Il Ristorante Trussardi alla Scala: Tradition Renewed

Can tradition continuously renew itself? And can regional cooking find new expressions? The food of Il Ristorante Trussardi alla Scala aims to offer flavors, stories and experiences that are a response to the idea of immutable tradition, because local culture, its aromas and characteristics rarely remain trapped within a static concept. Luigi Taglienti, Executive Chef of Il Ristorante Trussardi alla Scala, tells us about his search for a new Italian tradition.

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The Colors and Flavors of the Greyhound’s New Tradition

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Among the recipes representing the new philosophy of Il Ristorante Trussardi alla Scala, which is based on regional dishes and innovation, you'll find 'Calf's cheek with champagne, mackerel, cucumber, and black truffle'. This amazing dish created by Chef Luigi Taglienti is an innovative take on Italian tradition. The traditional references for this appetizer are meat dishes braised in wine, which is typical of the Lombardy Region and the outskirts of Milan.
Lombardy's famous braised meats were customarily served with Cremona's candied cucumber and mustard sauce. In this case, the cucumber is served in all of its natural freshness and at a temperature that makes the dish absolutely refreshing. The innovative touch is mackerel, an ingredient that pays homage to Liguria, the home of the chef.
Even the 'Cappellacci pasta filled with cabbage and pig trotters, scampi and turnip water scented with ginger' makes reference to traditional Lombardy cooking, especially the rustic Cassoeula, a typical winter dish on the Po Plains.
The hearty flavors of this traditional recipe are offset by angel hair pasta and turnip and ginger water.

Introducing Luigi Taglienti and the New Italian Tradition

Luigi Taglienti loves Parmesan risotto and prefers traditional regional Italian food to exotic ingredients. Luigi (born in Savona in 1979) began his culinary career with Ezio Santin at Antica Osteria del Ponte. His encounter with Carlo Cracco led to a professional relationship that has further honed his skills. In 2009 Taglienti was named "Young Chef of the Year" by the L'Espresso Italian Restaurant Guide. Today he is the Executive Chef of Il Ristorante Trussardi alla Scala

"Instinct and discipline are necessary for success! If you want to express your passion for cooking, you need to live and breathe it. Theory – without heart and method – isn't enough". Luigi Taglienti, who was born in 1979 and is the rising star of Italian cuisine, speaks from experience. Arriving at Il Ristorante Trussardi alla Scala in July 2012, the talented young chef has set a new course for one of the world's most famous cuisines.
“I love combining tradition and innovation, and I involve my entire team in the project. I love experimenting new recipes with them. I spend a lot of time with them because I want them to learn the skills that my teachers and master chefs in Italy and France taught me. I want to share that knowledge with them. I want to teach them how to love and work with raw materials and learn a method that makes our philosophy and name unique and recognizable."

Luigi Taglienti, who is over six feet tall and is dressed in a tie and an impeccable white chef jacket embroidered with his name, talks a little about himself.

You are in search of a new Italian cuisine based on study, tradition and experimentation. With such an important starting point, what can we expect from a Trussardi menu by Luigi Taglienti?
I love combining tradition and innovation, and I'd like our guests to remember Il Ristorante for its experimental tradition, but also for its genuine flavors.
I don't create a dish for its wow factor, but for its ability to tempt and delight the palate and heart.
I want to offer a complete sensorial experience, not just food. That's why we present extraordinary dishes – or I should say experiences – that represent the best that Italy has to offer and allow guests to discover regional differences. Globalization in food forces us to have a single supplier for raw materials. I, on the other hand, love to choose local products from people who I know personally. I believe that Italy has a rich culinary heritage that makes it a point of reference for the world. Lately, many influences from a variety of cuisines have been merged with Italian cooking. I think that Italy's new traditional cuisine is a real value that serves as a basis for creating the future. And that's what I believe I do every day in my work.

If you had choose a spice to describe the new Ristorante Trussardi alla Scala, what one would it be?
Cardamom: it's elegant and slightly spicy, and it has a lingering flavor. That's how I see the restaurant: it's elegant and slightly spicy, which means it's able to awaken the palate.

You want to update and renew the past: how do you experiment with tradition without distorting it and without ending up with the usual ordinary combinations and flavors?
I often think up a new dish on a 'theoretical' level because I thoroughly know flavors and regional culinary customs. Then I develop that idea with my team. On other occasions, the dishes are the result of a creative brainstorming session with my group. But we don't just talk about flavors and ingredients: the dish is a sensorial experience that involves both body and mind. We therefore start out with words and concepts that mean something to us, and then we translate them into a genuine language of flavors, ingredients and presentations.
At any rate, if the first try isn't satisfactory of if there is something that needs changing, we meet again, but never more than twice. If a dish 'works', it does so immediately. If it needs a lot of changes, tests and adjustments, that means that it isn't a good idea and, in that case, it's best to just move on to something else.

You're over six feet tall: you could have been a basketball player. Tell us why you became a chef and preferred the bread basket to the basketball hoop.
I was born on the Ligurian coast where my mother ran a small beach establishment. Each Sunday the menu was full of different dishes: I was surrounded by the sun, sea and extremely fresh ingredients, I immediately realized that I loved cooking, so there was never room for basketball! Plus, cooking on the court sidelines would have been very complicated - he laughs - and I wouldn't have been able to express myself.

The Il Ristorante Trussardi alla Scala menu, especially for lunch, has changed quite a bit. What's new for the business lunch?
Changes have been made, but always with extreme quality and freshness in mind.  We wanted to offer guests stopping for lunch or a snack the chance to discover the richness and variety of the entire menu. The business lunch sample menu consists of dishes that are on the à la carte menu. The food is served impeccably and at the right temperature to ensure an absolute attention to detail. We think this is a good way to introduce the entire range of Trussardi cuisine that is not just about taste, but is a global experience, at any time of day.

Gilt-head bream, gold, ginger and saffron: tradition in an elegant guise

Orata, oro, ginger e zafferano: la tradizione veste elegante

Some dishes vary with the season and others are destined to become classics of the Il Ristorante Trussardi alla Scala menu. One such recipe that stands out for its simplicity and flavor is the 'Gilt-head bream, gold, ginger and saffron' appetizer. It is literally a dazzling recipe: the flavors of the sea shine thanks to the gold that Chef Luigi Taglienti added to this dish. The idea of adding genuine edible gold leaf derives, in fact, from Trussardi's emblem, but also from the imagination of the chef, who enjoys playing with the colors and assonances of gold and gilt-head.
The great star of this appetizer – besides the precious metal – is the sea. Along with the gilt-head bream, the palate savors the taste of blended shellfish and oyster leaves, whose deep green color add a chromatic consistency to the ethereal composition of the dish. Ginger water, on the other hand, gives the dish all the freshness that one expects from seafood.
Once again, Chef Taglienti's creativity derives from his Ligurian origins and his knowledge of the area. Gilt-head bream, which is only fished in the Liguria Region, represents the origins of the chef while deep, golden saffron directly refers to Lombardy's traditional saffron risotto. This appetizer created by Chef Taglienti is a marvelous dish with very simple flavors and colors that accentuate the ingredients and their freshness.