c/o Eataly Smeraldo
piazza XXV Aprile, 10
In the end, 3 years are enough for a fairy tale to carry out her whole plot. This prologue was written on March 2007, when Viviana Varese lifted the rolling shutter of Alice restaurant in Milan’s via Adige. It was heavy but near, her partner Sandra Ciciriello was helping with strong arms. As the two crossed the threshold, VV began to cook the fish that SC everyday intercepted from the biggest fish market of the city. The happy ending set on fall 2011, when Michelin guide awarded her with a star. That came after Milan’s Guide of Gambero Rosso gave her the title of emerging chef of the year and after Identità Golose named her best 2011 Italian female chef. The facts before the Milan era affected the development of the story too. Being a typical stubborn person from Salerno, she used to do everything her own way: before Alice she was ruling Il Girasole, a restaurant lost in the mists of Lodi. VV never hides the sources of her knowledge: some stages at Mediterraneo in Piacenza and the important step at the court of Gualtiero Marchesi’s Albereta in Erbusco.
Unlike many colleagues, she never disdained the sweet side of food: this is why she would tell you all about the master in pastry she gained in Rome, under the guidance of Maurizio Santin. And the Brescia’s Cast Alimenti School experience, where she learned from the world champion of pastry Leonardo Di Carlo. Finally, she will never deny the brilliant ideas two colleagues like Niko Romito and Moreno Cedroni sometimes gave her along her path. But it’s only beyond that Alice threshold that she could comfortably sit down and listen to her inner voice. It is a daemon whispering her to paint dishes with the draw of lively creativity deeply rooted in her region Campania but, Massimo Bottura would say, with the head free to roam everywhere.
A cuisine mainly based of fish (but try not to miss her maritata soup) composed through her own patterns: the full-bodied and the robust, the raw and the cooked, the color and the warmth. Amounts of several but never conflicting ingredients. A hand guided by a head that, rather than standardization, would prefer imperfection. Never-ended dishes displayed through instinct. But only after careful internalizations.
born in Milan, 1973, freelance journalist, coordinator of Identità Golose World restaurant guidebook since 2007, he is a contributor for several magazines and teaches History of gastronomy and Culinary global trends into universities and institutes.
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