We were honoured to meet and interviewFrancesco Costanzo, chef at Pastamadre, one of the hottest restaurants in Milan at the moment – also crowned ‘best newcomer’ in 2011 by Valerio Visintin on Vivimilano – appreciated by foodies and industry professionals alike. A warm and cosy venue located in Via Corio, Porta Romana area, where to enjoy outstanding dishes that marry creativity to the love of genuine products.

How was your passion for cooking born and when did you decide to make it a profession?

Having being raised in a close-knit extended family where food preparation was always a fundamental and prominent event, I think that cooking is part of my genetic code. When I first started out in the catering industry, in Denmark, I used to be really confident when handling the tools of the trade despite not having any experience, it was like those gestures were embedded in my DNA. If that wasn’t enough, my father was a chef too, therefore – to answer the second part of your question – when I decided to make cooking a profession, it was a smooth and completely natural transition. Back then, I used to work as photojournalist in Kosovo, Jugoslavia, when my first daughter was born, I decided then to go back to my first passion.

Which are the three ingredients that you can’t absolutely do without?

I couldn’t possibly live without extra virgin olive oil, tomato and basil. They are the three ingredients that most inspire me, the foundation on which to build all the rest, raw materials that bring back idyllic memories of my hometown and my childhood.

What are for you eno-gastronomic luxury and excellency?

For me luxury is being able to consume excellent products, crafted with creativity and competence. Perhaps all accompanied by an outstanding bottle, such as my favourite champagne: Andrè Beaufort.

Is there a specific Italian region you feel more bonded to and why?

I think that no Italian region prevails on the others as they are all extremely and equally important in terms of gastronomic tradition. However, I come from Sicily therefore it’s the cradle of my formation and theater of a wide culinary history where Mediterranean and Arabic/Phoenician cuisine meet. A land that gives away those vegetables and legumes so dear to me.

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