Alma reopens its doors, hurray for Alma (and its most famous alumni)

The school in Colorno is back at work. We celebrate its rebirth presenting its best graduates (part one)

The guys from Alma, Colorno (Parma). The Interna

The guys from Alma, Colorno (Parma). The International School of Italian Cuisine reopened its doors and restarted its classes after the pandemic: cooking, pastry and bread making classes, and the dining room service too 

Having the right numbers matters. Since 2004, ALMA, the International School of Italian Cuisine with headquarters in Colorno (Parma), has presented almost 5K graduates. Around half of them attended the Corso Superiore di Cucina Italiana; one thousand the Corso Superiore di Pasticceria; around 200 the Corso Sala Bar Sommellerie; same for the Master Alma–Ais; plus one hundred or so attended the Corso Manager della Ristorazione; and over 50 the Panificazione Moderna and more than 600 theCorsi Internazionali. These numbers are matched by very comforting numbers in terms of occupation: 1 student out of 3 are hired by the business where they complete their internship; over 90 % found a job within 6 months from their graduation. Of them, 70% work in Italy, 30% abroad.

Within this overall positive outcome, there are cases that stand out and that are a concrete proof not only of the personal talents and gifts of the specific person, but also of how valid the training that Alma has developed over the years in different fields of the catering industry is. For many young people, and even for some who are not so young, Alma was a turning point that changed their life for the better, giving them the chance to transform their passion into a job and in some cases to achieve some important awards from the press.

We celebrate with pleasure the post-pandemic reopening of the school with some of its most successful graduates, starting from those who attended the Corso Superiore di Cucina Italiana and have received a Michelin star or some other acknowledgement from the media:

Stefano Deidda
Class of 2005, Dal Corsaro, Cagliari (1 Michelin star)
Having left his studies in Law, against the wishes of his family, which has been in the business for decades, he enrolled in the second edition of the Corso superiore di cucina italiana at Alma. He completed his internship at Hotel Principe di Savoia in Milan with Paola Budel, one of the pupils of Gualtiero Marchesi. After graduating with brilliant results, top of his class, he acquired a series of significant experiences with Riccardo Camanini at Villa FiordalisoClaudio Sadler in Milan, Martin Berasetegui in Lasarte (Spain) and Antonino Cannavacciuolo at Villa Crespi before returning home to Dal Corsaro. In 2016 he brought back a Michelin star to his family restaurant.

Antimo Maria Merone
Class of 2012, executive chef 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo Bombana, Macao, China (1 Michelin star)
The sleeping and never tamed passion for cooking distracted him from the last exams at Bocconi and drove him to Berlin, where the meeting with Gioacchino Conti, patron chef at restaurant Vai Mò, finally convinced him that his career was in the kitchen. So, Merone arrived at Alma at 29, completed an internship in Barolo, at Locanda nel Borgo Antico with Massimo Camia, and was top of his class. Then an experience in the brigade of Antonino Cannavacciuolo in Villa Crespi, and at L’Altro with Philippe Léveillé in Hong Kong (after 4 months a Michelin star arrived – edition 2013); in 2014, the role of executive chef at starred restaurant 8 ½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana.

Lorenzo Stefanini e Benedetto Rullo
Class of 2010, chef Il Giglio, Lucca (1 Michelin star)
Stefanini and Rullo, born respectively in 1987 and 1989, graduated together in 2010. The former, between 2011 and 2016 acquired experience at La Peca with the Portinari brothers in Lonigo (Vicenza), Devero in the days of Enrico Bartolini, in  Cavenago Brianza (Monza-Brianza), at Ippo Izakaya, Aoyagi and Ryugin in Tokyo; in the same period, the latter was at Sketch in London and at Les Solistes in Berlin (both run by Pierre Gagnaire), and then arrived at Christian Puglisi’sRelae in Copenhagen. Together with friend and chef Stefano Terigi they have brought some fresh and irreverent air in the kitchen of historic restaurant Giglio in Lucca and in 2018, the year after receiving the Chef Emergente award from Luigi Cremona, they conquered a Michelin star.


Giuseppe D’Errico
Class of 2009, chef OrnellaiaZurich, Switzerland (1 Michelin star)
Raised in Succivo, Caserta, where his passion for cooking first appeared, he graduated from Alma in 2009. At only 22 he moved to France. He worked for two years, from 2010 to 2012, as chef de partie at Restaurant Aux Anges in Roanne and then arrived in three-starred restaurant Troigros in Roanne, where he stayed for 5 years, working as sous-chef, side by side with Michel Troisgros, whom he considers his second master after Gualtiero Marchesi. In 2018 he was chosen for his new Ristorante Ornellaia, opened in April that year in Zurich by Rudi Bindella and the famous Bolgheri winery. Only 10 months after opening a Michelin star arrived.


Aldo Ritrovato
Class of 2010, executive chef IT Milano, Milan (1 Michelin star)
Since he was a child, he breathed in the aromas of the cuisine of Salerno and Calabria, watching his mum and aunties, all talented cooks, and tasting their delicacies. Impossible to resist to the call of the kitchen. When he was about to graduate in Law, he enrolled at Alma and graduated from the 12th edition of the Corso superiore di cucina italiana. After the school, the doors of Gennaro Esposito’sTorre del Saracinoin Vico Equense, opened for him, and then Enrico Crippa’s Piazza Duomo in Alba and Hotel Bulgari in Milan. Since March 2019, under the wing of two-starred Gennaro Esposito, he’s at the helm of IT Milano, alter ego, in the heart of Brera, of the restaurant in Ibiza bearing the same name. And a star immediately arrived from the Guida Michelin Italia 2020.


Bruno Giuseppe Maria Melatti
Class of 2007, chef Fre, Monforte d’Alba, Cuneo (1 Michelin star)
Born in 1986, originally from Parma, Melatti, graduated from Alma in 2007. He then arrived in the kitchen of Albereta with Gualtiero Marchesi and of the Four Seasons in Milan. But there were more significant experiences in Italy and abroad: an internship at Pascal Barbot’s Astrance in Paris, Enrico Crippa’s Piazza Duomo in Alba, Relae and Kadeau in Copenhagen; and then again in France, as chef de partie and then sous-chef at Marc Veyrat’s Maison des Bois in Manigod and in the three-starred restaurants of the Gruppo Alléno in Paris and Courchevel. In the summer of 2019, his adventure in the Langhe began, at Ristorante Fre part of the Réva Resort and the Michelin Guide awarded him with a star already in the 2020 edition.


Chiara Pavan

Class of 2015, chef at Venissa in Mazzorbo, Venice (1 Michelin star)
Born in 1985, two degrees, one in Political Philosophy, Chiara Pavan started attending the kitchens of trattorias and restaurants since she was in her twenties, to earn some money for her holidays. This choice led to the enrolment at Alma. After starred experiences at Caino in Montemerano (Grosseto) and then for a couple of years at restaurant Zum Löwen in Tesimo (Bolzano), she met Francesco Brutto who then introduced her to Venissa in 2017. The restaurant, already awarded with a star, with the arrival of Pavan kept the acknowledgement and now can also boast a Female chef of the year award from the Guida ai Ristoranti d’Italia de L’Espresso in 2019, and best Female chef for the Guida Identità Golose 2020. From this year she works elbow to elbow with Brutto himself, his partner in life and at work.

 Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso

1. To be continued


Reviews, recommendations and trends from Italy, signed by all the authors of Identità Golose


Errica Tamani

Author of Gli anni d'oro della cucina parmigiana, published by Accademia Italiana della Cucina, she contributes to “Gusto”, the food page of Gazzetta di Parma

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