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Let's discover the secrets of the Chef who are cooking for us their best dishes on the occasione of the charity dinner "100x100x100"

“My favorite ingredient? Patience”

He says his passion for food started during school’s internships, and it hasn’t stopped since. Danilo Bortolin, 34, is from Ossola valley, before landing as a chef at the restaurant La Beola of Grand Hotel Majestic in Pallanza, he has grown in many different kitchens, in particular in the two-star Piccolo Lago in Mergozzo. Alongside Marco Sacco he developed the experience that allowed him to become a chef, completing the journey begun at the Institute Rosmini in Domodossola and continued around Europe (significant the internship at 'Noma' in Copenhagen).
"In big hotels I have learned the basics of this job. I remember with pleasure Hotel Cala di Volpe in Costa Smeralda, Splendido Hotel in Portofino and Hotel de France in Jersey, England.
My training was complete at Piccolo Lago (where I arrived almost by accident and then spent there six years), after which I went for two years at Relais Sant'Uffizio Astigiano and, from 2015, at Grand Hotel Majestic.
In Pallanza, in the kitchens overlooking Lake Maggiore, Bortolin is free to follow his inspiration that led him to use a lot of local products, from meat to rice, cheese and fish. The main ingredient of his plates? The chef has no doubts: "Patience."
And his teachers? "Many, above all Marco Sacco, who gave me trust and freedom: with him I learned how to manage a kitchen."
His signature dish at 100x100x100
For the evening, as well as coordinating his home-kitchen – where everyone will work – Bortolin will prepare the aperitif. The title is "Altimetries aperitif and cheese of Formazza." Wine: Sparkling wine Spumante Alta Langa "Serafino".


Max, the Pallanza Star that shines with altruism

Gastronomy is in the DNA of Massimiliano Celeste, 49 years. A timeless passion, born before starting the hotel school in the valleys of Lanzo. After graduation he travelled around Europe, then the first firm commitment in Verbania in the kitchens of Hotel Pallanza. A step toward the star. Michelin awarded him the first star four years after opening its restaurant "Portale", in 2008, in a street alley near Garibaldi square.
Lucky choice: "We were in doubt – he says – whether to stay on the lake or emigrate to Germany, in my wife's birthplace. Then we found these place, which was the entrance of a former convent, precisely the ‘portal’”. Thus a new story started, which gives him much satisfaction. Based on a theorem: "The basis of my kitchen are excellent raw materials, creativity and comprehensibility of the plate, because guests have to understand what they are eating." New ideas are born from the experiences, like the one in the Langhe area "it is very important because it made me learn more about the Piedmont food culture."
Max Celeste is a soft-hearted giant. His name is joined to many charities, he teaches cooking to convicts and follows Banda Biscotti: "When it comes to helping out in a transparent manner there will be always my support. We're lucky, there are people out there much less fortunate: I don’t see a reason not to give a hand.”
His signature dish at 100x100x100
"The lake in autumn: liquid chestnut cream with mushroom, perch cooked at low temperature, aired berries and coconut. Wine: white "Lucino" (Erbaluce) Borgo dei Cavalli, Barbaglia company, Cavallirio.


No more than three elements in a successful recipe

Quantity surveyor and ski instructor, before being a chef. From here it all started in the mountain, where he opened the local family restaurant in July 6th 2003, the day of his 30th birthday. "It was just a coincidence" Matteo Sormani reveals, and today at 43 years his Walser Schtuba in Riale (Formazza) is now well established. Not only passion, but also a life choice: "We had the idea of a restaurant in Riale but we lacked everything, even the cook. We started refurnishing the building in 2000 and I resigned from my job. " He was a ski instructor, he has passed from the slopes to the stoves. While my parents and sister took care of the growth of the family dream, he went to the discovery of the art of cooking. And even after the opening in Riale he has continued with the internships: there were no holidays in the months of closure, he went on learning tricks from friends. Two in particular: Stefano Allegranza at La Stella in Domodossola and Davide Brovelli at Sole di Ranco. "And I am grateful to Marco Sacco - he adds - for inviting me to attend an important event in 2007 in Verbania, he has opened up an exciting world for me."
Sormani has a mission in the kitchen: “highlighting the raw material”. He argues that "a good dish is based on up to three elements." Three are also his strengths, given his work on the mountains: "Milk, meat and especially the woodlands."
His signature dish at 100x100x100
"The Pomatt ... Bettelmatt 2016, and red potatoes": tortello with Bettelmatt stuffing, potato cream and potato soil obtained from their lightly smoked skin. Wine: Chardonnay Reserve 2012 «Tschaupp, Merano.


Five generations family behind the stove

180 years old, this restaurant has seen eras, changing in tastes and habits. Il Sole di Ranco (in Ranco, on the Varese side of Lake Maggiore) has lived for five generations. And now at the helm there is Davide Brovelli, who with a Michelin star renews the tradition of his father, arrived at two Michelin seals.
Nice and bright, Brovelli in the kitchen has fun: "I'm fine in the kitchen, I do not delegate the cooking, I like to live in contact with my staff and so we grow together and there’s a great feeling." Long gone are the days when Il Sole served only three dishes on the large 500-seats terrace: “My grandfather - reveals – thanks to those numbers could afford to only open from late spring to early fall." And now? "I can only close a month and a half and I usually dedicate it to training. The holidays? A few days are enough."
He started living the kitchen at 14 years old, tasting a different way of making restaurants. "Everything is different today" confirms, but not the family rules: "Local traditions with a little hint from the sea. Our roots are in the tradition but the recipes are renewed and lightened. We don’t like fats, and use no butter. Light and instant taste".
Less condiments, more troubles? "Not necessarily. I try to be lightly direct on my dishes. You can do, if you just try hard." Meanwhile he opened in Milano a new restaurant Bugandè, on the Naviglio Grande: risotto, veal chop and osso buco. But there his wife Cristina is in charge, so that Davide can go to Ranco.
His signature dish at 100x100x100
“Smoked Pig": smoked pork tenderloin with apple sauce and mustard, red wine reduction accompanied by quince and peppers mustard. Wine: Gattinara DOCG 2011 Antoniolo cellar.


A true kitchen artist, that considers himself just an artisan

He is an artist, a playful artist. But he prefers to be defined as a craftsman, an cooking artisan.
Spending a few hours at Marco Sacco’s restaurant is an experience that is worth doing if you are ready to a number of proposals with a clear feature: there is no nonsense. The combinations are brave, and so is the care to the presentation. An extreme search of raw materials, a huge fantasy that brings to the table, as an aperture, a roundup of seven Piedmont tomatoes grown by a farmer that Marco Sacco discovered by going in search of ideas between Turin and Cuneo. There's something for every taste, but you have to be prepared. Sacco loves that each one of his guests will leave Piccolo Lago, with something to remember. If only for an aperitif served in the glass-fronted kitchen overlooking the room, where many chefs interact just by looking at each other to finish the dishes born in the laboratories below the restaurant, in this fascinating place that looks like a palafitte on Lake Mergozzo.
Sacco is far from those snobbish characters. The two Michelin stars of Piccolo Lago shines on their own. Enough to make it safe, enough to embark on challenges like the Salone del Gusto in Turin, where he was presented with the street food in Piazza Castello: a truck to cook only one dish, its Carbonara au koque, where even the pasta was made on the truck. In 5 days six thousand servings: mission accomplished.
His signature dish at 100x100x100
"Hay": hay ice cream, blueberry pie, coffee powder toffee white chocolate and jelly lavender. Wine: Flétri au Vent (overripe grapes), Grosjean cellar of Quart (AO).


When a farmhouse meets high standards of quality

At 30 years old, Gianluca Zanetta was an executive in a textile company. And he was thinking at what to do with that old family property, a farmhouse near Cureggio, on the hills near Novara. He changed life and with his wife Raffaella in late 2002 they launched what soon became one of the best Italian agriturismo, Capuccina.
A real farm: 50 percent agricultural and livestock activities, the other 50 restaurants. "I chose the farmhouse loaf and said to myself:" I want to do it seriously." And the audience keeps on rewarding him: finding a place is not easy. "The products coming into the kitchen - he says with satisfaction - are either ours or come from local farms." An example is the cellar: 320 labels, all local. Neither Chianti or Brunello, Barolo or Barbaresco.
100 goats and some cattles, required for the ice cream that accompanies the eggnog after dinner. "Rural tourism – he says- has stricht rules. We follow them restrictively. With humility, but we aim to the top. "
He adds: "We primarily work on raw material, you will never find a product out of season." textile executive, but with cooking in the blood: "I admit, I owe so much to my uncle." His uncle is Piero Bertinotti of Pinocchio restaurant in Borgomanero. Last minute news: soon the first wine produced in Capuccina will be available after a strong investment shared with an entrepreneur friend of his. But that's another story.
His signature dish at 100x100x100
Gianluca Zanetta will take care of the bread, which will cook in the afternoon using special flours. Which ones? "Surprise".
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Written by:
Grand Hotel Majestic, Editor