martedì 9 giugno 2015

Ethics and Beauty in Florentine Restaurants - Our Suggestion Today: Caffè Florian

Chef Daniele Di Sacco
by Laura Tressel

On a mission to learn more about the creative cuisine of Florence, we met with the head chef of Cafe Florian, Daniele Di Sacco. Caffè Florian, located in the heart of Florence, offers the sublime combination of a coffeehouse, elegant restaurant, and contemporary art collection which highlights Italy's refined food and art culture. 

Chef Daniele, can you tell us how you started your career as a chef?

It started when I was very young. When I was a child, my sister gave me a toy oven to play with, and that started my interest in cooking. Professionally, I began my career in 1990 in Florence. Some restaurants that I have worked in have been Don Chisciotte and the Grand Hotel. I began working in the kitchen immediately. Then, when I was 20, I went to school. So at this point, I studied while I worked. 

Do you have a certain philosophy for your cuisine?

I try to take the best ingredients and the best products that I can and put them together. For example, a famous dish from I learned while at school that I like to make is with shrimp, foie gras, pata negra (Spanish pork), and truffle. So, they are four ingredients that are all on different levels, but you can put them together with a certain knowledge of flavor. 

Where did you take inspiration for this philosophy?

Particularly from a restaurant that I was at. I met a chef who was very good and who made me realize the importance of having this passion while cooking. 

What are the best and worst parts of your job?

The best part is the interaction and communication with the clients. I particularly enjoy when I get to go to the dining room and talk with them, finding out what they enjoyed and what they thought of their meal. The worst part is the stress of working in the kitchen and making all of these things. Cooking in a restaurant is not the same as cooking in your kitchen at home. I don't have particular hours that I work. I start when I come in and end when I leave. 

What is your relationship with your culinary vision and the Florian vision?
This is also a contemporary art museum, so I make a point to be more contemporary in the kitchen. I have to pay close attention to details. For example, the brunch that we make on Saturday and Sunday. I try make the colors of the dishes for the brunch similar to the colors of the paintings that are above them to bring everything together. 

Are you Florentine?
No, I am from Pontedera, near Pisa. But my relationship with Florence is strong. I came here a lot when I was younger and I have always worked here. It is the part of Italy that I've been the most. Here I can truly express myself.

What is the level of Italian cuisine, in your opinion?

For me, Italian is one of the best cuisines in the world. I think that French cuisine is also very high quality. It is true that we do have more famous Italian chefs now, which is great. I would say that the top three kitchens in the world are the French, Italian, and Japanese. 

Do you have any advice for young people trying to start working in this field?

Don't look at how many hours you work and don't immediately pay attention to your economic situation. Just do things simply, and show dedication. For example, five years ago I went to a famous chef and asked to work for free, just so that I could get the experience. Eventually all the time you put in to working with help you learn, and will advance your career to where you want to be.  
Caffè Florian is located at Via del Parione 28-32/R, near Via Tornabuoni


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