Yannick Alléno and the love for pasta

The French chef worth 6 Michelin stars and his tribute to Italy, in two dishes dedicated to our emblematic ingredient

24-03-2018
At Identità Milano, French cuisine superstar Yannick Alléno participated in Identità di Pasta, in collaboration with Pastificio Felicetti. He also held a lesson in the Auditorium, and on this occasion too, he presented a pasta-based dish

At Identità Milano, French cuisine superstar Yannick Alléno participated in Identità di Pasta, in collaboration with Pastificio Felicetti. He also held a lesson in the Auditorium, and on this occasion too, he presented a pasta-based dish

The sense of Yannick Alléno for pasta is the tribute of a French "Monsieur", with a capital M, to Italian gastronomic culture. It’s not that often that a prestigious French chef puts himself at the service of pasta, the way Alléno did twice in the latest edition of Identità Milano.

«Italy and France are two neighbouring countries and they should join forces because they have many things in common worth sharing», said the chef with three stars at Pavillion Ledoyen in Paris and three at Cheval Blanc in Courchevel.

Yannick Alléno and Riccardo Felicetti

Yannick Alléno and Riccardo Felicetti

So cooking pasta – first a timbale of spaghetti with a typically "Français" filling of morels, fat liver and black truffle, and then spaghetti thickened with the egg yolk recuperated from an egg marinated in white wine vinegar for 4 days – is no sin for Alléno. A guy whose idol, as a child, was Paul Bocuse, and today, at 49, travels around with his 6 Michelin stars, his elegant posture and the aura of a "maestro".

«I was lucky enough to have 32 chefs in my kitchen who are now starred», he points out with pride. Indeed Alléno is not just the chef who through research revolutionised and updated the concept of “sauce” in French gastronomy. He’s also the kind of chef who’s not afraid to say: «There’s plenty of cooks who are much better than me».

Alléno with Eleonora Cozzella, who presented Identità di Pasta

Alléno with Eleonora Cozzella, who presented Identità di Pasta

His concept of brigade, therefore, comes as no surprise. «Having a good equipe, making them always feel that the chef is present, is essential so as to have a team that works in full harmony with the chef. In managing the brigade, you should never be hard, but demanding. The limit, however, is to be respectful».

It is no coincidence that his chef adjoint at Pavillion Ledoyen is Martino Ruggieri, who’ll represent Italy in the European finals of the Bocuse D'Or, a competition where precise techniques and gestures are essential. «I hope he’ll win», said the chef with a smile, knowing very well that Ruggieri has perfectly mastered that precision.

Alléno with Maddalena Fossati, who presented his lesson in the in Auditorium

Alléno with Maddalena Fossati, who presented his lesson in the in Auditorium

Alléno, however, on top of being a great chef, is also a man who knows how to speak and tell his story. Take when he mentioned his grandmother, who having 13 children to feed came up with the idea of “bottled chicken” by pulling chicken inside empty bottles («My grandfather was a strong drinker») using a knitting needle. The she would cut the neck of the bottles with a diamond bottle and serve the meat around».

[[ima5]]The French chef then transformed this into one of his dishes, «the reaction of our guests in front of those bottles is incredible». And then there’s foie gras. «Even ancient Egyptians loved it. The only thing to change, in this case, is forced-feeding. Geese love eating and there are people who are working so as to return to the ancient methods, where geese are led to move along a path scattered with food, so that they grow fat but following their nature».

[[ima6]][[ima7]]These are the thoughts of a chef who decided to go against the tide. «I first started to work at 15 and then I never stopped until that time when I left Paris and went to Courchevel. Here I started to think and study in a bubble with very few tables where I developed a new concept based on research on fermentation and territory».

A concept that he then applied in Paris too, in 2014 at Pavillion Ledoyen, in the heart of the Avenue des Champs-Élysées. A restaurant opened in 1792, now dominated by Alléno’s modern French cuisine.
Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso