Cantine Ferrari with IdentitÓ Golose? Hereĺs why

The new partnership explained by Matteo Lunelli. The goal: give value to the dining room. A debate among great professionals at IdentitÓ Milano


Matteo Lunelli explains the reasons behind the new partnership between Cantine Ferrari and IdentitÓ Golose

Cantine Ferrari and Identità Golose, the perfect pair. The famous winery has become main partner of the international fine dining congress that will take place in Milan from the 4th to the 6th of March, so as to continue the research on the Art of Hospitality [see Quelli dell'ospitalità eccellente in Italian] which started in 2016 when they first began to collaborate with The World's 50 Best Restaurants.

Indeed the Ferrari Trento Art of Hospitality Award was established as part of the prestigious list that has been defining trends in the international restaurant scene for over ten years now. It is given to a restaurant that, according to the thousand voters in the panel, stood out for creating a unique experience, capable of surprising and thrilling thanks to an excellent service, a particularly pleasant atmosphere and, in general, a memorable hospitality.

The award was given in 2016 to Eleven Madison Park in New York. The next winner will be proclaimed on the 5th of April in Melbourne, on the occasion of the big night when the names of The World’s 50 Best Restaurant will be unveiled. After the successful conference organised last year at Palazzo Serbelloni, in Milan, when famous representatives of the Italian and international restaurant and hotel industry discussed the topic of hospitality, Cantine Ferrari, in collaboration with The World's 50 Best Restaurants, replicates the event choosing Identità as this time’s setting.

The decision came from the certainty that the congress in Milan is a point of reference for signature cuisine in Italy and is therefore the ideal place where to analyse the magical alchemy resulting from the perfect balance between service, hospitality and conviviality.

Matteo Lunelli

Matteo Lunelli

The idea of giving value to these elements, and hence to the role of the dining room staff, is born from the strong connection between Cantine Ferrari and fine dining, first in Italy, now all around the world, since it has always been a great ambassador of Ferrari Trentodoc bubbles. It is also perfectly matched by the Italian lifestyle, which Ferrari represents: a glass of bubbles is an emblem of hospitality, toasting is a synonym of conviviality, two elements that are historically part of Italy’s culture and tradition. We thus spoke with Matteo Lunelli. Since 2011 he’s been the third generation leading Cantine Ferrari.

«I’m very happy to return to Identità Milano. I remember we toasted with Paolo Marchi and a nice bottle of Ferrari, at the end of the first edition, in 2005. We’ve always had a friendly, sharing relationship. Your event has always shared the values we also express: we have developed a connection with fine dining, our bubbles are ambassadors of the best Italian cuisine around the world».

How was this vocation born?
«Trento doc is very flexible in terms of pairings. Indeed I believe the best way to pair it is with fine dining».

You’ve been working on the theme of hospitality for quite some time…
«Indeed, and we want to bring the commitment we started with the 50Best also to Identità Milano. I believe a fine dining restaurant should offer a unique experience, which must of course include extraordinary dishes but also a memorable hospitality. We want to give more and more importance to the dining room. And we’ve decided to share this project with those we reckon are most suitable. That is to say Identità Golose».

Some chefs, like Antonino Cannavacciuolo and not only him, believe a dining room is worth at least 51% of a fine dining experience. Do you agree?
«I believe the role of service is essential; even though it is sometimes left to the background, which is in fact strange as we, in Italy, have a strong tradition in terms of hospitality. Perhaps we clash with the overexposure chefs have on mass media: we must thus stimulate young talents to become great maîtres and sommeliers. I believe the art of hospitality is what makes an excellent restaurant, where you eat great food, an experience worth an A+».

What is your idea of “the perfect dining room”?
«There’s no unique way. There’s no unique philosophy. Some want to be more formal, some friendlier. Every choice is fine as long as it is coherent with the context, that is to say it represents the cuisine: if it’s classic, I’ll expect an adequate service. Vice versa, even a more casual service is fine: you always need harmony. Attention: service is made of a thousand details – as with fine dining. Hence sound, mise and place, attitude… A magical alchemy is created which also involves the kitchen. Think of chefs like Davide Oldani, Nadia Santini, Andrea Berton: their restaurants stand out because the dining room is in perfect harmony with the kitchen’s creations. You need coherence: a positive model that comes to my mind is given by Eleven Madison Park in New York. And indeed we awarded them».

What is your partnership with Identità Milano going to be like, in practice?
«We’re only at the beginning of a process. We’ll discuss hospitality with great representatives of the restaurant and hotel industry, both chefs and sommeliers. We have called many valuable professionals who will help us understand this issue. We already did this last year, in an event we curated directly. This year we prefer to do it at Identità Milano, because we believe it’s the most adequate and qualified setting to give resonance to this issue. Please don’t be surprised we hold this topic so dear: a glass of bubbles is for me the perfect emblem of conviviality. It recalls hospitality, which typical of us Italians. Indeed, I can see a fil rouge tying Ferrari, Italy and the dining room».

Cantine Ferrari

Cantine Ferrari

What is the state of the art in Italy’s dining room, in your opinion?
«I believe there are excellent professionals. Really excellent. They follow a heritage of hospitality I mentioned above. Unfortunately they are not given enough value in our country [while they are very popular abroad]: this is where our commitment starts, we want to reverse the negative trend, because this is the one and only element in which we’re still not at the same level as abroad. I have this idea that we’ve always thought, though only in Italy, that a fine dining restaurant should only seat a few people, while around the world the best restaurants serve hundreds and hundreds each day, thanks to a perfect dining room management. This is our goal. It would be an advantage for everyone. Dining rooms must become our strong point and the new model we hope will result from this will set an example for the best Italian restaurants in the world».

One last dutiful comment on Ferrari
«We’re enjoying a very positive moment. In 2016 we grew especially in the Horeca channel, that is to say with restaurants. And we believe we have developed millésime sparkling wines that can perfectly match the cuisine of great chefs. Today we can offer a very complex range, the wider possible for metodo classico, and we believe we could be a very interesting partner for any sommelier. Bubbles to be drank throughout the meal give elegance but respect the food. In other words, we believe this can be the perfect pairing for a tasting menu».

Your “training place” is Alfio Ghezzi’s Locanda Margon, which recently received the second Michelin star.
«It’s an extraordinary workshop, which has helped us test the perfect pairing between our products and haute cuisine. Together with Alfio we’re developing a road that will make us go far, I’m sure. Our model is and will be a positive one».

So save the date: on Monday the 6th March at 1 pm Massimo Bottura, winner of the latest edition of the The World's 50 Best Restaurants, Umberto Bombana, winner of the lifetime achievement award for Asia 2017, Soren Ledet, director and co-owner of Geranium in Copenhagen, Marco Reitano, sommelier at La Pergola in Rome as well as president of association Noi di Sala, and Maurizio Saccani, operations director at Rocco Forte Hotels will all be on the stage of the Auditorium hall at Identità Milano. They will be welcomed by Matteo Lunelli, president at Cantine Ferrari, William Drew, group editor at The World's 50 Best Restaurants and of course the founder and curator of Identità Golose, Paolo Marchi.


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