The new Oldani, a change of pace

First day at D'O - new version: it’s like a Ferrari warming up. A video interview with the chef

15-06-2016

We’ve visited D'O on the first day of activity in the new location. We asked Davide Oldani a few questions. He replied in this interview you can view above. Here are some thoughts based on this...

You just go round the corner, yet it’s like taking a big leap ahead. It’s as though by jumping in a definite and local spatial dimension, stubbornly connected with a confined territory – that of San Pietro all’Olmo, a hamlet of Cornaredo. It is close to Milan yet it projects you much further from the metropolis than what the odometer indicates – the temporal dynamics were suddenly overturned. Davide Oldani made us accustomed to think in projects, ideas and their making, not only always looking ahead, but anticipating trends.

This is what happened with cucina pop, a registered brand defining that signature bistronomy that started from the outskirts of Milan and then rapidly spread a bit everywhere around the world, often without any acknowledgement of the Oldanian origins. It’s what happened with the choice of including design in cooking, with the creation of branded tasting tools. And so on.

The chef’s new move may refer to a limited distance – a few dozen metres from the old address – but it has enormous professional implications. It blows away the signs of time. It makes everything suddenly and clearly contemporary.

This updated and edited version of D’O in 14, Piazza della Chiesa it’s not only much larger (five times as big), more beautiful, welcoming and elegant than the previous one. It also represents a sort of “promise of growth” which can already be found in the food but will be more and more concrete in the next few months, let’s say as of September, after the summer holidays.

Put it simply: Oldani is ready for a change of category. Not that he wasn’t already famous, praised and established: congress organisers invite him, critics think highly of him. He is one of the big names in the Italian restaurant scene. And then (then?) there’s the people, who have been queuing all these years to find a table at D’O. That is to say the chef created the economic foundations for the next project, while very often fine dining lacks these sound foundations.

Battuta d'inizio [First hit] one of the chef’s new dishes: he’s still working on this, but it’s already splendid. It promises to become a signature dish. Goat ricotta mousse enclosed in a ball of cocoa butter and powdered saffron with a small field of sprouted teff and apple and pear chutney beside it

Battuta d'inizio [First hit] one of the chef’s new dishes: he’s still working on this, but it’s already splendid. It promises to become a signature dish. Goat ricotta mousse enclosed in a ball of cocoa butter and powdered saffron with a small field of sprouted teff and apple and pear chutney beside it

Yet in some way the slightly retro old place, the choice – in coherence with the pricing policy – of not being overly daring, even the attitude of the chef, who’s certainly not an immediate and impetuous communicator, have always limited his field of action. Lately one could almost feel a potential that was not fully expressed, or at least one that could have been expressed even better, in a more suitable situation.

Dama [draughts]: a chessboard with raisin sauce and caramelised apple chocolates

Dama [draughts]: a chessboard with raisin sauce and caramelised apple chocolates

Oldani is a real man from Lombardy. He’s one of those people connected with the community, faithful to the old values. There’s the parish church, in front of the D’O. Though this might just be a case, it could still offer an effective interpretation; there’s the house, the inspiration for the new setting; there’s the family, a consolidated staff represented by a group innerved with reciprocal trust. One can notice work ethics in him, the Weber-inspired desire to act which is a testimony not only of what is Good (after all we’re speaking of food) but of what is Kind as well. All this is interpreted with an identity value: life is built one brick at a time, with effort and sacrifice. And humility.

The chef humbly limited himself to an unsuitable, narrow and airless kitchen. He would push an old Fiat 500 to the maximum: it was cute, reassuring, yet limited. He’s now conquered a Ferrari: we already know he knows how to use it, so he’ll quickly roar by. There’s no doubt.


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