Today we’re closing Reale for the winter break, perhaps the longest since we moved to Casadonna in 2011. We’ll reopen on March 2nd, with dinner service.
Those who know me know how hard it is for me to close for so long, but I understand that it’s necessary – and not only for recovering one’s energy and creative ‘juices’.
During this break, first I’ll travel and reflect for a while, and then, with my trusty crew, I’ll dive even deeper into the research we’ve been conducting recently. We’ve always done research, but I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that we’ve never been so focused and full of enthusiasm and ideas as in the last eight months.
This year marks in a certain sense a further, new phase for me and my whole team: synergies with nutritionists, specialists in the chemistry and physics of cooking, farmers and producers, as well as an increasingly lively exchange with customers, colleagues and children have convinced me that there’s space for upping the stakes, for pushing ourselves even further.
What interests me – and by now this is very clear – is finding the perfect balance between gastronomic pleasure and culinary elegance, between passion and technique, in keeping with two firmly established principles: Italian-ness (always the main focus, but also open to the world) and lightness. I believe that this balance can be achieved by cultivating simplicity, and this is the value that best represents me, both as a chef and as a man.
What has emerged from our work of the last several months are a number of new dishes, first and foremost Savoy Cabbage and Potato, which I’ll talk about later. I think you’ll be surprised by the studies we’re doing on vegetables and on cooking meats, and by discovering where I get my inspiration for certain recipes!
We’ve also grown a lot at the entrepreneurial level, with the opening of Bomba Napoli, Spazio Roma and Spazio Milano. We’ve signed agreements with La Sapienza University in Rome and an important hospital in the capital, where we’ll provide the food for both the cafeteria and the convalescence unit. We’re also expanding the Niko Romito Formazione school, and another major project is underway.
But the heart of it all remains Casadonna, for it is here that I will be spending most of my time – within these walls I retire, to ground myself and to decide what I want to communicate through food.
Starting with this message and then at weekly pace (biweekly during particularly busy periods), I will be publishing episodes of Laboratorio Reale, featuring updates on our research, our new dishes and projects, and reflections on what I observe around me, gastronomically and otherwise.
I’ve always chosen to take a step back and let the food do the talking, developing a type of cooking that’s apparently simple that lends itself to being appreciated, without excessive explanation, both by more educated and less expert palates, at the intuitive level. These ‘episodes’, therefore, aren’t intended as keys to resolve an enigma, but useful tools for those who wish to know more, who are looking for a richer experience, and also to clarify certain issues that are particularly dear to me.
Most of all, there will be the pleasure of sharing all of this with you, who have enthusiastically kept up with me for years.