by Alessandra Luti
MONACO. Paolo Sari to Aalessandra Luti: “I do not think there is a moment when you realize that you want to do something specific. Rather, you must open your soul and especially your heart to let go with what you’re passionate about for your future profession.” The ‘bio’ Chef Paolo Sari is working for five years in the Principality of Monaco. He debuted the interview while distributing instructions to his assistants in the kitchens of the Monte Carlo Beach, in view of the evening with two hundred guests. Customers come from all over the world to spend their holidays in the security and the discretion guaranteed by the sovereign state of Monaco. Paolo’s training begins at the hotel school, and then, at age 15, in prestigious kitchens. From the little Treviso town, Vneto, Italy, he learns from Anton Mosimann, the brothers Albert and Michel Roux, Pierre Kauffman. Then, he continue the experience in famous international Leading Hotels, like the Four Seasons, Peninsula, Kempinski and the Dorchester Group, moving from continent to continent. At various stages of his career Paolo attends the most important “hot spot” of the culinary world: London, Lausanne, New York, Hollywood, Moscow, Tokyo, Osaka, Seoul, Beijing, Kuala Lumpur, Milan, Venice and of course Monaco. After the last experience in Asia, as a catering manager for a major Japanese Korean group, in early 2007 he returned to Ital. There, he opened “The Chedi Milan”, the first Urban Resort in Europe. Then, from Milan he went to Sardinia, as Executive Chef at the Chia Laguna Resort, which owns 4 hotels, 700 rooms and 12 restaurants. Then he returns to his hometown, to revitalize in Venice the San Clemente Palace, historic house in the exclusive private island in the heart of the Lagoon of Venice, a 5-minute speedboat ride from Piazza San Marco. Bynow, his wonderful story continues in the Monte-Carlo Beach.
Question. What is the philosophy practiced in the kitchen of Paul Sari?
Answer. “I love the “beautiful and good “, associated with great sensitivity. All the products that arrive on my tables are guaranteed. I’m a meticulous fanatic of indigenous ingredients, healthy, organic, seasonal, freshly picked. I have two teams at work, the first work in the gardens and the other in the kitchen. One is due to the other. I am just enhancing every taste, trying to touch, cut, cook as little as possible, so not to change their characteristics and their taste. I work like a fashion designer, using only the best fabrics. Like the great “latin” lovers, I do not use the reason, but the soul and the heart, associated with the five senses. I respect ingredients and blend them together, feel the taste, the flavor, the texture just by touching them. The ingredients are works of art by Mother Nature, especially those that do not need to be touched, cut, cooked. However, it is not so important to focus on the equation of a 100% organic cuisine or the recognition of the Michelin guide, but understand that you have to feed customers with diligence and in the healthiest way possible. I propose excellence and transparency.”
Q. Does this mean that you need to be a bio chef to cook Bio. So, no compromises permitted?
A. “The evolution takes place over the years and I was a very diligent pupil. I was looking forward to behaving with simplicity, sincerity, and in the kitchen as well.. A journey that started twenty years ago, travelling around the world. When I was in Korea and then in Japan, I spent three months in a monastery to study the experience of the monks, their their autonomy in vegetable production. Finally, I arrived here at the Monte Carlo Beach, where every day I put into practice the saying “a healthy mind in a healthy body”. I select vegetables, fruits and condiments, buying from farmers and farmers from nearby villages such as Grasse, Menton, San Remo”.
Q. What is the last dish that you have created?
A. “The frozen puff pastry cheese and gingerbread, white celery mousse and balsamic vinegar IGP 25 years”.
Q. And the greatest satisfaction?
A. “Being the first and only chef in the world with organic certification awarded one Michelin star. And making something unique, never done before.”
Q. Your favorite food?
A. “The easiest. If done right, there’s nothing better than two spaghetti with tomato sauce. Tradition and innovation. The innovation consists in knowing and respecting the tradition. To get there, I have honored all the territories I was visiting for the last 20 years of my career, on three continents and in 10 countries. Here in Monaco, I wanted to break with the food globalization of the past 20 years, globalization that has led to the elimination of quality and killing artisans of the land and of the sea. I buy terrific ingredients in Provence, in Liguria and in Piedmont, is all you need. I purchase the fish directly from fishermen or cooperatives, my “bottarga” is made by the fishermen themselves. I have built a network of 15 producers of fruit and vegetables, small farmers who produce specific products, and others who provide me a wider range . Everything is collected and transported in my kitchen into a maximum of 18 hours. The meat comes directly from farms and abattoirs. In addition to providing the highest quality for my clients, I am always reinvesting. I am looking forward to developing the local economy and creating jobs.”
Q. What wines do you serve?
A. “My customers order what they prefer. I think it’s time to stop with the craze of ‘wine pairing’.”
Q. What do you do in your free time?
A. “I love to sail my boat and flee into the vast blue of the sea. However, I would also be able to spend more time with my family.”
Q. Last but not least, what is the Paolo sari’s dream?
A. “I would like to be able to create an organic world, eco-supportive and respectful of nature, to restore what has been stolen in the last hundred years: I know it’s a dream, but I’ll try anyway.”