Hotel Rome Cavalieri
via Alberto Cadlolo, 101
In a world in which only chefs can have the ambition of becoming stars, try to think how hard it is being a quality brand on the other side of the stove. That is to say, on the side of the guests. Umberto Giraudo, however, is succeeding. A little over forty, he’s already reached the top in his category, namely service, an art which, in our country, can boast a great past (see Luigi Carnacina) and a very bad present, since it is erroneously thought, over here, that what counts is only what is on the plate.
Giraudo is the first violin in the large orchestra playing, every night, on the rooftop of the Rome Cavalieri hotel, at La Pergola, directed by Heinz Beck. Who, it needs to be said, more than any other starred chef has always been careful to underline the importance of his team for his successes. And for Umberto, the Bavarian chef has always felt a special love, always had a kind word, even thanks to a more than decennial collaboration; when recently some health problems had kept Giraudo away from work, Beck never neglected to publicly ask to applaud him.
Umberto is the restaurant manager, that is to say the landlord. He’s a sort of super-maître, who almost seems like a superhero and in a way he is. And his peaceful smile, his suave behaviour, his subtle voice in a sector in which noisy communication triumphs are at the same time both true and misleading.
We don’t make a mistake if we match the word “vocation” with Giraudo. Born with the dream of directing a big hotel, Giraudo has experienced all the facets of service: he embarked on tourist ships when he was very young, from which he came back full of experience and tales (after all, a cruising youth characterised the life of many, in our country), then attended Alain Ducasse’s academy, for whom he worked first in Monte Carlo and then in Paris. His smile vanishes every time you ask him to comment on the state of the art in Italian dining rooms. It comes back, straight away, when he lists the tools of his job: the savoir faire, the modesty, the accurate knowledge of every ingredient... it’s an art that becomes a science, one that he loves to perfect and teach.
Born in Rome in 1971, he graduated from the hospitality management institute and meanwhile began to gain work experience on board of the Costa cruise-ships. He then moved to France, where he worked for 7 years in Alain Ducasse’s restaurants in Monte Carlo and Paris. In 1999 he landed in the court of Heinz Beck at La Pergola. Maître of the year for Guida l’Espresso in 2001, Cavaliere dell’Ordine di Malta della Repubblica Italiana in 2005, Best maître in 2008 for the premio Veronelli and, in 2012, awarded with the Grand Prix de l’Art de la Salle
Roman, now living in Milan, sommelier, he's reporter of Il Giornale. He's been writing about taste for years
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Left to right, Alain Ducasse posing in front of the Comandante's pass, Stéphane Petit, who will lead the Ristorante Alain Ducasse in Rome, and Salvatore Bianco, the Comandante's executive. All photos from Paolo Marchi
The programme of the 15th edition of the Identità Milano Congress will include many new speakers as well as many returns. Here are the highlights of the three days, taking place in the spring, for the first time, on March 23rd-25th. The complete programme is available online in the new section of the website, dedicated to the Congress
Antonio Santini, pillar at Dal Pescatore in Canneto sull'Oglio (Mantua) and master of ceremonies at the first edition of Identità di Sala – Identità in the Dining Room, a whole day dedicated to maîtres and sommeliers which took place last February 10th within Identità Milano. With an encore in 2014 (photo by Brambilla/Serrani)