My first experience in a Michelin starred restaurant was at the Sicilian restaurant “Madia” which is driven by chef Pino Cuttaia.
Before this experience I used to imagine that inside these kind of kitchens every move is precise and calculated; like in a fencing duel, no one would execute unnecessary moves because attention to detail is everything.
I was partially right.
Without a doubt, the technical aspect at Madia is of a very high level but when I think about chef Pino Cuttaia, the technical aspect is not the first and only thing that comes to my mind. He isn’t a chef that delegates everything to his team just to concentrate in other matters, on the contrary, he’s always present in the kitchen and if necessary takes on the role of station chef.
For my good fortune, upon my arrival the chef was in charge of the antipasti and dolci
But what really stroke me, as I wrote before, wasn’t his stunning precision but his innocence. When the chef cooked I didn’t have an impression of witnessing an execution of refined technique, on the contrary, he looked like a baby playing with food and when the idea inside his mind started to take form, his gaze was of a milk drunk baby who found something good: innocent, happy and astonished.
The first time I witnessed this scene was while preparing a sauce. I wouldn’t think that haute cuisine could be done that way, specially if you take into consideration all the attention that you should give to the preparation of any sauce; but this chef with his apparent baby-like body language cooks it way better than mine.
Playfulness and memories are two essential aspects of Pino Cuttaia’s cuisine, watch him cooking you would understand that this is his true approach to food.