The story of absolute dedication, which passes through passion, inclination and vocation: the example of a great room manager
It was 2004 when very young, at only 19 years old, he was elected best Junior sommelier in Italy.
A title that is strengthened in 2010 when he becomes the best sommelier in Romagna. But let’s take a step back: Vincenzo is only 14 years old and has a dream to realize, that of becoming a cook, in spite of the family tradition that operates in the clothing sector.
After choosing the Hotel Institute, his first internship arrives. It is easy to imagine the enthusiasm of the young Vincenzo: a cuisine to explore, a world to study and people to admire. But his employer (intuition?) Suggests an approach to the dining room before the kitchen.
The promise of that far-sighted garment guaranteed him, for the following year, a complete experience behind the stove.
And what happens? Two things of fundamental importance: on the one hand Vincenzo falls in love with the room and on the other the room is filled, hence his success, with the great imprint of Donatiello.
He there it is, the call. Vincenzo feels a complete dedication to the room that year after year, day after day, sacrifice after sacrifice, has seen him grow and mature in a character from shy to introverted to empathetic and extroverted.
The hall, he says proudly, was and is his life teacher. At this point, the thing to do is clear: abandon the inclination to become a chef and answer “yes” to the call, to the vocation to the dining room.
It is at this point that he abandons the entrepreneurial project he did together with his brother, that is to open a pizzeria.
He begins his apprenticeship and his constant commitment to training him. Vincenzo decides that the time has come to think about his professional future.
He knocks on the doors of important restaurants. Among these, the then two Michelin-star La Frasca in Milano Marittima opened the door for him: here he will have a long season and will be sommelier.
Then he moved from Pascucci to the Porticciolo in Fiumicino for a year and a half, always a Michelin star.
Subsequently he thought of leaving for an experience outside Italy but he was presented with the opportunity to work at Il Piatino in Pennabilli, a star, where he worked for two years and then received a completely unexpected call in November 2012. from Piazza Duomo which had just received the third Michelin star.
Call so unexpected he thought it was a joke. After more than two years as a sommelier, he was proposed in 2015 to become the restaurant manager. It was not easy for him to accept this bet, albeit an important one.
But after many years he says he is convinced that he has taken the right path that has allowed him to sew the welcome on the customer in a complete way.
Projects, collaborations, competitions, training, the writing of a book last year (Io servo), a personal label of Gin, are all the different facets of Vincenzo’s inspiration who cannot stop now, overwhelmed by inspiration and enthusiasm .
The restaurant of the Ceretto family, owners of one of the most important wineries in the Langhe, does not have a standard location.
It is not the usual showy building that one would expect from a multi-starred building, but rather a building that is also a little hidden in the center of Alba, whose red door remains the only identifying feature.
The evocative interiors with world-famous frescoes and paintings make everything truly magical. In every corner you can breathe creativity and more, even the same cover of the menu was designed by Patti Smith.
Despite this detailed and important artistic frame, there is nothing that can distract from Enrico Crippa’s cuisine. The overall feeling is that of feeling at home.
Since 2014, the restaurant has also made available three rooms and one suite. An all-round welcome in the heart of Alba overlooking the cathedral and the alleys of the historic center.
After nine years of collaboration, Vincenzo and chef Enrico Crippa have a symbiotic and complementary relationship.
A constant discussion on everything, from the news of the gastronomic world to the structuring of menus and new ideas. The latest four-handed creation is the new menu that focuses on Barolo.
They left for three months wandering around with their respective seconds to study and arrive at combinations that would give a strong sign of the territory. The dishes and the wine evolve together.
A mutual exchange that leads the wine to be considered part of the same dish. Combinations can be born earlier, in the meantime or most of the time, after having created an elaborate dish.
The dining room and the kitchen have a single soul and the resulting harmony is perceived in the same menus. The cellar often changes its face according to the trends and preferences of the customers, but the timeless constant is represented by Burgundy, Champagne and Piedmont.
Donatiello’s story confirms that sometimes accepting challenges is just a way to open doors. New possibilities and new worlds.