Corso Venezia, 52
When in Naples they call him 'o marziano, the Martian, you can't really tell what they mean. To us, he's an extraterrestrial with antennas, an early period David Bowie, but in the best possible sense because nobody, like this young man born in 1977, knows how to part from the schemes of the great Neapolitan tradition, without disregarding or losing sight, in his space odyssey, of his planet of origin, no matter how distant.
If his job was already written in his dna, having come from a family of restaurateurs, the genesis of the overbearing attitude behind the grim look he reserves for the usual paccheri, fried pasta or pastiere, has roots at the end of the millennium. After his military service with the Parachuters, the now extremely disciplined Andrea Aprea jumps over the Channel to understand what happens in the Italian restaurants over there: his first experiences are at the San Frediano and the Montpeliano restaurants but also include lots of fun - he's only in his twenties, after all.
The weaning is followed by a geographic anxiety that drags him to stir ladles in international kitchens: in Milan (Grand Hotel et De Milan), Sirmione (two years at the Grand Hotel Villa Cortina), Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, Villa San Michele in Florence. Among the most influential place cards, Bulgari once again in Milan and Palazzo Sasso in Ravello, on the Amalfi Coast: as with dna in the paternity test, with decisive evidence his Risotto carnaroli, with lemon, rosemary and crayfish recalls Elio Sironi, his teacher during his Milanese stay. In the same way, the vegetables in his Mio orto, colori e sapori (my vegetable garden, colours and tastes, TN) are raised following the example of Pino Lavarra, the ghost writer of his apprenticeship in Amalfi.
Aprea, however, has Britain in his heart. He opens his mind like a fan during the fundamental two-year period between 2006 and 2008, spent at the Waterside Inn and at Bray's Fat Duck, the London county guarded by sheriff Heston Blumenthal: the young man understands the provocation value behind a liquorish salmon («I've dished out so many!») and the playful character of a preparation in which making the guest smile is half of the job.
However, pay attention: the irony is ok but no Raviolo with pork stew has gone out of the kitchen of the Comandante in Naples, the second-last stop of his odyssey, without his frowning browed final stroke, because if there's a single friariello out of place, you've got to start from scratch. Every dish is the result of overlapping rigour and madness. The latter then wakes him in the middle of the night, to note down pairings on a piece of paper. All this, mostly to complete a task that is creating emotional superstructures never abandoned from the Neapolitan pedestal. A mission that, since September 2011, is guiding Aprea on the ascent of Milanese dishes, on board of the Park Hyatt's Vun.
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.
Please fill in the fields below to search our Protagonists' database.
All the young stars awarded on Monday morning at Teatro Manzoni in Milan, on the occasion of the presentation of the Guida ai Ristoranti di Identità Golose 2023, now online
Carlo Cracco, Alberto Gipponi, Enrico Bartolini, Andrea Aprea, Massimo Bottura on Wednesday morning at the Hub of Identità Golose Milano at the preview of the Identità Milano congress, which will take place from 28th to 30th January 2023 at MiCo in Via Gattamelata (photo Brambilla/Serrani)