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Daniele Usai Interview:
Love Italian Life Profile
Name: Daniele Usai
Place of birth: Ostia, Lazio, Italy
Restaurant: Il Tino
Daniele Usai has received the coveted Michelin star for his award winning restaurant, Il Tino in Rome and has a wealth of experience with some of the leading restaurants in Italy and the UK. He has worked with some of the most successful restaurant entrepreneurs in the world including the late Antonio Carluccio in Covent Garden.
All of this experience has helped Daniele to offer his own unique style of Italian cuisine with a heavy emphasis on an exotic blend of fresh ingredients and spices.
Love Italian Life recently had the opportunity to interview Daniele:
Daniele Usai and Il Tino won the The Best Contemporary Italian Restaurant in Lazio award at The Love Italian Life 2018 Awards in Dublin.
Here is the exclusive interview between Love Italian Life and Daniele:
Love Italian Life:What are the ingredients that make an Italian restaurant truly contemporary in the Italy of today?
Daniele Usai:I feel the force of Italian cuisine is to be faithful to tradition but to take an approach that also looks to the future. We shouldn’t forget the taste, the smell and magic from the dishes of our grandmothers…this is just the starting point to develop new recipes using new skills and techniques.
I would love to imagine that we have the chance and responsibility to write a new chapter of Italian cuisine. My concept of this is to transform the raw materials of my territory into great dishes supported by the knowledge I have achieved in my 26 year career.
I hope that one day in the future one of my dishes will be taken as inspiration for the next generation of Italian chefs.
Love Italian Life: What exactly inspired Daniele Usai to be passionate about food and become a chef?
Daniele Usai:In the very beginning of my career, I was inspired by my mother and my grandmother, both of whom are great cooks. Then as my career progressed I took inspiration from everything that surrounded me such as colleagues in the kitchen, a local marketplace, seasons etc.
“I believe that their is a clear connection for regions to use seasonal as well as local ingredients”.
Love Italian Life:What do you think is the secret of your success?
Daniele Usai:I would have to say it comes down to pure passion and consistency within my profession.
Love Italian Life:Why is food so important in Italy?
Daniele Usai: Because food in Italy is part of an ingrained culture that has a proud history of thousands and thousands of years of tradition.
Love Italian Life:Do you think we have lost touch with the ‘dining table’ as it were, preferring instead to eat meals on the go or in front of the television?
Daniele Usai:In Italy this simply does not happen – in fact dinner and mealtimes in general are still considered a ritual of of sharing time with your family and being intimate.
“I feel the force of Italian cuisine is to be faithful to tradition but to take an approach that also looks to the future”.
Love Italian Life:What are the store-cupboard essentials that all great Italian chefs should make sure they have in their kitchen?
Daniele Usai:One thing that should never be lacking in any kitchen of a great Chef is extra virgin olive Oil – God help you if you don’t have this!
Love Italian Life: In your opinion what are the links between the different regions in Italy and their unique styles of cooking?
Daniele Usai:I believe that there is a clear connection for regions to use seasonal as well as local ingredients, with most food preparation being homemade. These are the common traits within every major city in Italy.
Love Italian Life: What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of coming into the industry as a chef interested in Italian Cuisine?
Daniele Usai:I would advise he or she to be totally sure that they have the motivation and drive to succeed as a chef, because the best job in the world is also the hardest job in the world.
Daniele Usai is a nominee for the Love Italian Life ‘Best Italian Chef in Europe Awards 2018’. His restaurant ‘Il Tino’ is also nominated for the ‘Best Contemporary Italian Restaurant in Lazio Award 2018’ which is the first regional round of the national ‘Best Contemporary Italian Restaurant in Italy Awards 2018’.