The chef and his restaurant  July 2010

Bread, Cooking and Dreams

Giovanni d’Amato, chef of Michelin-starred restaurant Il Rigoletto in Reggiolo and his unusual pairings

New recipes come from experience. Giovanni d’Amato, two Michelin star chef and owner of the restaurant Il Rigoletto, knows exactly how to combine ingredients to create something new. Flavor and the balance of flavors is in his DNA, which he has been using in the kitchen for the past 23 years. He has the gift of an artist and his dishes are like little works of art: interesting to look at and captivating to eat.

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Carpaccio of black tomato, nectarine, caper jelly, coffee and lemon, dressed with mostarda, oli and herbs is an example of just one of his masterful combinations. The flavors are well balanced and reveal themselves one by one, even though the recipe is complex. The aromas of the dish fill the room and the colors of the dish are inspiring. No detail is left to chance. 

Experimenting is the key, but this is to be taken with a grain of salt. “A dish begins with the hunt for quality ingredients, which then have to be prepared to finally arrive at a balance.” Where does passion fit into the picture? “It is always there. In fact, if you don’t cook with love, it is a problem. The heat, the vivacity of the chef is always present in a dish.” It gives the strength (and character) to the ingredients. 

Chef d’Amato’s dishes are serves in the dining room of a 18th century noble palace, surrounded by a magnificent garden, in front of the Rocca Di Reggiolo. Hidden in the countryside, the restaurant recently received the Andrew Harper Grand Award from the prestegeous American guide Hideaway Report. A true “hideaway,” the restaurant has a fireplace in the dining room, a lacunar ceiling, designer furniture and, especially, great service – a reflection of Giovanni and his wife Fulvia, who manages the hotel above the restaurant.

The hotel is composed of four suites, all of which are unique combinations of a historic setting, modern Italian design and the contempory paintings of Nani Tedeschi. After a citrus soup with pistachios, a shrimp-filled raviolo with fennel or pigeon with apple, passion fruit, foie gras and red wine sauce guests can retire upstairs rather than climb back into their cars. What better way to end a meal than relaxing in an enchanting setting.

Silvia Ugolotti – Photo: Marzia Gandini

Il Rigoletto Restaurant and Locanda, piazza Martiri 29 Reggiolo (Re), tel. 0522-973520;

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