vicolo dello Spagnuolo, 1
Bu (boo) doesn’t imply the intention to scare anyone. In fact, it encloses the profound parental feeling that Antonio Pisaniello and his wife Jenny give to their work. Bu is in fact the nick name of young Umberto, Bu for everyone. This consecutio of belonging, maternity, nourishment has always inspired the chef from Montemarano, in Alta Irpinia. Antonio spent his teenage years in Sicily, when he hanged around his mother’s skirts happy to be involved: dishes were transformed in some sort of mess, signed by Tonino. The natural continuance of his studies should have been the hotel management school, however, due to family reasons, our chef with a naughty expression found himself in a sad institute for surveyors.
The secret “escape” to the restaurant world is almost immediate: at 16, Tonino, works in a pizzeria after school: it is then that he has his first professional meeting with dough, something which today is still at the base of his philosophy: nourishment, maternal milk, tomato pasta. Having returned to Irpinia, he convinced his father to finance his first adventure, namely Babylon, one of the first pub-pizzerias in Irpinia. After six years of experimenting Pisaniello offers his clients some personal dishes. The experiments are a success so on he goes: the first big leap. In 1996 in Ponteromito, together with his family he opened Il Gastronomo. Traditional, territorial cuisine.
Tonino doesn’t rest on his laurels, not at all. In 2003 his mind starts to stretch. He leaves for Trentino and stays at Hintner’s Zur Rose, where he “steals” the principles of high cuisine. From Trentino to New York, where he participates in an exclusive Cooking Reality Show with Rocco Di Spirito. Back home, Pisaniello takes possession of a small space where people can taste his dishes. It’s an immediate success. A few more months and he moves on: from Ponteromito to Nusco, a delightful village, awarded as one of the most beautiful villages in Italy (Cento Borghi più Belli d’Italia). Here, at Locanda di Bu, with 30 seats in a cool atmosphere, Pisaniello’s project is reinforced, merging traditional cuisine from Irpinia with the technical and material innovations he had learnt around the world: excellent – though mostly simple – raw materials from Irpinia and advanced techniques with reference to textures, service temperature and taste pairings. The passion of the boy who used to play in the kitchen prevails over all this, the mess made as a child has led to today’s star, and soon he will surprise us with a new flight “back home”.
Wine & food expert sempre alla ricerca di vini, luoghi e sapori, è free-lance in comunicazione enogastronomica e progettazione di eventi. Sommelier e Donna del Vino in Campania.
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The table set outside restaurant Dolada in Plois d'Alpago (Belluno). This is one of the destinations chosen by our food lovers in today’s survey on where to dine on Easter Day and Easter Monday (Photo Dolada/facebook)