A big day for Niederkofler (and his ex-pupils)

The Red Guide also awarded Metullio, Longhini and Boer, ex squires at St.Hubertus. Comments after the ceremony

16-11-2017

Antonio Santini of Dal Pescatore in Runate a Canneto (Mantua) offers his congratulations to the new triple-starred Norbert Niederkofler: "The lesson for cooks?" said the chef from St Hubertus in San Cassiano (Bolzano) right after the ceremony, "you don’t need ingredients from afar to reach such a goal"

«Now everything changes, my dear Norbert, you’ll see», whispers Antonio Santini of Dal Pescatore in Canneto, while he embraces him, a few minutes after the ceremony is over. Niederkofler is the ninth triple-star to appear in the current Guida Michelin Italia, 4 years after Niko Romitothe latest in the series.

The chef from Alto Adige is thrilled but shows his joy with the moderation of a wise man: «I dedicate this reward to my mother, who turned 90 last week. She has always believed in it and never stopped supporting me». There’s one concept the cook from St.Hubertus in San Cassiano repeats again and again to the journalists rushing at him: «I’d like people to understand this message, above all: in order to reach such goals, Italian cooks don’t need raw materials from distant lands». It’s the turning point of ‘Cook the Mountains’, the now famous philosophy thanks to which the bearded chef put aside once and for all any variation on foie gras and sea bass, and focused on Arctic char, trout and mountain herbs. «To the young people I say: always trust what you’re doing, but be ready to question yourself too».

There’s something else confirming that this is Niederkofler’s big day: 3 of the 22 new stars where his pupils, more or less recently. First of all Matteo Metullio of Ciasa Salares, 29 in March next year, one of the 3 new 2-stars in 2018: «I still can’t believe it», he says, «I thought they were going to give me a special prize, not the second star. I arrive on stage, get the award and right after that, I see my master at the top. Norbert taught me everything: method, organisation, discipline. Today we follow two different roads because I chase delicacies from afar as well, what we call the good kilometre: why should I give up on Raffaele Barlotti’s buffalo milk mozzarella?». Praise to the Red Guide: «In Italy we don’t even know how to spell ‘meritocracy’. They’ve shown that your name doesn’t count if you’re not good. But now please let me go because I can’t understand a thing».

Matteo Metullio, Ciasa Salares in Alto Adige, two stars at 28

Matteo MetullioCiasa Salares in Alto Adige, two stars at 28

Between Andrea Berton and Raffaele Lenzi, chef at Berton al Lago, new-star, there’s Andrea Aprea of Vun at Park Hyatt, promoted to a second star

Between Andrea Berton and Raffaele Lenzi, chef at Berton al Lago, new-star, there’s Andrea Aprea of Vun at Park Hyatt, promoted to a second star

Next to him, two more Niederkofler boys polish the brand new star on their jacket: Alesso Longhini of Stube in Asiago (Vicenza) and Eugenio Boer of Essenza (Milan). «Great great great», says the latter, as if hypnotised, «it’s so exciting, much more than I’d ever thought. When I was working in the first courses station at Rosa Alpina I could see Matteo [Metullio] working right in front of me in the main courses station. Being here together, today, with our master, is incredible».

Matias Perdomo of Contraste (Milan) is in tears. It’s not the first time: it happened already in the days of Pont de Ferr and of the famous chequered table cloth. «We’re great». Even German Christoph Bob of Il Refettorio at Monastero di Santa Rosa, on the Coast of Amalfi got a star, except in August he no longer thought he would: «The other day, I was resting in Miami after taking part in the New York marathon. When they called me, I packed everything and came home. I took four flights. I had no idea».

Roberto Conti is the third chef to bring a star to Trussardi alla Scala in Milan, after Luigi Taglienti and Andrea Berton - the latter was there to celebrate the first star at Berton al Lago, on Lake Como, with Raffaele Lenzi. «For two years now I’ve left the essential pieces in my team unchanged», Conti rejoices, «It clearly helped». Never stop: «The award is for what you’ve done, not for what you’ll do. It’s a starting point».

Between Andrea Berton and Raffaele Lenzi, chef at Berton al Lago, new-star, there’s Andrea Aprea of Vun at Park Hyatt, promoted to a second star

Between Andrea Berton and Raffaele Lenzi, chef at Berton al Lago, new-star, there’s Andrea Aprea of Vun at Park Hyatt, promoted to a second star

While two “Milanese” chefs lose the second star (Sadler and Cracco), one gets star number two, Neapolitan Andrea Aprea, for 6 years now in the kitchen at Vun at Park Hyatt: «I only found out on Monday night. I called my wife, Mara, and we cried. Only we know the sacrifices we’ve made over the years». Enrico Bartolini and his right arm Remo Capitaneo march behind: they’re the winner takes all of the latest two editions: with the star at Glam in Venice, the group reaches a total of 5 stars. 

Happiness is also about keeping the third star. Antonio Santini: «Every confirmation is a victory». They have the highest award since 1996. Riccardo Monco of Enoteca Pinchiorri in Florence: «Think of the third star they’ve just taken away in New York, to an icon like Jean Georges. Or think of when they took it away from us, only we then got it back. Never give anything for granted».

THE CURRENT 3 STARS
since 2018 St Hubertus dell'hotel Rosa Alpina of San Cassiano-Badia (Bolzano), chef Norbert Niederkofler

since 2014 Reale-Casadonna in Castel di Sangro (L'Aquila), chef Niko Romito

since 2013 Piazza Duomo in Alba (Cuneo), chef Enrico Crippa

since 2012 Otto e Mezzo Bombana in Shanghai (China), chef Umberto Bombana

since 2012 Osteria Francescana in Modena, chef Massimo Bottura

since 2010 Da Vittorio in Brusaporto (Bergamo), chef Enrico Cerea

since 2006 La Pergola in Rome, chef Heinz Beck 

since 2003 Le Calandre in Rubano (Padua), chef Massimiliano Alajmo

since 1996 Dal Pescatore in Canneto sull'Oglio (Mantua), chef Nadia Santini

from 1993-1994 and since 2004 Enoteca Pinchiorri in Florence, chef Annie Feolde first with Carlo Cracco then with Italo Bassi and Riccardo Monco

THE LOST 3 STARS
1998-2012 Sorriso in Soriso (Novara), chef Luisa Valazza

1997-2001 Don Alfonso 1890 in Sant'Agata sui Due Golfi (Naples), chef Alfonso Iaccarino

1990-1997 Antica Osteria del Ponte in Cassinetta di Lugagnano (Milan), chef Ezio Santin

1986-1997 Gualtiero Marchesi in Via Bonvesin de la Riva in Milan and at Albereta in  Erbusco (Brescia), chef Gualtiero Marchesi

1982-2007 Tantris, Munich (Germany), chef Heinz Winkler

See also
Niederkofler story: 20 years (in fact 21) to get to the top

HAT TRICK. Alessio Longhini of Stube Gourmet at hotel Europa in Asiago (Vicenza), Young chef of the year and new-star

HAT TRICK. Alessio Longhini of Stube Gourmet at hotel Europa in Asiago (Vicenza), Young chef of the year and new-star


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