Despite of his considerable body size, that Gennarino nickname (little Gennaro) with whom he is called by everyone in Italy and abroad makes perhaps more than anything else the sense of his kitchen, as well as his beautiful face always smiling, never a wrinkle, or one grim look, or a tone of high voice, or a hint of nervousness. Because the kitchen of Gennarino Esposito (a super celebrated Chef “decorated with two Michelin stars”, one of the most sought-after Italian chefs in the world) conquers the most refined palates with his jolly, childish charm, which originates from the daily discovery of the most genuine flavours.
From the Torre del Saracino to Seiano (a fraction of Vico Equense located on the Sorrento Coast), “Gennarino TV star and food and wine stories” never fails to look at the sea of the Gulf of Naples, providing everyday the intense flavours of a fruit drenched in rituals of an old tradition. And looking towards the ground, you find the fertile lands of the Vesuvian slopes where vegetables are blessed with mineral salts brought to the land by volcanic eruptions. And proceeding, ideally high up, the Lattari Mountains stand out, with their uncontaminated pastures already celebrated in the 2nd century AD. from a Greek physician and philosopher, Claudio Galeno, who exalted the goodness and the healing properties of milk and cheese produced by shepherds who lived on Lactaria Montes, where it seems that time has stopped, where, today as yesterday, many small-scale producers give life to real gastronomic treasures as the Fior di Latte of Agerola or the Provolone del Monaco and old-fashioned sausages sought-after on the market.
An almost religious ritual is daily celebrated in the restaurant of Gennarino Esposito, trained at the school of Gianfranco Vissani where he realized that the creative ability passes through a communion of thought that leaves nothing to chance, metabolizing emotions and sensations inside the mind and finally transferring them to the worktop, afterwards Gennarino goes learning with the prestigious French Alain Ducasse, in the kitchens of the Plaza a Athénée in Paris and Le Louis XV in Montecarlo where he eventually acquires the rigor that he needs to add to his natural intuitions in order to become a great international chef. An ancient ritual of return to the origins, an emotional journey within the memory. “In my job – he likes to say – forgetting one’s origins is a” mortal sin “, a gesture of pride that also precludes the possibility of future discoveries. Everyone should remember that. ”
And from that memory come to life dishes that represent the new school as the Parmigiana flagfish 80-year-old olive soup and fennel purée, the Fennel Ricotta Soup with red mullet, the Corbara orange Soup with green river chilli pepper stuffed with Murena calamari and bottarga, or the Risotto with coppery onion of Montoro, White Smoked Sauro crispy seaweed with lemon and chilli scent or even Laticauda (a local sheep raised in small flocks that normally do not exceed 20 heads) with caramelized nocerino cipagne cream and black olive tapenade.
So here is the secret of the success that led him to the Michelin stars, to the three forks of the Gambero Rosso, to being proclaimed in 2011 “Best Italian Chef of the Year” by the gastronomic congress “Identità Golose”, to become a judge of the Master Chef TV program: the kitchen of the Tower is made of harmonious contrasts: on the one hand the seasonality and the territory, on the other hand the imagination and the research: on the one side the sea in which it was born, that of the Gulf of Naples and that of the Gulf of Salerno, with their ancient history, with their sapidity and their freshness, on the other side there is the land, that of the Sorrento Peninsula, of the Lattari Mountains, that of the Vesuvian slopes with their at times sour taste and their strong character .
All of this is Gennarino Esposito, son and celebrant at the same time of a generous land that has given a lot throughout history and much has yet to give to catering at both national and international level. It is worth closing with the words of Gennarino: “When you’ll taste in my kitchen the pulp of a sea urchin, the ricotta of a fuscella, the mixed pasta, the leaf of a courgette, a pea-pod, a small rockfish, lemon, provola and even rice and oyster, which do not belong to this territory, in that moment you’ll be eating my history but also my personal research of the new.”
°° Translated from Italian to English by Gerardo Iannacci, email: firstname.lastname@example.org