Curiosity, competence, love for one’s origins and momentum towards other cultures. These are just some of the qualities that emerge in this conversation with chef Bruno Barbieri. We interviewed him during the presentation of his collaboration with Sgambaro, of which he is a testimonial, and where we had the opportunity to see him at work in a cooking show.
by Maria Lucia Tangorra
Why did you decide to join this project?
Sgambaro is a historical and a family-run company, a mood that is so dear to me and it’s for this reason that I decided to collaborate with the brand. Everything comes from the country where I was born (he speaks about the raw materials used by the pasta factory of Castello di Godego, Ed.) and it’s a very significant aspect because the supply chain is really short: the grains are produced in this area and they are worked around few kilometers.
Thinking of childhood flavors, what is the dish that comes to mind?
I’m from Emilia Romagna, pasta was and is an essential moment for me, a product that can make you feel good. I undoubtedly associate it with myself when I was a child because in my family it was a value, it was never lacking in our everyday life, passing from the dry pasta to the egg pasta, but this depended on the imagination of my grandmother, very skilled in rolling pasta.
Taking into account your forty years of career, what is your greatest achievement to date?
Surely I made a choice in a moment of existence in which you aren’t able to understand what you want to do when you grow up. My grandmother supported me a lot, she had seen the potential in me to become a good chef. Today, at the age of fifty-seven, I would do exactly what I did, I am very happy with my journey and that of my collaborators.
Is there a chef who has influenced you particularly?
Above all, Igles Corelli, I worked with him for a long time and he wrote a piece of history of Italian catering. But there were others [he worries about making a mistake with just one]. I have always been a sponge, trying to reap as many lessons as possible that they would have allowed me to become what I am today; I’m sure that one day it’ll be my turn to pass lessons down to the young generation.
Because of this and in accordance with the media commitment undertaken over the years, what responsibility do you feel?
I am responsible for what I say. I never wanted to tell lies to the public or to the people around me. When you are given the opportunity in television to communicate, you need to convey real stories.
What is the common place to debunk when the competitors of MasterChef arrive?
We are not looking for people who have to become chefs, but who have dreams and something to convey and it’s nice to bring out something they may become aware during the program. I have dreams in my drawer, too; if it wasn’t so, we wouldn’t go anywhere. You have to want to look ahead. I live one day at a time, I like to rediscover in everyday life how little things can make you happy.
In your opinion, does this approach to life derive from being born in a provincial dimension (in the most positive sense of the term)?
It’s important not to forget where you started. The countryside, living in the hills and in a country like Medicina has shaped me a lot. Certainly, traveling has allowed me to understand how the world turned. Putting it all together I’m pursuing my way of being Bruno Barbieri.
Is there anything that should never be missing from your kitchen?
The desire to discover something new every day. For those who do my job it’s important to know the raw material, to travel and to be curious, you have to have to be aware that there’s something for you to learn.
From the outside you look with distance towards the starred cuisine…
The Michelin stars are for us like the Oscars in the world of cinema (He received seven stars, Ed.). They give it to you because you have made an excellent creation, clearly, it’s not easy to take them, but they remain in the imagination.
To which work of art would you associate your way of living the kitchen?
To a painter of the 1600s like Giovanni Francesco Barbieri known as Il Guercino. My dishes could be like the paintings of this illustrious ancestor of mine.
When is the customer wrong?
Who buys something is always right because it is not an exchange of goods, he spends money. The object, whether it is the plate or the hotel room or a dress, it must correspond to the value requested.
What are your future projects?
My last book was published “Domani sarà più buono” (by Mondadori Electa). It tells a story that is very dear to me: to give life to a dish that was cooked today and that tomorrow will have a moment of different glory.
Until July 25, the new season of “4 Hotel” will be broadcasted on SkyUno, where he is involved as an upright judge, expert of hôtellerie. In addition, the chef will again be one of the judges of the next edition of MasterChef Italia.