Scabin, a totally different pasta

A cocktail of sauces and cloned flavours in phials: the chef from Combal.zero continues his personal revolution

06-03-2017
by Andrea Cuomo
Davide Scabin, is always ahead of his times (even

Davide Scabin, is always ahead of his times (even with pasta). Here he’s on the stage of Identità di Pasta with Eleonora Cozzella (photo by Brambilla-Serrani)

You’d think: here comes Davide Scabin, and surely he’ll want to shock us at all costs. This time, though, we won’t fall for it. But we do. This year too. Because the chef from Combal.zero, whose lesson at Identità di Pasta was sold out, like a rock star, even this year looks at the future and bestows his vision. Without any sprouts («I’m sprout-free now»). Without flowers («I only use them for a cake, because I need tannins. I’m the only one who uses flowers for their flavour and not for aesthetics»). And with just one dish out of all the thirteen courses in the menu.

He takes on different roads. So about pasta. «As recently as 2009, had I appeared in San Sebastian with pasta, I’d have seemed like a migrant with a cardboard suitcase. Now instead…». Today he interprets what he believes is now the only truly Italian dish together with risottos, taking his inspiration from mixology: a cocktail on the Rome-Naples route with Cacio&Pepe, Carbonara and Genovese that is still nameless (three-in-oneCa-Ca-Ge?) but upsets all traditions without upsetting grannies («If only they all went to Florida for the winter, at last they’d finally give us chefs a break»): Lamb Genovese, Cacio&Pepe with just an extra touch of cloves and Carbonara with the egg cooked at 62°C for over an hour. Plus lemon, in fact yuzu «I like it best».

A pleased Riccardo Felicetti in the audience

A pleased Riccardo Felicetti in the audience

It’s called hybridisation. The shock comes instead from the five phials Scabin uses to season rigatoni. The project goes by the name of “Note by note” and it’s an evolution of the studies of the great Hervé Thys: cloning essential flavours from various ingredients with which in a future of scarce food we’ll give flavour to tasteless proteins, mushrooms, cucumber, cheese. It’s all because f lignin, which can be decomposed in basically every possible edible molecule. Every chef in a few years’ time will have his tailor-made flavours, guarantees Scabin. «Are you writing down what I’m saying?», he giggles. We are.
Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso