Published the first book by chef Umberto De Martino, a Michelin star in San Paolo D’Argon with his Florian Maison restaurant.
From Sorrento to Bergamo: history, recipes, tales, with an introduction by Tessa Gelisio.
After all, every chef has the great desire to tell about himself, to leave a mark of himself that is not only on the palate of his guests. A book that is a biography of his life and his dishes, a gospel of his works, a bible of his recipes.
The chef Umberto De Martino, protagonist of the volume published Mediavalue, just came out with his story, 60 recipes and then scattered among the pages the most important ingredients, those of a life made of sacrifices, passion and desire for communicate his cuisine, with that very “Sorrentine” style imbued with chronic laziness and sly sympathy.
In the book, its history, that of
“A chef who leaves Sorrento without five thousand lire e arrives in Bergamo with a Michelin star “.
The journey from one point to another in history is made up of challenges, falls, successes, great disappointments and even greater joys.
The chef almost always talks about himself with an attitude between the serious and the melancholy, as if he always had some points still to be resolved.
At a deeper look it is simply “simple”, eager for revenge, sincerity, tranquility, with the constant presence of a great pride, which certainly comes from his life path that is not always roses and flowers.
“I was born into a simple, normal family, 6 brothers, I was the least valued, the penultimate. Less considered because I had a stuttering problem and my father, an old general, a classic southern master father, saw this defect as a handicap, a bad thing, so much so that I was the “village idiot”. This was also made to weigh on me at school, and therefore I grew up afraid of exposing myself “.
Born in 1974, a difficult childhood, which continues with the decision at the age of 15 to leave school and become a cook, a profession in which it was not necessary to spend many words …
“I decided it not because I felt like it and wanted to do it, but only because in Sorrento most of the people are devoted to tourism; or be a waiter or a cook “.
Strange coincidence (not at all it would seem!) That his father Giuseppe, a well-known chef of the peninsula, was also the cook, and from there the young Umberto began to take revenge with him:
“As soon as I learned something, I showed it at home!”.
An important relationship is that with his father, conflicting in everything, and which also marks the emotional path of the chef, more or less unconsciously eager, always, to have the approval of this figure so strong that he loves him, so severe that he wants to push him away.
“I have never worked with my father, except in a small interlude between Christmas and New Year, he always worked out in Capri and that year there were two people missing and he asked me to replace them. On that occasion I saw a completely different figure, he was a playful, he joked, it seemed impossible to me that he was my father.
At the end of this mini experience he had to form the brigade for the season, I asked him to be included and he replied that I was not ready … “
From here, a little out of a sense of revenge, a little out of stubbornness, and a little more for that love for cooking transmitted to the skin by the closeness to the mother, the journey begins in the kitchens.
From Hamburg to the La Scala restaurant alongside chef Mario Zini to starred kitchens in Italy: La Ciau del Tornavento with Maurilio and his Piedmontese cuisine; the Saracen Tower with Gennaro Esposito.
And if in the latter he learns rigor, perfection, care, it is however from the first master, Zini in Hamburg that he absorbs the love for the raw material, the ability to recognize it on the market stalls, the importance of continuous study .
He keeps up to date, gets information, specializes in the varieties of oil, wine, coffee and chocolate.
He studies gastronomy, all or almost, deepens the tasting of wine and oil, focuses on the careful selection of local products, favoring his southern origins, the sun and the lemons of Sorrento, and mixing everything very well with the experiences both Italian and foreign.
In March 2015 the chef De Martino decides to walk on his own legs, takes over the Florian Maison in San Paolo d’Argon (BG), where two years later he wins the Michelin star.
His gastronomic vision has perhaps the shape of the Sorrento coast, with different flavors and cultures embedded in it. She loves homemade risotto, pasta and bread. He is the son of the South Sea but he enjoys cooking meat, game and stocks more.
“I’m from the South but I’m not as fiery as one would expect from a Neapolitan!”
In this expression his being reserved is summed up, initially it seems shyness, then kindness, then some contradictions of his character are clear, determined, stubborn and humble, too humble, almost to the point of not appreciating what he accomplishes.
“We cooks do not invent anything, we assemble ingredients, combine flavors … what interest can there be in telling where my recipe comes from?”
But here comes one of his books!
And then we understand that the fulcrum is precisely in his highlighting that he has not invented anything.
Because if it is true, as Manzoni teaches us in the work De Inventione, that the artist never invents anything, that the word “invention” is the frequentative of the Latin verb “invedere” that is not to invent from nothing, but to discover, to find inside: both within yourself and within the land that surrounds you and that you carry within you.
So maybe the chef is right, at least in the concept of not inventing. He simply finds, and does it within himself, those flavors of Sorrento, that land that he carries within him. Even in panettone!
We have to thank him then, he made us brush up on Manzoni’s concepts, for a habit that we read as low self-esteem or even too much modesty!
And he is simply linked, perhaps unconsciously and unconsciously, to the Manzoni “invedere”!
And from here to the book the step is short, the desire to explain perhaps also to those who, like us, pretended to teach a line of thought and communication, when instead we should have only listened!
The recipes are organized in evocative blocks that go beyond the classic division into appetizers, first courses, main courses and desserts.
The chef has imagined synaesthetic paths that lead the reader to total involvement, with the five senses:
- Dissent, which contains the dishes that the chef forcefully presents, imposing his idea of cooking, with innovative recipes and unusual combinations.
- Clamor, which contains the dishes that somehow make noise, bring together the chef’s contrasts in a balance he directs.
- Suspension, which contains the chef’s bread, an essential accompaniment worthy of a gastronomic journey
- Whisper, which refers to the small patisserie of chef De Martino: no longer a dish, not yet the dessert, it is the instant before the closing of the games, it is the detail that makes the difference. It is a waiting dressed in sugar.
Each recipe is paired with the specific label that best suits the dish, thanks to the advice of Francesco Pagani, who specializes in wine storytelling.
The photographic journey of the chef photographer Tiziano Carrara allows you to ferry the reader directly into the chef’s kitchen.
A book that makes history, the story of De Martino, the one who his life and dining partner simply calls Chef, without names, without articles. Here is this, if Monia told it, it would be the Story of Chef!
For us they are the pages of life and cuisine of Umberto De Martino, the anomalous Neapolitan, not very fiery, with the sea in his veins but who would live in the mountains, who adores Robert De Niro and Bellucci, who appreciates entrepreneurship from the north, but seek the affection of the south. But that basically did not invent anything.
He simply created his own starred cuisine.
And whoever wants to know it has a volume available. And a restaurant too!
Uscita: 10 febbraio 2021 Editore: Multiverso Pagine: 192 Formato: 24x31 cm Copertina: cartonata dorso quadro Prezzo: euro 39.50 ISBN 9788894594508 Distribuzione:in vendita presso tutti i principali siti si libri, presso il ristorante Umberto De Martino e online sullo shop del sito florianmaison.com