It is among the most acclaimed Italian restaurants abroad and the one that always puts experts and non-experts together, for completeness and restorative quality of the proposal. It is the Lido 84 Restaurant, the creation of Chef Riccardo Camanini on Lake Garda.
by Stefania Buscaglia
If there is a teaching that the great Gualtiero Marchesi has left us, it is as much as the Kitchen and the Art are inseparable elements. There is therefore no doubt that if the Master had the opportunity to see one last look at the Earth and sketch a smile thinking of its cultural and professional legacy, a special thought among his “disciples” would go to Riccardo Camanini, a humble, cultured and curious chef who based this approach on a convinced and coherent mantra. Chef and patron, alongside his brother Giancarlo, of the Lido 84 restaurant in Gardone Riviera – on the Brescia side of Lake Garda where among camphor, olive, oleander and bougainvillea, the wonderful Riviera dei Limoni – Riccardo Camanini is confirmed after years of the Italian chef more appreciated by gastronomic critics and customers from all over the world than for having lunch or dinner in his restaurant, it is willing to accept waiting lists of over four months.
Born in 1973, originally from Bergamo, Riccardo Camanini entered the kitchens of Albereta at a very young age in which he learns like no one the Marchesiano concept of synthesis and (apparent) simplicity, in a fervent period in which his brigade companions respond to the names of Carlo Cracco, Andrea Berton, Paolo Lopriore and Enrico Crippa. At the end of the nineties he flies in the starry kitchens of London and Paris and then land on Lake Garda, driving the fires of Villa Fiordaliso where for 16 years he effortlessly maintains the well-deserved Michelin star. In 2015 at the dawn of the 40 years, he hears however, the desire for a project of its own that finds shape on the clearest shore of Lake Garda, in that Lido 84 which – in a short space of time – becomes the favorite destination for gourmet tourism international “obsessed” with names like Massimo Bottura and, in fact, Riccardo Camanini.
Considered one of the most incisive contemporary chefs for the ideological revolution of Haute Cuisine Italian, Camanini wins the Michelin star just six months after the opening of his Lido and starts in ring a series of awards, among which the Miele One to Watch Award stands out for prestige, delivered in 2019 by William Drew, director of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants.
Of his kitchen it is necessary to emphasize the apparent simplicity and the ability to balance and harmonize the profound technique with a very strong poetic component: it is often in his dishes the Proustian memory of his childhood is present, as for the famous Spaghettino unto di rosso, or lo zabaione served at the end of the meal to accompany the typical Torta delle Rose bresciana.
Ancient flavors and techniques are investigated through the meticulous study of the material, such as for the iconic Cacio e pepe in vescica, one of the most famous dishes in the world, with visceral perception, carnal and in some respects ancestral, capable of deeply narrating the Italian tradition and Camanini’s passion for the study of history (in the specific case, of the gastronome Apicius, lived between the 1st century BC and the 1st century AD) and for experimentation – in this case inverse as it is capable of recovering the most biological systems from tradition: that of bladder cooking, in fact, is a research that starts from the folklore of our peninsula or from the most recent Fernard Point experiments. A practice that allows the element being cooked – the pasta – of acquire a completely new and more genuine consistency, and taste.
And if it is true what Paul Bocuse claimed, namely that “the kitchen of the future is Italian”, Riccardo Camanini continues to be the spokesman for this vision, raising the kitchen to the highest levels of our country, designing now legendary dishes such as Riso, aglio nero fermentato e frutti di bosco, il Riso Scaldato, Rognone alla pressa or epic Spaghettone, burro e salvia – masterpiece that Alain Ducasse – chef with the most Michelin stars in the world – has defined as «the best dish ever tasted in life! ” and that the three-star Corey Lee chose, representing Italy, in his restaurant menu at MOMA in San Francisco.
As a testament to how indissoluble elements are really Kitchen and Art.