italy and the France of haute cuisine, among the Mediterranean products and the exotic cultivations in which the province is specialized. "My greengrocer is fundamental: I owe him the nasturtium that I brought you," he says as he answers incoming calls from various market stalls. "Ventimiglia means red prawns, much fish, but also mangoes, avocados and papayas better than in the countries of origin".
And the meat? "I am Piedmontese, I love cooking it, but I also pair it with fish, a bit like in the American Surf & Turf kitchen". From the medallion of beef with lobster, to the mullet with fois gras, to the tongue with the prawns, originality marries quality. "Based on the availability of the day, I invent new dishes, just give me carte blanche!"
Having joined the Jre family in 2016, at the first attempt, Emanuele Donalisio is under the lens of the prestigious Michelin who awarded him a plate and two forks. He also spoke about him New York Times, thanks to the unexpected visit of Pulitzer prize journalist Eric Lipton.
As a member of the JREs he was chosen for two consecutive years as a chef for the Vinitaly welcome lunch. For the occasion, he delighted guests with a soup of baby octopus in Rossese di Dolceacqua, infusion of pepper and crispy polenta.
The garden of taste, in Ventimiglia (Piazza XX Settembre 6, tel. 0184 355244), is open for lunch and dinner from Wednesday to Sunday. Emanuele Donalisio offers three tasting menus to customers who are there (only 18): Signature Jre, dedicated to the association and more sophisticated; The neighbor's vegetable garden, all vegetarian, with the many excellences of the imperiese and LiberaMente, the largest, with 12 courses suggested by the market and the chef's imagination.
Fish, nasturtium and melon sashimi
for 6 people
a bream of about 1.2 kg – 50 g of untreated nasturtium flowers – nasturtium seeds – 100 g of untreated nasturtium leaves – 1 netted melon – 1 lemon – 1 lime – 100 ml Curaçao – 100 g of sugar muscovado – 50 ml of dressing with sweet-and-sour Trebbiano vinegar – xanthan – extra virgin olive oil – Maldon salt – pepper
Prepare the fishand Cut 4 fillets from the fish and cut them so as to obtain a total of 12 rectangular pieces, remove them from any thorns, trim them and season them with oil, lemon and lime, then place them in the fridge covered.
Melon and sauces prepared Cut the melon, remove the seeds and, using a digger, remove 20-25 balls. Sprinkle with Curaçao and leave to marinate. Collect the melon pulp left in the mixer, add half of the nasturtium leaves and flower petals. Operate the appliance until a homogeneous sauce is obtained, add a pinch of salt and a tip of xanthan if it is necessary to thicken, a tablespoon of water if it is necessary to lengthen it; put aside. Prepare another sauce by blending the remaining leaves and petals (except for a few leaves and flower for garnish), a pinch of salt, a drizzle of oil, a tablespoon of muscovado sugar and half a tablespoon of sweet and sour Trebbiano vinegar.
Complete the dish Take back the portions of sea bream and make many vertical incisions at a distance of about 3 mm from one another without ever reaching the bottom. Arrange them on a steel tray and, with the aid of a torch, gently flame the surface. Place two portions of sea bream on each plate and grate on each 1 or 2 fresh nasturtium seeds.
Sprinkle the nasturtium leaves kept aside with the remaining bitter-sweet Trebbiano vinegar dressing, add salt and place them around the fish. Complete with the flowers, the melon balls, drained, and the two sauces.
THE VARNISHING Place the fish on the cutting board with the tail towards you and the abdomen down; cut the back deeply along the bone and remove the fillet. Put it on the cutting board, penetrate between the skin and the pulp with the knife and separate them.
by Daniela Falsitta,
photo by Michele Tabozzi
video by Diego Stadiotti
on Sale & Pepe in July 2019