Caterina, respect as a goal

From Dattilo to Romito and back: the story of a young woman and her vocation for cuisine

Young Caterina Ceraudo, here beside her father, Ro

Young Caterina Ceraudo, here beside her father, Roberto, is now the chef at family restaurant Dattilo, where she took her first steps, at an early age, helping around the tables on her free days. She then fell in love with this job, studied at Niko Romito’s Scuola di Alta formazione e Specializzazione professionale, and returned to Calabria to face the challenge in the family kitchen

My adventure and my journey in the world of cuisine began in 2006, when I spent my summer holidays helping around in the family restaurant, Dattilo, opened a few years earlier. Even my studies, thanks to a degree in Viticulture and Oenology at the University of Pisa, had led me towards the world of food and wine.

At first, when I was at the restaurant I was simply able to help around during my spare days, but then, after some time and commitment, it became a true passion. So much so that it then became a reason of life, and my profession.

I need to thank a great friend, who with a forward looking intuition advised me to give a technical base to my passion, to what she still believes is a natural gift, and directed me towards Niko Romito’s Scuola di Alta Formazione.

A night view of the entrance of the restaurant owned by the Ceraudo family

A night view of the entrance of the restaurant owned by the Ceraudo family

The most important lesson I learnt during the months I spent at the school, one that I will always keep in my heart, is the respect for food and its origin, for its nature, from the moment in which each single ingredient is born and grown, until the transformation into a dish, and thus the respect for what we and our clients will eat. I learnt that for me it is essential to use only a few ingredients and to highlight simple flavours.

At the Scuola and in particular in Chef Niko I found the same principles and values that before him my father had transmitted to me: respect for nature and people, boundless love for one’s territory. While my father was defined as “the philosopher of the earth” I’d define Niko Romito as the “philosopher of the kitchen”. My father and Niko Romito are two masters in life, in different times.

As soon as I returned to Calabria from Abruzzo, perhaps I did not realise precisely how much responsibility being a chef in the family restaurant implied, but I wanted to challenge myself all the same. For sure, in Calabria everything is more complicated because of economic, cultural and social reasons.

One of Caterina Ceraudo’s dishes: Ravioli with squid ink, mousse of buffalo milk mozzarella and aubergine chips and cream of raw tomato

One of Caterina Ceraudo’s dishes: Ravioli with squid ink, mousse of buffalo milk mozzarella and aubergine chips and cream of raw tomato

We live in a territory that is full of traditions that are kept alive only thanks to grandmothers, traditions which are then not transmitted to and most of all not pursued by young people. For this very reason, and thinking about young people, we began a true journey, with the objective of making what can be called the old times’ “poor cuisine” live once again.

These same things that initially can be seen as difficulties, fill me with energy and give me the strength to continue along this road. Restaurant Dattilo was born from the union of a family, of four minds that build dreams: me, my father, my brother Giuseppe and my sister Susy.

See also
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Giving value to differences by Viviana Varese
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