Enrico Bartolini and the four tassels that make the cuisine of the future: time, people, offer and ingredients

The most starred chef in Italy talked at the congress of his Milano and of how the restaurant offer is changing at Mudec. And he made three dishes that represent his idea of "The Future is Now"

11-05-2022
by Luca Torretta
Enrico Bartolini protagonist at Identità Milano

Enrico Bartolini protagonist at Identità Milano 2022. All the photos are from Brambilla-Serrani

Enrico Bartolini, the chef who brought back three stars to Milan, twenty-six years after maestro Gualtiero Marchesi, stepped on the stage of Identità Milano which has always represented a journey among flavours and knowledge, ideas, influences and synergies not only in Italy but in the rest of the world too. He started by talking of his Milano, «a city that has changed a lot after the World Fair, and has evolved becoming a metropolis that is a point of reference, of which those who live or work here can be proud. A city where people speak of the future and do so with enthusiasm and dynamism. And it is in this Milan that I've learnt to live in the present».

Bartolini with Carlo Passera, who presented the lesson

Bartolini with Carlo Passera, who presented the lesson

Davide Boglioli at work

Davide Boglioli at work

The chef, born in Pescia in 1979, then walked the audience through his ideal menu, in which the first two tassels are dedicated to time and people. «Time, because when I opened my first restaurant, I wondered to be successful. If a young person works a lot, people are always positively inclined and guests want to find out why he's working so much. And then people, because when the concrete message of taste comes from the kitchen to the table, this is not just made possible by the cook, but by a whole group of people who all have a main role». Like Davide BoglioliElisa Frutti and Greta Malatesta – respectively executive chef, demi pastry chef and assistant pastry chef at Mudec – who worked side by side with Bartolini in the making of the gourmet dishes.

Left to right Elisa Frutti, Enrico Bartolini, Greta Malatesta and Davide Boglioli

Left to right Elisa Frutti, Enrico Bartolini, Greta Malatesta and Davide Boglioli

But before, we must talk of the third element in this unusual menu: the offer. An important tassel which, with the help of the pandemic, has moved from being large in size, so that clients could ask what they wished with no predefined obligation, to becoming a smaller menu, but one studied with particular detail to offer an exclusive experience of extraordinary quality. After the offer, the fourth ideal dish is the ingredient, with a more creative and aware approach to the latter, both in terms of research and sourcing, compared to the recent past.

Bee's raviolo and duck with honey

Bee's raviolo and duck with honey

Here is Bee's aviolo, the first real dish in the tasting menu. Of clear Marchesian inspiration, on top of being inspired by bees and by their laboriousness – which for them is natural, and for us essential - it's a raviolo made with yellow (turmeric) and black (vegetal carbon) pastry, duck neck filled with its breast, served with its jus and smoked with jasmine. On the side, a loquat, filled with the entrails of the duck and finished with some summer truffle, Barolo vinegar, pollen and dog rose.

Fresh spaghetti made with semolina, burnt lemon, whisky and caviar and Gelato with white asparagus from Treviso, bitter orange flowers, Parmigiano, carp and caviar

Fresh spaghetti made with semolina, burnt lemon, whisky and caviar and Gelato with white asparagus from Treviso, bitter orange flowers, Parmigiano, carp and caviar

This is followed by Fresh spaghetti, toasted lemon, squid , whisky and caviar – the latter coming from sturgeon farmed in Lombardy, to give a rich iodine touch and add a luxurious result that is hard to resist – finished by Gelato of asparagus and orange flowers and paired with a Cocktail of cod and celery broth.

The end comes with a Soufflé of guanaja chocolate – with a heart of salted peanuts and served with pineapple marinated in a caramel aromatised with rum, cream of toasted white sesame, fiordilatte gelato made with goat's milk and aromatised with chilli pepper, coconut vinegar, powdered liquorice and a reduction of mucilage from cocoa beans – in which, in a perfect balance, sweetness and roundness offer the palate also a sensation of sapidity, sourness and spiciness. To be tasted while sipping a pineapple beer, fermented for two days with different types of spices, for a rich and exotic finale.

Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso