There’s lots of Italy in Shanghai

10 Corso Como opens in China. Meanwhile, on the top floor, Corrado Michelazzo is cooking (part one)

The entrance to 10 Corso Como in Shanghai, in Chin

The entrance to 10 Corso Como in Shanghai, in China. Carla Sozzani’s store opened downtown a few weeks ago. Here you can find many excellent products and, on the top floor, the food of Corrado Michelazzo, an old acquaintance of Identità just like Zenato, a winery that accompanied his debut during a pleasant evening

Perfectly recalling Milanese tradition, the building looks like a panettone, and perfectly recalling Christmas tradition, its content is like a basket full of presents. Here you can find the best of Italy. We’re talking about 10 Corso Como, the Milanese concept store of “trend’s queen” Carla Sozzani. A few weeks ago she opened her fifth store in very downtown Shanghai, after Milan, Tokyo and Seoul (2 stores in South Korea). And how about Italian excellence? There are lots of products: art, books, design… However, what we are going to focus on is, as usual, food and beverage. The occasion was an evening in which the culinary art of Corrado Michelazzo, at the helm of the homonymous restaurant on the fourth floor of 10 Corso Como, was matched with the wines of Zenato, a pillar in the production of Lugana and Amarone della Valpollicella wines.

The story of Corrado seems to be taken out of a romantic novel, as he has always tied his unquestionable talent in the kitchen with the love for his wife Roberta, who has always followed him, even as sommelier and restaurant manager, from one side to another of the planet. A fifty-year-old chef from Valsesia, Corrado acquires a sound fame in Italy: at Bellevue in Cogne, Val d’Aosta, where he received a Michelin star; and with his own restaurant La Meridiana, in Saint-Pierre, where he entered the Identità Golose guide in 2008.

Corrado Michelazzo (photo by leslieruskin.wordpress.com)

Corrado Michelazzo (photo by leslieruskin.wordpress.com)

The crisis of that year led him to make some important decisions: «Business was good but the real problem was making sure that my son would have a future, at a time when he was in the delicate age of his pre-teens». Hence the decision of moving to China. Since 2008 Corrado and Roberta have worked in the top Italian restaurants in Shanghai: first the interlocutory experience at restaurant Milano in Pudong, then Va Bene in Xintiandi, the most prestigious neighbourhood in town, then L’Isola at the IFC, again in Pudong, in the metropolis’ financial centre. And now the restaurant in the kingdom of Carla Sozzani, a splendid architectural jewel in front of the temple of Jing An, decorated by American artist Kris Ruhs (who had already decorated Sozzani’s other stores).

Michelazzo’s cuisine strikes you because it is very creative while using only a few, simple ingredients. The chef loves to play with flavours, just like a child does with Lego bricks. His dishes, however, are not culinary puzzles in which in order to understand what you’re eating you need to look it up on Wikipedia. So the starters are classics of countryside tradition, though fresh and tasty and deliciously presented. The Corn spheres with Calabrian liquorish are like small polenta placed on lemon wedges and recall the eyes of mythological dragons. “Il mio giardino” is a carpet of earth made with dried olives and in brine in which boiled vegetables are planted, accompanied with olive oil butter, and they really look like a small, compressed vegetable garden.

The idea of the liquid bruschetta (made with tomato water, buffalo mozzarella, first frozen and then grated, and fresh pesto), the raw oyster with apple and cucumber juice and the apple granita, and the Carabineros with lime, white chocolate chips, sponge cake with squid ink with an emulsion of nettles on dried ice create a scenic Star Trek style, are three starters that hint at a more modernist cuisine, but always with attention, like those who go to a premiere but don’t want to be under the spotlight.

1. to be continued

China Grill

Tasty reports from China and the Far East from our collaborator Claudio Grillenzoni


Claudio Grillenzoni

A journalist with the bad habit of xenophilia (natural, he's a Germanist) and food (he's from Modena ), he now lives a happy life in China, in Shanghai, building connections between East and West 

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