Interview of:

Gennaro Esposito

Chef

From Realtà Mapei International n° 73 - 4/5/2019

The ingredients for a smooth-running kitchen

The Chef, Gennaro Esposito, talks about his work and his professional kitchen.

Gennaro Esposito is a famous face on Italian TV after taking part in a number of cookery programs.

Born in 1970, after attending catering school and a course run by chef Gianfranco Vissani, Mr Esposito opened Torrre del Saracino Restaurant in Vico Equense.

He received his first Michelin star in 2001 and began working with Alain Ducasse and Franck Cerutti. He was then awarded a second Michelin star in 2008.

In 2011 the Italian magazine Identità Golose chose him as the “Best Italian Chef of the Year” and the Italian food and wine guide Gambero Rosso included him among their top three Italian chefs. His cuisine draws on local produce from a territory in Southern Italy that stands out for its biodiversity.

 

A restaurant’s kitchen can be compared to a car’s engine, whose smooth running is largely responsible for the results it achieves. True or false?

Absolutely true, the kitchen is the hub of a restaurant just like a car’s engine. Of course, a good kitchen is not enough on its own, but without it the car would never… even get started. I am the driver, but my team and the front-of-house staff are crucial for ensuring we all travel in the same direction.

 

In your experience, what do you need to create a kitchen that really represents its chef?

The kitchen must identify with the chef using it.

First and foremost, it must be user-friendly, because, in my view, technique and timing are crucial and so you must be able to work with precision, ease and speed.

 

 

 

Can a professional kitchen be designed exclusively by an architect or is the chef’s contribution also vital?

The chef can allow the designer to…. make the engine work. Obviously, the designer of a structure must be perfectly familiar with the structure itself to make it the best it can be.

 

How important is the concept of the front-of-house and reception of a restaurant compared to the kitchen, and why is it important?

Our work in the kitchen is enhanced by the way the front-of-house looks and how well people are welcomed into the restaurant. The two things are closely connected. Guaranteeing diners really enjoy their food means providing them with more than just a culinary experience.

 

Is a well-structured kitchen “just” a matter of setting out the utensils and worktops or does it also involve the proper management of a professional work environment?

Both things are important and affect each other, because working in a comfortable setting facilitates interpersonal relations. The kitchen staff are like a ship’s crew, they need a good skipper and must work well together.

 

In terms of hygiene and cleanliness, how much do cutting-edge building products and technology count in constructing a kitchen?

I think they provide a crucial contribution to the smooth-working and maintenance of a kitchen that meets the chef’s miscellaneous needs. A clean and hygienic work environment is vital.

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