The post-Marchesi phase has already began

Lopriore and a heritage that must continue by looking at the future. As for senators for life...

30-12-2017

Gualtiero Marchesi with Paolo Lopriore, his favourite pupil, and blogger Stefania Buscaglia from Mangiaredadio. She met them in Como, in April 2016, at the presentation of the book by the maestro. Marchesi has always considered Lopriore the best person to continue his work, even at Alma, the international school of Italian cuisine in Colorno, Parma

I believe favourite pupil Paolo Lopriore made the most beautiful comment on the death of Gualtiero Marchesi: «I remember him every day, through my dishes». It is no coincidence that he’ll inherit his post at Alma, the international school of Italian cuisine of which the latter was rector until a few months ago. Thoughts, ideas, dreams for the future, dishes, lessons that go beyond the contingency of a menu you must present every day when running a restaurant, whether in Piazza della Scala in Milan or in Piazza Libertà in the centre of Appiano Gentile.

Yesterday, the funeral chamber was held at Teatro Dal Verme, which the town made available because there’s an exhibition in Sala Alessi, inside Palazzo Marino. Today, the funerals took place in the morning followed by the burial in San Zenone al Po, next to his beloved Antonietta. She passed away in June, and he never recovered. Marchesi often said that given they were both Pisces, one looked in one direction, and the other looked in the opposite.

The famous Raviolo Aperto

The famous Raviolo Aperto

But they did swim in the same sea and those who were close to him in the second half of 2017 noticed he no longer had the usual vitality. It was as if he’d lost his guiding light and no longer knew which direction to take, and why.

There’s a before and an after Marchesi in Italian cuisine. And the after had already started at the beginning of this decade. Marchesi perfectly interprets the solo artist, a magnificent maverick who always came up with an ironic and biting remark - very biting, most of the times. Everyone accepted this because it was never made out of ulterior motives and hypocrisy. That’s what he was like, take it or leave it. And everyone accepted it because it was best to be part of his horizon, than to be ignored.

So basically he only made a full compliment to Lopriore when he said «Paolo is the best because he’s the one who makes more mistakes». And he added, for those who would not understand: «If you only do what everyone can do, you’ll never make mistakes. What for? Instead, he’s always trying to do something new. Those who experiment are subject to failure».

LoprioreCraccoCrippaOldaniBertonLeemann… they all grew following his track, a lymph that unfortunately became drier not in his last years in Franciacorta but at Marchesino, once Daniel Canzian had left. Focusing on matter is very important, but Marchesi was, above all, an extraordinary source of ideas. Which came from him, as well as from his confrontation with those working beside him.

When disciples leave, the restaurant turns into a museum. A transformation that was certified by the ten-year renewal of the lease linking the name of the maestro to the restaurant inside Teatro alla Scala. It is only in this location that one will find the masterpieces of his unmatchable career. A revolution, basically, because Raviolo Aperto, Riso oro e zafferano, Dripping di pesce and many more recipes were like moments of genius and revolution. I would have liked to see his work continue through those who knew him well, intelligent people who would be able to add a new touch with ideas and respect.

A souvenir photo with great Italian chefs and restaurateurs, at the meeting of association Les Grandes Tables du Monde on the 17th October 2016 in Venice. Left to right Giancarlo Perbellini, Antonio Santini, Moreno Cedroni, Alberto Santini, Massimo Bottura, Gualtiero Marchesi (hiding Raffaele Alajmo) and Norbert Niederkofler

A souvenir photo with great Italian chefs and restaurateurs, at the meeting of association Les Grandes Tables du Monde on the 17th October 2016 in Venice. Left to right Giancarlo PerbelliniAntonio SantiniMoreno CedroniAlberto SantiniMassimo BotturaGualtiero Marchesi (hiding Raffaele Alajmo) and Norbert Niederkofler

Marchesi was also the only one in Milan to get the Ambrogino d’Oro twice, in 1986 and 2010. The only one because, according to the rules, you cannot receive it twice, but some say people at Palazzo Marino had forgotten about the first award. And this shows Marchesi was right when he said that «sometimes people speak of me becoming a senator for life. I’d like it, and you know why? Not for me, I promise: but because it would be an important proof of attention to Italian cuisine».

Should this ever happen, it will happen to Massimo Bottura, the second most famous Italian chefs globally, the first to move from only one man at the helm, typical of Italian chefs, to teamwork. But without yesterday’s Marchesi we wouldn’t have today’s Bottura.
Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso


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