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Love Italian Life Profile
Name: Mauro Uliassi
Place of birth: Senigallia, Italy
Meet chef Mauro Uliassi of Uliassi on the coastal resort of Senigallia in Marche which was recently awarded its third Michelin star, 18 years after its first and nine after its second.
It is now two years in a row that an Italian restaurant has made it onto the elite list of the world’s highest-rated Michelin Starred locations, after Executive Chef Norbert Niederkofler of South Tyrol’s St. Hubertus achieved their third star the previous year.
Famous for having one of the most diverse seafood menus in Italy – Mauro opened the restaurant with his sister Catia in 1990 and worked incredibly hard to make it one of the leading Gastronomic delights the Adriatic coast has to offer.
Mauro has a refined culinary skill of combining tradition with coastal memories of his life via a contemporary filter of innovation.
Mauro Uliassi and Uliassi won the The Best Contemporary Italian Restaurant in Marche 2018 award at The Love Italian Life 2018 Awards Ceremony in Dublin.
Here is the exclusive interview between Love Italian Life and Mauro:
Love Italian Life:What is your earliest memory of cooking in Italy and what did you make?
Mauro Uliassi:I cooked my first dish on Easter Sunday in 1975 for my family which was stuffed pigeon with baked potatoes. I must say that from then I was very committed as I was so satisfied with the result.
Love Italian Life: Why do you think people are fascinated by Italy, its culture and food?
Mauro Uliassi:People are fascinated by food in general, because food is pleasure. It is a pleasure similar to the erotic kind. Food and sex are the 2 unique activities that involve all 5 senses. “MMMMMM” is like an orgasm to your collective palate some might say. Italian culture contains over two thousand years of history. Italy is a land blessed by the gods, because it is geographically placed at the centre of the Mediterranean with a microclimate that is very unique in the world with historical periods in constant evolution. Everywhere we turn, there are incredible goods of value that have international interest showcasing the artistic culture of Italy in depth. The land of extraordinary fruit and vegetables that nobody else has in the world creates charm – it is our story and It is what we represent.
“Without tradition there is no change, without betrayal there is no modernity and innovation”.
Love Italian Life:You are very proud of your origins and of Italia. Why is it that so many of your colleagues in Italy go abroad to become chefs outside the country?
Mauro Uliassi:I do not know maybe it’s just a matter of opportunity. I was lucky enough to develop my career in my Italian city that I love so dearly where my work has taken me around the world. If I had another 25 \ 30 years now maybe I would go to Asia, America or northern Europe. At the moment it is more difficult to succeed in Italy than it was 30 years ago.
Love Italian Life:How would you describe your philosophy to Italian food?
Mauro Uliassi: Our kitchen is a modern and contemporary kitchen living in 2018 using all the techniques and technologies available within the market today but at the same time it is a cuisine that has its roots in tradition. It is a tradition that must be betrayed, a tradition which is always moving, influenced by what surrounds it from our experiences while at the same time combining innovation. With the process of evolution and the history behind it, it always passes through the dynamics of traditional betrayal. Without tradition there is no change, without betrayal there is no modernity and innovation.
Love Italian Life:What’s the inspiration behind your dishes?
Mauro Uliassi:Our restaurant is located in the area of Senigallia Porto right on the pier, along the river facing the beach which is beautiful in all seasons and strongly influenced by what we see and breathe. The fascination of the view from the sea whipped by the wind and waves that run along the quay and the seagulls standing still on impassive rocks in the cold erotic smell of algae in turmoil from smoking ports are traits that belong to us. Just as the smell belongs to us from the burnt earth after a rainstorm, the smell of the sunny gardens and scent of surrounding country houses infusing the taste of a fireplace and beeswax is also an inspiration of the senses. The perception of the earth combined with the sea deeply marks our culture and even from a gastronomic point of view there is a common thread in the various ways of thinking about food which is a continuous mixture of land and sea. The so-called “Sea-Mountains” cuisine is not an invention of an imaginative cook but is precisely the memory from the humble diet of coastal inhabitants including a vast history of farmers and fisherman. Within this context, professional chefs have an incessant and maniacal search for perfection in the domain of taste by hooking up to memories to explore the unexplored with a constant reference to the known and unknown.
“The so-called “Sea-Mountains” cuisine is not an invention of an imaginative cook but is precisely the memory from the humble diet of coastal inhabitants”.
Love Italian Life:What is the secret of your success?
Mauro Uliassi:Forget about both successes and failures. You have 24 hours to enjoy or 24 hours to cry – then you can look ahead.
Love Italian Life: What Italian dish is in your heart and why?
Mauro Uliassi:I do not have a favourite dish, the dish I prefer is always my last creation.
Love Italian Life: What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of coming into the industry as a chef?
Mauro Uliassi:To understand if for that person – is becoming a chef really his true talent. Passion is often thought of as a necessity. Passion is important, but it is not the first element. For example I can be passionate about tennis, but I will never become a champion because I do not have the talent. Talent is what each of us naturally has inside us. If you have this talent it is possible and if you receive gratification with it, you can also be passionate about it. I would say this to a young chef: try to understand if what you do is easily good for you – if it is then it is your talent.
Love Italian Life: For anyone who hasn’t eaten in Uliassi before, how would you sum up the dining experience?
Mauro Uliassi:I don’t know as it’s hard to tell anyone who has never been to our restaurant what experience it will be. I can say that we always do everything to please and entertain our guests and that if they come – they will not regret it. Our intention is to always make a memorable experience for you.
Love Italian Life: In your expert opinion, what will the future of Italian cuisine look like?
Mauro Uliassi:It is certainly bright. With so much liquidity in the world across sectors such as finance and real estate – above all there is a great focus in the food sector now. Based on geographical characteristics, we are the country of agricultural food excellence.
Love Italian Life: For most of your life you have always cooked for other people, but can you tell our community what the real Mauro Uliassi loves to eat?