Among his cult dishes we find the fish parmesan (you will find the recipe of the chef in the next post), the smoked made directly by him, the pasta to the Carter made with a base of garlic and oil, the capers of Salina and carrot juice that , thanks to the SU sweetness, it dampens the salinity of the caper creating a wonderful contrast, completes the dish a tuna tartar and finally, the Polpoarrostito on Macco of Broad Fava of Leonforte (Presidium Slow Food) and Air Dinero d’avola (also of this dish the chef there He kindly gave the recipe that we will find in the post to come).
From today, I have the wonderful opportunity to collaborate with the F.I.C. (Italian Federation cooks) that will lead us to discover some of the best chefs in the area and their wonderful dishes. A unique experience that allows me to increase the notions of cooking through a day spent with the chefs engaged in pursuing a territorial cuisine that represents, however sometimes neglected by the chronicles, the real gastronomic heritage of Our nation.
The first chef we will know, is the Patron of the restaurant 4.20 (Four Winds) of Palermo; Chef Filippo Ventimiglia, who will tell us his story and teach us to prepare two of his most famous dishes.
The passion of our Chef was born as a child while he dabbled in observing his mother and grandmother during the realization of their dishes. Although he did not interact directly with the dish, he unconsciously assimilated the first notions from the popular cuisine of Palermo. It moves its first steps in the kitchen at the age of 16 years, with the Aeolian Islands. The most important experiences that have formed him, have been at several luxury restaurants like the two years in Venice, where he worked in the restaurant of the Hotel Gritti Palace (5 * luxury), one of the most luxurious and prestigious hotel in the lagoon, one Stage at the restaurant San Domenico in Imola (two Michelin stars) and a collaboration with the Bye Bye Blues of Mondello (a Michelin star). He then traveled extensively and collaborated with various different genre venues that enriched his cultural background. Finally, he became ambassador of our cuisine abroad and more specifically in England.
For Ventimiglia being a Chef means mainly being a guide and a leader who hands down his philosophy of work to his collaborators. Try to be an example for them to encourage them to always do their best. He likes to call himself a good cook more than a chef, at the head of a small brigade (with many of whom he has been collaborating for more than six years), always trying to make a difference in the territory.
Its cuisine is a cuisine strictly linked to the territory. Modern but born on the basis of what is traditional Sicilian cuisine. Reinterpreted, unstructured and revisited but always leaving the taste of the original dish unchanged. This means that those who enjoy it can remember an ancient taste that has been forgotten. The Chef calls it “a kitchen of Memories”. The products used in its kitchen, as well as the wines of its restaurant, belong exclusively to its land, Sicily. The fish is caught in the Gulf of Palermo, the meat comes from local farms, animals born and grown in Sicily, a real selection of the product of absolute quality.
I asked Chef Philip if he was interested in appearing to be quoted in a great guide like that Michelin and he said that saying that you are not interested in the famous Michelin stars would just hide your ambitions, think it’s a great Recognition for those who work so much hours in a restaurant with dedication and dedication. Jokingly he always says that he hopes to receive, for his fortieth birthday, his first star. He still has six years to succeed in his intent and judging from his dishes is not very far from success.
One of the Chef’s favorite ingredients, is the lemon zest that allows him to make the scent of his land feel in every capacity. What will never fail in his plate, is the study of the same for its realization and the ingredients and flavors of its land. Each pairing must not contain more than three or four ingredients. It is very important the harmony of the latter, so you can distinguish them distinctly.
In a country where on Sundays one feels all football coaches, by now, accomplices the broadcasts that speak constantly about cooking, all have become also of the star chefs. Customers have become more demanding but Chef Ventimiglia does not feel “threatened” by this escalation of “culinary skills” in fact, he claims that customers now understand even more what he does, they know better both the quality and the raw material itself. If today we talk about dwarf or Carnaroli, almost everyone knows that they are among the best qualities of rice. Both the work it does and the development of its dishes, have therefore not resented.
I asked the Chef Ventimiglia if he preferred the sweet or the salty and without blinking he replied that he prefers salty. In his restaurant is all Home Made, from baking to desserts. A friend of his, jokingly, always told him that finding a chef who makes the pie maker is always an added value but the Cook is born cook and the pastry chef.
I thank the Chef Filippo Ventimiglia for the pleasant chat and for his valuable recipes that will be post later. I also thank him for the culinary advice and for showing me how to make some great dishes.
If you pass by Palermo, take a trip to his restaurant and do not miss the opportunity to savor its colorful dishes, tasty and unique.