The Michelin-starred chef, now a TV personality too, recalls the beginning of his career at the Bonvesin de La Riva: “The Marchesi Boys were the engine of Italian cuisine”
It’s morning. The morning of any day. Within a week not different from the others. The premises in Milan, those in Via Bonvesin de La Riva, seethe. They are ready to face a new day of work, to welcome groups of hungry and intrigued clients who ask nothing more than to be satisfied. Someone knocks on the door: a kid, maybe a teenager. Tall, actually, quite tall. He seems trapped into a man’s body. The features are sweet, untouched by the passage of time, but the eyes… The Master has no doubts: he likes that gaze. It’s what he needs. “May I help you?” Asks the chef. He never loses elegance, not even on these occasions, even when he has understood that the boy is the right person. Above all, because he replies: “I want to cook”. Marchesi opens the door to him: it is the beginning of a great story. Work, teachings. Friendship. It is the beginning of Andrea Berton’s career. It is almost repetitive to tell it: the debut at the Bonvesin, then around the world, a bit like everyone: Mossiman’s, Enoteca Pinchiorri, Ducasse, at the Louis XV of Montecarlo. The return to Italy, the two-Michelin-star experience of Trussardi, the Berton, now the TV with Philippe Léveillé and Isabella Potì. Fresh from a new Michelin star for his restaurant Berton Al Lago, the chef welcomes us in his restaurant in Milan. This one is a Michelin-starred too, since 2014. The atmosphere is electric but not messy. Rather. Everyone moves at the speed of light, knowing exactly what to do. Moreover, the chef’s gaze chases them. The same eyes that he showed Marchesi that morning. “I was part of the Marchesi Boys – smiles Berton – but I will not be telling it. Others will judge us in the future. I know that at that moment and in that restaurant, a brigade was created, and still has no equal. An engine for Italian cuisine”. Oldani, Canzian, Cracco, Berton. People gifted with talent and the typical youth folly, which still need to be channelled towards the right objectives. Marchesi was worried about this: “I spent whole evenings, after the service, in his office. Gualtiero spoke for hours: about art, music, about his experiences. And I absorbed. Someone thought it was a waste of time. Not me”. But chef, is Italy just a country for old people? Is there room for some new Berton who knock at the door of their dreams with personality and toughness? “I hope so. And I hope that cooking will give space to young people. I’m always in touch with the thirty-year-olds. My greatest success comes when one of my collaborators can make a dish better than me”. After all, as Marchesi said: example is the best form of teaching.