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Danilo Bortolin
new chef for La Beola restaurant

 

Interview Danilo Bortolin - the new chef at Grand Hotel Majestic

As of this year, Danilo Bortolin is the chef of the Grand Hotel Majestic’s La Beola restaurant in Verbania Pallanza.
Although a young chef from the class of 1982, he is already among some of the best known and celebrated Italian chefs. After hospitality school, Antonio Rosmini of Domodossola, initiated the art of cuisine in big Italian and European hotels to then refine it in highly rated restaurants such as Noma in Copenhagen and the Piccolo Lago of Mergozzo under the guide of Marco Sasso for 6 years.
At the Grand Hotel Majestic, Danilo Bortolin offers cuisine that prefers the use of high quality ingredients sourced locally including meat, rice and Piedmont cheeses and fish from Lago Maggiore.
As for the rest, the La Beola restaurant, which has been open for years in Pallanza, always searches to offer excellence starting with the dining room and its elegant and warm ambiance and windows that open towards the Gulf of Borromeo right in front of the small and evocative Toscanini island. In summer, you have the opportunity to dine below the splendid hotel right in the big green garden that faces Lago Maggiore.
Danilo Bortolin, as opposed to other chefs that we are used to seeing on television lately, is much more bashful and doesn’t like to be in the spotlight. We met up with the chef so you can get to know him better with this short interview.

Let’s start from the beginning, when did this passion start and what pushed you to take up this career path?
I think my passion started during school internships and that’s when the journey started.

After school finished and your training in the real world started, during which experiences did you have the occasion to test your skills in the years before arriving at the Grand Hotel Majestic?
I started in big hotels, which taught me the basics of my job, above all the Cala di Volpe, the Splendido of Portofino and the Hotel de France in Jersey. Then, as if by chance, I went to work at the Piccolo Lago restaurant where I stayed for 6 years, after which I was a chef for 2 years at the Relais Sant’Uffizio of Monferrato and as of 2015 I am happy to be at the Grand Hotel Majestic of Pallanza.
During your work experiences have you met someone that you would consider your teacher?
I must say that all of the chefs that I have worked with have been my teachers, each one in their own way. Among them I must mention Marco Sacco, who apart from being a teacher also gave me more space and more responsibilities, thanks to this I learned to manage a kitchen and experiment with new plates.


Is continued training important?
It is E’ fundamental for two reasons. Surely because today’s clients always have more needs and we must be able to satisfy them in the best way, for example special menus that take into consideration any food intolerances and allergies, celiac disease, religious observances, dietary menus). And we have to always stay updated on ingredients, techniques, trends, that together stimulate our creativity and lead us to offer new plates.

Which ‘ingredients’ allowed you to make it?
…patience, you always need it!

Do the dishes that you prefer to offer reflect the area’s traditions or do you like to experiment with other ethnic influences?
Generally, I like to respect the local ingredients and traditions, but there can be ethnic influences even if they never prevail in the final dish.

Your favourite dish?
To eat or to cook? (smiles, Ed.) To eat, the finanziera (in the sense that if I find it on the menu of a restaurant I will surely order it); to cook, I like making a bit of everything, but above all greens, risottos and desserts.

Which chef do you most admire?
There have been many, but in general the chef that I most admire is one who has a specific idea for a restaurant and is able to make it happen.

What are your big passions and your small obsessions?
My big passions are cooking and wine, I don’t think I have many obsessions, but you would have to ask those who work with me.

What are the main qualities necessary to become a chef?
Lots of people can create good dishes, but it is much more difficult to know how to transmit your own thoughts to others. And I repeat, you need to have patience, you can never have enough!

What are the rules of your kitchen?
There are many, at least one hundred. I do not compromise when it comes to organization and cleanliness.

Which ingredient do you use the most in the kitchen?
It depends on the season, in summer greens, tomatoes and fish, while in winter I prefer meats. Nonetheless, for some time now my menu has included raw meat and red shrimp.

What are the dishes that guests of the restaurant La Beola order most frequently?
The liver, risottos and the ravioli.

Who takes care of the cellar?
The maître d’ Roberto Allegranza takes care of it.

What do you suggest we order from the spring/summer menu?
I dispassionately suggest the fassona tartare garnished with oil, salt and a raspberry and quail egg dressing or a portion of pikeperch with spring vegetables and river prawn sauce.
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Ecrit par
Grand Hotel Majestic, Rédaction