Chef Alessandro Consaudo. Between past and future.

I have found a friend I haven’t seen since I was a teenager. Alessandro, who has Sicilian origins and who lives in Turin Alessandro is a Chef. He works at a restaurant in Turin, he participates in radio broadcasts and he also cultivates a hobby of photography. Not being able to go to Turin personally and unable to reconcile the times and schedules for a long phone call, I asked Alessandro to tell me what I have been missing over the years about his life and career.

Ciao bella,

You remember that my mother Mimma is from Messina just like was my dear Dad Piero from whom I have inherited the passion for cooking. It is appropriate to say that it was in my DNA since I was a child, when I attached myself to my dad’s leg asking him to take me to visit the kitchens where he worked. I chose to do this job also because I was proud and satisfied in perceiving the esteem that the parents of my classmates had towards my dear Dad.
I am a chef and a photographer, the two things were born almost together, I am sending you a photo that shows me as a very small “playing” at being a photographer.

I always did it to imitate my father who also passed on this passion to me. I must say, however, that unlike him, I have dedicated myself more to photography and have also won prizes. I work a lot and go out to eat very little.
When I taste a dish that I have not cooked, I try to understand if the person who cooked it is male or female. It intrigues me to know who puts love and passion on the plate even before aesthetics in a pure and absolute sense. Another gift that I inherited from my father, and which I have not easily found, is that of being able to replicate a dish, after a single taste, without ever having seen it prepared. I admit I’m lucky.Both my passions, photography and cooking have a lot in common.

I believe that in both sectors, in order to achieve excellence you have to be curious. I am curious “like a monkey” in all fields!About school I attended the Giuseppina Colombatto Hotel Institute in 1991/92, obtaining the hotel qualification as a chef. At that time the school was limited, the tattoos, especially evident on the arms, hands and face as well as piercing earrings, were not well seen and the hair had to always be in order. Then everything changed as early as the third year. Was it good? I can’t say this …
In my work as a cook I focus on these percentages: 40% of experience, 40% of method and 20% of creativity. But it is not absolute law.I love to prepare fish dishes. I recently invented a pumpkin gazpacho with shrimp squid and seared scallops. This is a dish that contains all the features that make the senses of the palate and tongue explode because it is soft and crunchy at the same time, sweet and sour, cold and hot, and has a play of colors.You ahave asked me what I think about the new food trends and I tell you that sometimes it can also be a trend but I respect everyone. If there are customers who have food intolerances, I offer many gluten-free dishes. At the restaurant where I work, we satisfy vegetarians very easily, while we are not equipped for vegans to enjoy a complete dinner.
All the endings (thes, isms, ists etc.) in my opinion are sometimes excessive, maybe extreme don’t you think? But as I said before, I respect those who are vegan. I don’t know if I would have the patience to be vegan myself. Honestly, sometimes seeing certain havoc I would want to become one.
I am in favor of intelligent and respectful consumption of animals, which I love deeply. You should consume less meat and not eat meat from intensive farming. It will certainly cost more. It is better this way we eat less and we will do good to our planet.I have been working at the Taverna delle Rose since 1997 after years of apprenticeship, more or less famous restaurants and tourist villages. At Taverna delle Rose I have kept the traditional cuisine that I found on my arrival and I have included some of my dishes that I would recommend if you do not want to eat pasta. For example, we always have “on the menu” some nice risottos like the one with seared squid, oil with lemon zest essence and chopped pistachios. Or I’ll let you taste my tuna bresaola on a “ring” of cherry tomatoes, capers, raisins, pine nuts and rusks. Here, too, an explosion of savory sweetness. If you want to stay in tradition with a pinch of innovation, I’ll prepare you the veal tuna candies with a nice thick sauce inside.Then move on to my famous Messina-style swordfish cutlets, a dish of which I am very jealous because it was inherited from Dad.If you’re in the mood for meat, on the other hand, I’ll let you taste a dish that goes very well: long-cooked Fassone veal cheek, braised in Barbera on grilled corn polenta. I am experiencing this second phase of the covid emergency in a less positive way than the first one.
I never thought that one of the most beautiful jobs in the world, almost immune to major crises, could experience such a black period!At the Taverna delle Rose we do our best compatibly with what the various DPCM let us do (very little).Precisely for this reason I can no longer dream and desire something for myself. I had the dream of opening my own restaurant but it is an outdated, outdated idea.Today you have to reinvent yourself with new personal chef. It is funny! If I have to choose a dish from Sicily, I choose Messina’s cutlets, this time with meat, which no one prepares better than my mother. In general, my favorite dish is pasta, I would choose a spaghetti with tomato sauce but of those very special, with seasonal tomatoes, superior olive oil (in Italy we are in an iron barrel for the quality of the raw materials) and Basil from Prà (Genoa) put on top at the last moment together with a grated flake of 30-month Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Even here, however, it is difficult to choose just one dish, but yes, spaghetti is an evergreen must. I chose to propose pasta alla norma because I offered it as a delivery version but still well cared for and they were clamoring for it to me.Ricotta is produced by my owner’s dad, Giacomo.

Click to watch Chef Alessandro Consaudo on Pasta alla Norma recipe at Taverna delle Rose, Turin, Italy.