Mercoledì, 26 Giugno 2019
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Dal Pescatore's Nadia Santini world's best female chef


By Kate Carlisle
Rome, April 4 - An Italian woman, Nadia Santini,
has been named the world's best female chef by the World's Fifty
Best Restaurants listing published by the foodies bible,
Restaurant magazine.
Santini, and her gourmand's retreat Dal Pescatore however,
are no newcomers to recognition.
Already in 2008, Nadia Santini placed 23 on Restaurant's
She entered the annals of the country's culinary history in
1996 when she became the first Italian woman to receive three
Michelin stars for her restaurant in Runate, northern Italy -
the family-owned eatery known for a mix of traditional Italian
cooking and modern influences.
It was there tucked in a picturesque corner of the Oglio
Sud nature reserve on a country road in a village of
approximately 38 souls that she learned her craft from her
husband's grandmother Teresa and his mother Bruna.
Broad-smiled mother-in-law Bruna, said Nadia speaking to a
group of journalists in 2011, is unstoppable and moves with such
rapidity that one has to watch her to understand her magic.
"There's just no explaining some of the techniques she
uses," said her daughter-in-law Nadia.
"She cooks with her hands, eyes and instinct - something
that she passed on to us".
That instinct, and an ever-growing fan base fed by it, have
continued to propel the legendary restaurant into 'must-go'
lists, reviews and guides.
Seemingly in the middle of nowhere in the northern Italian
hinterland between Cremona and Mantua, Dal Pescatore feels more
like a visit somebody's elegant country home, with table spacing
and lighting creating a perfect harmony of intimacy without
It has an almost 100-year history and continues to be
operated by the third and fourth generation of the Santini
family near the village of Canneto.
Until recently Dal Pescatore was the sole holder of the
Michelin Three Star rating in all of Italy, which it earned in
The fairytale settings of Dal Pescatore have an equally
romantic story to accompany them.
"In 1925, our grandfather acquired a fisherman's hut built
of rushes and a few bricks on the shore of a small lake that now
lies within the Dell'Oglio park," Antonio Santini says while
serving a group of journalists enjoying his restaurant's
rigorously authentic Italian cuisine.
"In 1926, he married Teresa and together they began their
great adventure. Grandpa set out each morning, returning with
fish that grandma would cook, along with some other traditional
local recipes. In 1927 my father Giovanni was born and even as a
small boy he pitched in to help his parents' small country
tavern by selling fish".
"In 1952 Giovanni married Bruna", Antonio continues as he
pours a local Lugana DOC wine as an aperitif.
Bruna took her place beside Teresa in the kitchen and as
years passed white tablecloths and napkins appeared on the
tables and the original name of the tavern - Vino e Pesce or
Wine and Fish - was changed to Dal Pescatore in 1960.
In 1974, it was Antonio's time to tie the knot. He married
Nadia and after a honeymoon in France, they came back to Bruna
and Teresa's kitchen and integrated their philosophy.
"Our cuisine respects tradition, the heart and life of our
land, but it also blends in unobtrusive innovation," Antonio
says, who joins in to make fresh pasta every morning.
A case in point is their signature dish, pumpkin
tortellini, served with less butter and parmiggiano than the
traditional version so that the pure straightforward flavor of
each ingredient comes through.
With fish from the Adriatic and Mediterranean Seas, along
with fresh water pickings it is no wonder the Santini's create a
fabulous fish cuisine, like their Risotto of Catfish Filet and
River Eel.
In a 2012 interview, Gordon Ramsay told ANSA about his
experience working with Bruna at Dal Pescatore.
"I think I learned my real appreciation for Italian
cuisine watching the Santini family and how meticulous they were
in choosing produce, balancing flavors and the flair with which
they presented dishes. My learning curve as a chef took a huge
upturn when I apprenticed at Dal Pescatore,' he says.
Every dish at Dal Pescatore is prepared with the finest
and freshest ingredients of the day, and hence the menu changes
with the seasons as well as with the availability of the
freshest produce of that moment.

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