Bruno Barbieri: “Cruise ships, a great school”

Bruno Barbieri: “Cruise ships, a great school”

Hundreds of people lined up waiting their turn to meet one of Italy’s most talented and famous chefs. Bruno Barbieri(a curriculum which, in addition to TV, has earned him Michelin stars in four of his restaurants, classifying him among the most starred chefs in Italy) on Wednesday afternoon, on board the Costa Smeraldathe “third stage” of Sanremo Festivalmet fans on the way to the City of Flowers.

He is the signature of one of the three starred tasting menus present in the restaurant Archipelagoa haute cuisine location on ships Costa Smeralda And Tuscanythe flagships of the line.

Sanremo, remember Barbers, has been present since his childhood memories, when he and his grandmother listened to it on the radio “because we didn’t have a TV. The festival thus passed without filters, without distractions.”

A bit like his cuisine, which manages to touch the most demanding and curious palates without ever losing its essence and authenticity. Dishes that remain in the memory, like a famous song from the festival. How to get to this?

“With experience, knowing how to play with flavours, sweet, savory, in a game of balance that makes a dish memorable. It’s difficult for a chef to do with a dish what you can do with a song. The song remains, the food is something that is assimilated. Yet with some tricks and intuitions it is possible, knowing how to mix flavors, creating sensations that make a dish remain in the memory.”

And how is a starred menu created for a cruise ship?

“You must first understand the raw material you are using, think about quantities and products that can sustainably handle large numbers. Times and cooking times also need to be evaluated. Another aspect to consider is that chefs from all over the world work in the kitchen here, and for us Italian chefs it is essential to make people understand our traditions and the type of work that certain preparations require. On board the Italian chefs are doing a great job to make our gastronomic culture understood and transmitted.”

Your career began on cruise ships: what kind of school was it?

“A great school, which allowed me to get to where I am today. I started on cruise ships in the early 1980s. The ship was an important school: back then they still worked with the French method. In gastronomic life for me there are three important cuisines: Italian cuisine for the raw materials, French cuisine for the technique, and Lebanese cuisine for what is a mix between French, English, lower Mediterranean and Arabic cuisines. On the ship I learned a working method. Even the fact of having to work on large numbers was a lesson that allowed me to grow and face the future.”

A future in which sustainability is increasingly central, even in the kitchen…

“Yes, today there is more and more sensitivity towards this topic: in chefs and in those new to the profession it is a central theme. Nothing is thrown away in the kitchen and it seems obvious to say but attention to seasonality is fundamental. By working with seasonal raw materials you don’t have to force the programming of vegetables and fruit. And take in all the best that that time of year offers. My grandmother, who is an intelligent woman, always said it: if you eat seasonally, you live better. And it is like this: because chefs don’t decide those products, nature decides them. There’s a whole mechanism that we’ve forgotten a bit. And that needs to be recovered, with more awareness.”

We are travelling, let’s talk about travel: you love travelling: when is it important for your cooking?

“For me, traveling has been fundamental to my cultural growth and all that it entails: it helps to open your mind, meet new cultures, discover new products. Today, I manage to put all of this on my menus. Contamination is fundamental for me, just as it is fundamental to have my roots clear.”

And the Festival? Is he following him?

“Naturally: I’m a fan of Annalisa, Bertè has an extraordinary voice, I like Negramaro a lot, poetry in music. Who will win? I have an idea but I won’t tell you.”

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