Chef Enrico Crippa Interview:
White Truffles, Barolo
& Michelin Stars

Love Italian Life Profile

Name: Enrico Crippa
Place of birth: Carate Brianza, Italy
Born: November 25 1971
Restaurant: Piazza Duomo
Michelin-stars: three

Italian Chef Enrico Crippa and his three Michelin starred restaurant Piazza Duomo in Alba won The Best Contemporary Restaurant in Piedmont at The Love Italian Life 2018 Awards Ceremony in Dublin last year. 

Piazza Duomo has been on the San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants list since 2013.

Enrico Crippa was born in Carate Brianza in 1971 and was famously an apprentice in the historic Milanese restaurant of Gualtiero Marchesi. He then went on to work with some of the leading chefs in Europe including Antoine Westermann at Buerehiesel in Strasbourg, Michel Bras in Laguiole and Ferran Adria at El Bulli in Roses.

In 1996 he began in restaurant Kobe of Gualtiero Marchesi and remained in Japan at the Rhiga Royal Hotel in Osaka until 1999. Through this experience he developed a profound appreciation for the simplicity and elegance of Japanese cuisine. He returned to Italy in 2003 who with the Ceretto family they launched Ristorante Piazza Duomo in Alba, Piedmont.

The Piedmont region is regarded by many as one of the true gastronomic wonders of Italy. The Alba province is known famously for being home to some of the most sought after white truffles in the world which nicely compliment local pasta specialities including ‘tagliatelli’ and ‘agnolotti’. Other unique dishes include ‘bagna caoda’, the popular meat dish ‘brasato al barolo’ and ‘piedmonte risotti’ made with local cheeses, freshwater fish and mushrooms. Exceptional wines in the region include Nebbiolo, Barolo, Barbera and Barbaresco which pair nicely with local cheeses such as like Taleggio, Bettelmatt, Castelmagno and Robiola di Roccaverano.

The signature dish of Enrico is a salad named ’21, 31, 41′ which is the number of edible flowers that are available in the dish (the numbers increase over the year when there are more flowers to add to the dish). The flowers originate from a private garden owned by the Ceretto family where Enrico famously heads each morning to handpick the various flowers as well as fresh vegetables for his other dishes at the restaurant.

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

Love Italian Life: What does it mean to you to know that the public of Italy and Europe voted Piazza Duomo as the winner of The Best Contemporary Restaurant in Piedmont 2018 award last year?

Enrico Crippa: I think that being considered the best contemporary restaurant in the region where I work every day is a great achievement, this is the region that in some ways adopted me many years ago, so it’s a privilege. It’s a very important achievement for us, food culture is so important in Piemonte and for me it’s a challenge to make contemporary food in such a traditional region.

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

Enrico Crippa: It was my grandfather that inspired me to cook, every day when I came home from school I watched him while he cooked my lunch. To see this man preparing such lovely food for me each day was moving.

 

“Food culture is so important in Piedmont and for me it’s a challenge to make contemporary food in such a traditional region.”

 

One of the Insalata signature dishes of Enrico Crippa_love italian life
One of the Insalata signature dishes of Enrico Crippa in Piazza Duomo in Alba, Piedmont.

Love Italian Life: Why is the region of Piedmont so special to you?

Enrico Crippa: It’s special because I’ve lived here for almost 15 years, it’s home. And for me as a chef it is even more important because here you can find a lot of raw materials which are of the finest quality. These include the famous white truffles of Alba, the cardoon, cheese and various incredible meats.

Piazza Duomo in Alba, Piedmont (credit Stefania Spadoni) love italian life
Piazza Duomo in Alba, Piedmont (credit Stefania Spadoni)

Love Italian Life: What have been the most important lessons learned from Gualtiero Marchesi that have impacted your career the most?

Enrico Crippa:  The concept of organisation and the rules that must be enforced in the kitchen.

Love Italian Life: What is it about Japanese cuisine that fascinates you so much?

Enrico Crippa: So many elements of Japanese cuisine fascinate me but most of all it is the importance of plating and the highly recognisable tastes that are found in their incredible food dishes.

 

“The best advice I can give to young people who want to become chefs is to be passionate every day in what they do.”

 

Love Italian Life:You famously are one of the only three Michelin Starred chefs in the world who does not engage much with social media. In your experience what are the benefits to other chefs who take a similar approach?

Enrico Crippa: I think that the benefits of acting like that have a much more closer connection to my guests. Knowing their tastes and preparing something special for them to enjoy at all times which they capture as digital memories is important – this is why they come back to the restaurant.

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

Enrico Crippa: The best advice I can give to young people who want to become chefs is to be passionate every day in what they do. They should never lose their love for this job because it’s an hard one and can always be managed better with pure passion.

Enrico Crippa Video Gallery