Alessandro Pipero, owner of the Rex Pipero in Rome and teacher of Start Up in the Master in Enogastronomic Criticism. Education, identity and curiosity: the key words to excel in the field of criticism
Pipero is a multi-faceted figure: maitre, sommelier, host, the ideal prototype of the modern restaurant owner, who looks after the life of Rex Pipero Roma in every respect, thanks to his indomitable ambition, his cordiality and professionalism and his desire to give space to young people of great talent, is considered one of the reference figures of Italian catering.
The room and the team are coordinated by him every day with skill, which aims at the utmost care of the guest. He is part of the Noi di sala project, aimed at promoting and enhancing the art of hospitality and service. After the abandonment of the maitre Valerio Capriotti, Pipero replaces his presence in the TV program broadcast on Real Time “Primo Appuntamento”, broadcast under the conduction of Flavio Montrucchio.
An important Master to train the new critic.
What vision can the teaching of the entrepreneurial components of food and wine add to young aspiring critics?
“My vision is to try to give value to an extremely important course. I hope that competent figures in the field of criticism will be created because our world needs an important turnover from this point of view. Today there are too many waiters. , too many cooks, too many chefs, too many people who think they have what it takes to aim for the excellence of this profession, but the criticism they select is lacking.
The evolution in the field of catering has occurred and has been important. As for the chefs, the “new Marquises” were born and now the “new marquises” are being born. There is a good generational change between maitre and restaurateurs. What is missing is the turnover in food and wine criticism and journalism. Unfortunately, someone has passed away, someone else is getting old, but the new figures know little about the history of catering. If I – who still have at least 30 years of career ahead – have to be judged by an incompetent person, then new critics and new competent editorial figures are welcome”.
It is therefore essential to form a class that knows how to give an objective vision in its critique.
“Objective and, above all, that it has an identity! That it does not write by copying or by hearsay, but has its own identity. For example, if the vast majority of critics praise a dish or a character, but according to a critic it is not valid, it must have the courage and personality to say it, thus creating an opportunity for comparison and growth”. How important is it, especially in such a particular moment, to invest in training in all its forms and, in particular, in food and wine?
“Training is fundamental. In all sectors and, even more so, in our field of expertise. Just think that food and wine and archeology are the most important tourist drivers of our nation. Tourists come to Italy for the muse graphic and enogastronomic excellence. This confirms the thesis that making excellent catering is a cultural and high-level experience. Consequently, the good training of the next generations of professionals grows in importance”.
What advantages do good food and wine professionals derive from the training of a competent critical class, able to put their training at the service of information?
“Suffice it to say that the most authoritative guide in the sector is the Red Michelin Guide – which, however, is not Italian. If, in a hypothetical tomorrow, a young man opens a restaurant, he is judged by people who could change turnover with their pen, in For good or for bad. The stars, awarded or revoked, considerably shift the annual covers of one’s business. Therefore a food critic is a very important person. For the role he holds, much more weight must be given to his training, as we are looking for to do through this Master”.
Going to your main field of expertise, what is the most important contribution a professional can make?
“In the academic field I try to bring my experience, my history and my philosophy to the field. Haute cuisine remains fundamental in a restaurant of a certain level. But if, some time ago, one went only to eat well. , today it is an important but not unique value. Many other components have also become important. The guest today is much more informed and has acquired a broader vision in the judgment of a restaurant. The spectrum of economic classes they frequent has also widened. starred restaurants. A few decades I only frequented those who had a certain income. Today – also thanks to the Spectacularization of the kitchen in the various television formats visuals – democratized. Anyone who concentrates their resources in a single higher quality output can afford it. The customer today is more competent than in the past, not only evaluates the cuisine, but also the welcome, the wine list, the furniture, how it is served, how the dish is explained, the harmony they perceive”.
Do you feel like giving any particular advice or a message of encouragement to students who are preparing to start a new adventure in their academic career?
“First of all, I advise them to be curious: to frequent as much as possible a variety of restaurants, wine bars, pizzerias, taverns. Let them go out to eat and judge, experiencing firsthand what they are talking about, with personality and identity. children not to emulate or copy those who preceded them. Anyone who reads a critic or a journalist understands whether or not there is authenticity on the other side. You need to have personality. And in identity lies the future of the critical class, because without that quality you cannot be a true food and wine critic”.