Gipponi, part of the future

Three years as a cook, less than one as a chef. The patron at Dina’s in Gussago keeps improving his performance

12-06-2018

Dina doesn’t cook, though some think she does. Dina is the patron’s grandmother. She represents the roots, the past projected into the future. The owner of the restaurant in Gussago, between Franciacorta and Brescia, is Alberto Gipponi, from Brescia. 38, he’s been a real cook for less than 5 years and became patron-chef on November 17th 2017, when they first opened. The choice of date was a provocation [17 is bad luck in Italy], and it was a Friday too, with just one guest in the dining room, and no ordinary person either: it was his wife Angela Iussig.

Of course we’re free to believe in black cats, unlucky numbers and endless superstitions, but then what happened was that Gipponi poured a pan of boiling oil over his hands, then rushed to the hospital and later refused to rest for many days. He was back in the kitchen, and cooked for his love. It really takes a strong will.

In the first, totally black dining room at Alberto Gipponi’s restaurant, an artwork by Jonathan Monk titled Until then if not before stands out. It turns the room into a decompression room that is particularly dear to the chef

In the first, totally black dining room at Alberto Gipponi’s restaurant, an artwork by Jonathan Monk titled Until then if not before stands out. It turns the room into a decompression room that is particularly dear to the chef

Alberto has a limpid and definite talent, the result of techniques he’s learnt and acquired, as well as solutions and ideas of his own that make him an out-of-the-ordinary figure in the restaurant industry. An authentic and unique professional experience in the kitchen at Osteria Francescana in Modena, where he won Massimo Bottura’s diffidence, and then many visits as guest at Riccardo Camanini’s Lido84 in Gardone, studying him through every dish, pairing, nuance.

And then many mistakes he’s made and continues to make, because he doesn’t stop. The same words a chef from the Marche once used to describe his work apply to him: «My cooking is made of slaps. It’s made of all the slaps I got because my dishes were good but not fully accomplished». The chef from Brescia already experienced this when he was a guitarist, and since he was not able to fix his mistakes, he kept on making them. Now he’s found his place in the kitchen, his dimension. 

Alberto Gipponi at Festa a Vico in 2018

Alberto Gipponi at Festa a Vico in 2018

Open only in the evening, from Monday to Saturday, Dina is not just the kind of delicious destination with an innovative flair of which you can find some great examples in every corner of Italy.

The food is absolutely original. You may not like it, because the chef is not trying to easily please his guests. He doesn’t cheat, he doesn’t joke. Even the service is very personal, and not everyone might enjoy it, but this applies to many authors, in every area of creativity. You might be good, but not everybody will like you. In fact, those who take a new path are destined to be understood and enjoyed by few.

Lussuria

Lussuria

I asked the creator and maker of my dinner to describe it, and Gipponi’s words flow so well, I’m going to use them while thanking him for writing them: «Lussuria: from the apple to the sin... apple and lemon infusion, to which I add a beetroot extract when serving it at the table. It’s mixed in a glass with a tablespoon of gin, sugar cane and mint. It should recall pomegranate.

«Brodo di casa: we start with a murky vegetable stock, willingly not clarified. It’s welcoming, in its imperfection, but I hope it’s good.

«Casoncello crudo, ma cotto: a play with memories. The meat casoncelli are seemingly raw, but in fact are cooked», these are the words Alberto Gipponi uses to describe his forte, which he also presented at Festa a Vico on the 5th June 2018

«Casoncello crudo, ma cotto: a play with memories. The meat casoncelli are seemingly raw, but in fact are cooked», these are the words Alberto Gipponi uses to describe his forte, which he also presented at Festa a Vico on the 5th June 2018

«Casoncello crudo, ma cotto: a play with memories. The meat casoncelli are seemingly raw. In fact they are cooked. We go beyond what’s forbidden.

«Tutto ci passa attraverso e ci cambia: cream of mussels, tomato confit, air of lemon, aromatic herbs, crispy bread and mushrooms tartare. It’s a story about human nature. We are filters and parasites. Everything we meet leaves a mark on us and we try to attach ourselves to all we desire. The idea of serving it in something that’s halfway between a rubbish bin and a saucepan comes from Belgian poet and conceptual artist Marcel Broodthaers.

«SpAgretti, please pay attention to the spelling: agretti [monk’s beard] cooked in their extract, radish, cream of walnuts, lime, thyme. Earth and grass for you to smell. A tribute to the spring in the shape of a field after the rain.

«Ostrica o carciofo: Roman-style artichoke, oyster and foie gras. Let’s go beyond appearances. A tribute to Riccardo Pippo Feroci Forapan, a pillar at Osteria Francescana, my nightmare and my luck for sure.

«Vi rode il fegato: Fassona liver with Bordelaise sauce, fried onions, toasted walnuts, apple extract and apple reduction with turmeric. The first of 7 dishes inspired by the seven deadly sins: envy. Followed by fermented tea.

«Aglio, olio e 58: a cosy and delicious dish. There’s a base of cream of parsley, spaghettoni mixed with cream of potatoes, garlic, shallot, thyme and chilly pepper, crispy bread and frozen oyster. 58 refers to Franceschetta 58

Pasta with tomato and basil, as interpreted by Alberto Gipponi

Pasta with tomato and basil, as interpreted by Alberto Gipponi

This is where the dish was born, and though it was meant to, it never found a place in the menu. So he included it at Dina’s.

«Non mi era proprio mai piaciuta: pasta with tomato and basil. The cream added to the spaghetti, the ice cream and the meringue are all made with pasta, tomato and basil.

«Ne mangerei un bidet: casoncelli con cream of Parmigiano matured 43 months and powdered sage. The name was given by Davide di Fabio.

«L’agnello nella bocca del lupo: lamb marinated in lemon balm [also known as bocca di lupo – wolf’s mouth] stewed and paired with a cream of roasted potatoes, Soncino roots, spinach, lamb jus and powdered herbs. It’s served with a consommé of mushrooms and lemon balm. It refers to the kind of attraction in life we should really forget about.

Risotto with rosemary served at Dina’s in Gussago

Risotto with rosemary served at Dina’s in Gussago

«Gelato al limone, olio d’oliva e menta: this is a memory from my past. As a child, during the summer holidays in Liguria, I would add oil to the lemon sorbet. I had forgotten about it, and remembered it when I first started working in the kitchen.

«Risotto? Ma non doveva essere pane, burro e marmellata?!?! Risotto with rosemary, orange reduction and pine nuts with butter. This represents me, or at least I think it does… bitter, balsamic, sour.

«Ma che cavolo: cauliflower and vanilla mousse, hazelnut crumble, wasabi ice cream. I got the idea from a dessert made by my sous chef Gian Nicola Mula.

C’è qualcosa che non Quaglia, though it doesn’t look like it, it’s a dessert

C’è qualcosa che non Quaglia, though it doesn’t look like it, it’s a dessert

«C’è qualcosa che non Quaglia: as a joke, I always say that every time I make a cake, a pastry-chef has a heart attack. I’m a cook, and pastry making is a serious matter. So I make cakes that are not really cakes. Quail with honey, crumble with whiskey and cocoa, cream of pine nuts, toffee and caramel with sage, gelèe of whiskey. It’s paired with a sweet broth of quail, honey and spices».

Fifteen moments in total. Dina Gipponi is the future. He’s not the only future, but he’s part of it.

Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso 

Dina Ristorante
Via Santa Croce 1
25064 Gussago (Brescia)
+39.030.2523051
E-mail: info@dinaristorante.com
Closed on Sunday. Open in the evening from Monday to Saturday 
Average prices: starters 18 euros, first courses 20 and main courses 24
Tasting menus: 55 and 63 euros


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