Ten years, to become the best

Elisa Bellavia, best sommelier according to Guida 2015 di Identità Golose, tells us her story

12-11-2014
Elisa Bellavia on the stage of Eataly Smeraldo, wh

Elisa Bellavia on the stage of Eataly Smeraldo, where she received (from Carlo Bianchi, Area Manager of Cavit) the award for best sommelier according to Guida 2015 di Identità Golose. Elisa has been working with the Costardi brothers since she was 17, inside the restaurant of Hotel Cinzia which was recently renamed with the names of the two chefs, Christian & Manuel (tel. +39.0161.253585). That "&", they are keen on pointing out, is very important to them because it recalls the great work, between dining room and cellar, made by Elisa Bellavia and other members of the staff (photo by Brambilla / Serrani)

Ten years ago, my journey started, the climb that led me to accomplish a dream I had always had. It all began as a game, while I was trying to be a maître and sommelier, a task my professor of dining room service in catering school in Gattinara often gave me. At that time I replied that I would have not been able to take on both roles at the same time. He would then raise his voice and shout at me: «Bellavia, march, march, today you will be both maître and sommelier, or you will be kicked in the bottom!».

At school, I was really happy to go only when there was dining room service. I have very many memories from that time, some also from the times I would skip school: I would leave my classmates – including Manuel Costardi – at the bus stop and go to a small bar full of old people playing cards. At that time, I would already put on my show, entertaining them, preparing some coffee from time to time, adjusted with a lot of smiles, and therefore I was very much appreciated. Today, I still continue to play my role in my small theatre.

Already in middle school, during the orientation days when one had to choose the road to take in the future, I wrote in an essay that I wanted to become a maître on cruise ships. My father told me, with a Sicilian attitude: «So you want to become a servant?» And I: «Dad, no, I will aim high!». Even my mother complained: «Your life will be always a sacrifice: Christmas, Easter, holidays... But if this is what you want, go ahead».

Photo by Brambilla / Serrani
Photo by Brambilla / Serrani
I’ve always had a sense of hospitality in me. Today working in a restaurant allows me to experience my magic, my passion. Because this is the meaning behind going on stage every night and guiding my guests on a gastronomic journey, telling the dreams of two chefs such as Christian and Manuel, feeling like a story teller.

Accomplishing a dream is not easy, managing to share it is even harder. And it is also very difficult to overcome the inevitable prejudgements. Today, however, I feel I’m more of a woman, thanks also to the birth of my daughter Ginevra, I have a more mature “voice”, more assertive and brave. I love my job and this is why it comes natural to me to convey these emotions.

All of us, Christian, Manuel and I, and Bibo, Sonja, Mirko, Ludmilla, and the others that come and return, live this team work made of battles, in which the fact we grew up together comes very useful, and we always feel under the vigil eyes of the marvellous Cinzia, Christian and Manuel’s mother, after whom the Hotel is named.

The chefs, Manuel and Christian Costardi

The chefs, Manuel and Christian Costardi

So ten years have gone by since I started to work here. I was only 17 and we’ve always worked aiming high. This is how we accomplish our passions, some in the dining room, some in the kitchen, our small stages.

And even today, it is so nice to hear: «we enjoyed ourselves, we will be back». This, for me, is my work. I have learned, but I know I will learn a lot more. I have studied right in the field, ever since the first day, with my guests, always adding lots of humanity. Hurray for us waiters, bestowing smiles, hurray for the dining room!


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