The luxury that appeals to Raffaele Lenzi’s cuisine is under the enlightened guidance of his patron Andrea Berton
“That branch of the lake of Como, which turns toward the south between two unbroken chains of mountains, presenting to the eye a succession of bays and gulfs…”. When Manzoni wrote these verses, he knew how to interpret and read the surrounding territory in a superb manner. He couldn’t imagine that, centuries later, on those same shores, an Italian excellence would have taken place. We are at Berton al Lago restaurant, within Il Sereno, one of the most beautiful hotels in the world according to the Leading Hotels of the World. Here, since 2018, the young Raffaele Lenzi has made his Michelin Star shine under the advice of Andrea Berton. Before arriving in Lombardy, Raffaele, who comes from Campania, has been in London, in New York, until he returned to Italy, in Barbieri’s team. Among the important stages of his career, at the age of twenty-seven he was called by Elio Sironi to lead the opening of the Armani Hotel in Milan as executive chef. Today he lives on the lake where he marinates freshwater fish in salt water: “blindfolded you would not recognize the difference”.
What lessons, resulting from your cooperation with great chefs, do you carry inside?
“First of all, I was lucky enough to choose them. I learned the technique from some of them, from others the perseverance, sometimes even something that goes beyond the gastronomic teaching”.
What would you say to a youngster who wants to pursue your career?
“It is a job that requires conviction and tenacity: without these I couldn’t have reached this point. So many sacrifices. Creativity and courage are winning weapons for me, indispensable”.
There are lake dishes in your menu, but this type of fish isn’t used very often. Why?
“Because it is less savoury than sea fish. Most people are used to this one: even chefs struggle to change habits”.
Which unusual combinations are in your menu?
“I mix earth and water: I combine vegetables and fruit with fish, or caviar with meat. I prefer sea bream and sea bass to tuna: certainly a more sustainable fishing”.