Chef Name: Niko Romito
Title: Chef Patron.
Awards: Three Michelin stars.
#43 on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list.
Five Hats and “Dish of the year” 2017 (Espresso Guide).
19.5 points and Performance of the Year 2015 (Espresso Guide).
Three forks, Gambero Rosso.
Third best Italian score (Michelin/Espresso/Gambero Rosso Guides) 2012.
Chef of the Year (Identità Golose) 2011.
Lunch of the Year (Espresso Guide).
How old were you when you started cooking professionally?
What’s your earliest and fondest first memory of food?
My earliest memories date back to when my father opened his first pastry shop in Rivisondoli, which was converted thirty years later into a restaurant – the original “Reale”. One of my father’s favourite desserts, bomba (a krapfen-like pastry) still plays a very important role in my future projects today.
Which chefs inspire you most and why?
René Redzepi, because of the incredible research that he puts into all of his dishes, the consistency of his cooking philosophy reflected in his work and all the elements of his cuisine.
What are your two favourite cookbooks and why?
Sous-Vide Cuisine by Joan Roca.
Il grande solista della cucina italiana by Fulvio Pierangelini.
Which two ingredients could you not live without?
Research and passion.
What is your favourite comfort food to cook at home?
If you could eat at any Michelin star restaurant in the world today, where would it be and why?
I would go to Michel Bras’ restaurant. I admire his work, especially with vegetables, and the isolation from the big cities and circuits reminds me of Casadonna and my restaurant Reale.
And who would you take as your guest?
My kitchen crew.
What do you look for in a good chef?
Culture, curiosity, vision.
What advice would you give to chefs starting their career paths now?
To follow a path that starts from the gastronomic tradition. Not to undervalue or underestimate the domestic cooking, the old-fashioned trattoria style. The more I grow old, the more I realize that those bases are fundamental. My biggest inspirations come from the domestic kitchen because in my cooking philosophy the ingredient is always the protagonist.
Chef Niko Romito is Chef Patron at Reale Restaurant.
Address: Piana Santa Liberata, Castel di Sangro AQ, Italy.
Telephone: +39 0864 69382