Chef Chiara Pavan Interview:

The Bright Future
of Female Chefs

Love Italian Life Profile

Name: Chiara Pavan
Place of birth: Verona, Italy
Born: 1985
Restaurant: Venissa
Michelin stars: one

According to Eater.com less than 30% of restaurants across Europe including Italy, the UK and Ireland employ female chefs in their kitchens.

Meet Chiara Pavan from Verona who is looking to change that trend.

“I dream of a future in which there will no longer be such gender distinctions – especially in the kitchen” Chiara sincerely tells us. 

The young female Italian Chef heads up the Michelin starred restaurant Venissa in Mazzorbo, Veneto and was just nominated for The Best Female Italian Chef in Europe 2019 category at The Love Italian Life 2019 Awards Ceremony taking place in Dublin later this year.

Last year L’Espresso which was founded in 1978 and is the most respected annual restaurant guide in Italy awarded Chiara the best chef of the year prize.

Chiara, born in 1985 went on to study philosophy at the University of Pisa. At the age of 20 she began working in the kitchen then after graduating she made it a lifestyle choice by beginning her culinary studies at ALMA. This is the world renowned International School of Italian Cuisine in Parma founded by Gultiero Marchesi who is regarded as one of the greatest Italian chefs in history.

The young chef went on work in some of the most respected kitchens in Italy including two years at Zum Löwen Tesimo in Alto Adige and then as a sous chef at the two Michelin starred Da Caino in Tuscany. The Tuscan restaurant is led by Valeria Piccini who is another female powerhouse in Italian fine dining since taking over the kitchen in the 1980s.

 

Chef Chiara Pavan | Venissa | The Love Italian Life Awards
Chef Chiara Pavan with Chef Francesco Brutto of Venissa

Then in 2016 the owner of Venissa Matteo Bisol approached Chiara where she joined as an executive chef. The cuisine of Pavan is dominated by the rich choice of natural ingredients located in the town of Mazzorbo where the restaurant is based with a rich farming history. Just beside the town is Sant’Erasmo known as “the vegetable garden of Venice”.

From fresh pumpkin to sunflower seeds, carrots, wild fruits, porcini mushrooms and black truffles – it is a food playground for Chiara to source her recipes from. Referred to as the ‘Venetian Lagoon’ – a long wooden bridge connects the island of Burano and Mazzorbo making it a magical place that is so close to frenetic Venice but is ultimately so refreshingly different because of the peaceful ambience it embodies.

By using artisan products from local farmers and producers Chiara has crafted her own identity by fusing her own unique style, energy, and passion into her innovative dishes at Venissa.

Here is the exclusive interview between Chiara and The Love Italian Life Awards:

Love Italian Life: What does it mean to you to know that you have been nominated in The Best Female Italian Chef in Europe category at The Love Italian Life 2019 Awards?

Chiara Pavan: It’s an honour for me!

 

Chef Chiara Pavan of Venissa
Chef Chiara Pavan of Venissa

Love Italian Life: What do you think the Italian restaurant industry can do to help empower more female Italian chefs?

Chiara Pavan: They should improve working conditions for women such as better job contracts and help for those who want to be mothers as well. I have always worked with female chefs and I prefer kitchens in which they hold important positions. 

 

“Every kind of ingredient must respect ethical values and the key is to understand how we use those ingredients.”

 

Venissa Dish | Leccia marinata e affumicata, insalata di terra e di mare, lime
Venissa Dish | Leccia marinata e affumicata, insalata di terra e di mare, lime

Love Italian Life: What exactly inspired Chiara Pavan to be passionate about food and become a chef?

Chiara Pavan: I’ve always been passionate about food and was a great eater as a child. It was a natural choice where I just decided to dedicate my life to my most important passion – food.

 

Venissa | Mazzorbo, Veneto
Venissa | Mazzorbo, Veneto

Love Italian Life: What are the ingredients that make an Italian restaurant truly contemporary today?

Chiara Pavan:  Every kind of ingredient must respect ethical values and the key is to understand how we use those ingredients. For me there are three simple rules to follow: 1) Be clear and essential 2) Make the flavours very distinct and recognizable 3) Tell the story of your local landscape and ecosystem.

Love Italian Life: In your opinion what are the store-cupboard essentials that all great Italian chefs should make sure they have in their kitchen?

Chiara Pavan: Vegetables, olive oil and flour!

 

“The food is the complimentary part that tries to increase the overall unique experience through great flavours, products and colours.”

 

Love Italian Life: What childhood dish means something to you and why?

Chiara Pavan: Rice and milk! I used to love this dish so much because my father often made it for me. It was such a comfort because of the great flavour as well as the white colour of the dish which was amazing to me.

Love Italian Life: What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of coming into the industry as a young chef?

Chiara Pavan: It’s a hard job where you must be sure you can tolerate lots of hours working around the clock. Most importantly you must love food more than anything else.

Love Italian Life: For anyone who hasn’t eaten in Venissa before, how would you sum up the dining experience?

Chiara Pavan: The experience is about the atmosphere, the garden, the nature and the serene landscape. The food is the complimentary part that tries to increase the overall unique experience through great flavours, products and colours.

Venissa Video Gallery