Giancarlo Morelli and Pedro Miguel Schiaffino, a union of souls

The cook from Lombardy and his Peruvian colleague became friends when they first shook hands. And with the first tasting of Chonta

16-04-2018

Morelli and Schiaffino during the four-handed dinner at Morelli Milano (photo by Devid Rotasperti)

Some stories, you must tell from the end. This is one such case. The image that struck me, from the four-handed dinner with Giancarlo Morelli and Peruvian Pedro Miguel Schiaffino at Morelli Milano is that of a dish with spicy rice and a frittata on top, which the chefs shared at the end of the service on the counter of Bulk, the bistro and mixology bar that makes an essential part of Morelli. A shot that represents their joint vision, interpreted in six dishes that are only geographically distant, and by a list of cocktails in which Pisco stood out.

A photo from Giancarlo Morelli’s travels to Peru 

A photo from Giancarlo Morelli’s travels to Peru 

Morelli and Schiaffino met when the starred chef from Pomiroeu in Seregno first visited Peru. «We shook hands and were friends right away. A union of souls», he says. This though the final sparkle was thanks to "chonta", tagliatelle made with palm heart from the Amazon forest, stripped by hand, with a local nut grated on top – a dish that left a mark in the heart of the chef from Bergamo.

However, it was Beatrice Peruzzi, business partner of Morelli in Via Fioravanti, who acted as "Cupid" between Morelli and Peru. Ten years ago she was the one to instil in the chef at Hotel Viu the desire to discover the South American country when she arrived with Gastón Acurio’s jacket and a Peruvian cookbook.

This didn’t include Schiaffino’s dishes. The recipes of the chef at Malabar and ámaZ in Lima surely don’t represent Peruvian traditional cuisine, but new (and really simple) creations that start from traditional ingredients and are the result of a research that looks at the Amazon forest.

Such ingredients of course include tapioca and yuca (also known as manioca) presented during the Milanese dinner in the shape of bread, and as a base for a cream on which they placed some snails.

Corvina, dandelion and Timut pepe

Corvina, dandelion and Timut pepe

Or masato (a yuca-based drink) used with asparagus and sea truffle and cecina, which is a sort of smoked cured meat, which Schiaffino dared to present in a gelato made sweeter thanks to honey with beer. Simple recipes, always with one main ingredient.

Morelli was fascinated by this focus right from his first journey to Peru: «In modern Peruvian cuisine – he says – there’s no space for egotism: young chefs do not want to transform a perfect gift bestowed by nature. The result of their humility is a sincerity that one can find in their dishes, it’s moving and unforgettable. Perhaps this is how who can be reborn: by choosing to take one step back».

Asparagus, masato and sea truffle (photo by Devid Rotasperti)

Asparagus, masato and sea truffle (photo by Devid Rotasperti)

This philosophy is also shared by Morelli’s cuisine, which is ethical and sustainable, and expressed in the four-handed dinner by Morelli through Corvina, dandelion and Timut pepperHemp, artichoke, parmigiano, egg yolk and hay and Duck with chocolate and wrinkly lemon.   

Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso


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