Roberto Valbuzzi was born in Varese in 1989 and has followed in his family’s footsteps. For three generations, the Valbuzzi family has been managing the famous restaurant Crotto Valtellina in Malnate. There, Roberto learnt to appreciate the flavours of traditional dishes, developing a great passion for cooking and fresh products. The same family grows organic produce with great passion in their organic farm near Varese. To complete Roberto Valbuzzi’s profile, we discover he followed the culinary institute and worked in the family restaurant. The interships he attended in Italy and abroad led him from the traditional Italian cuisine to research. Today, Chef Valbuzzi manages two restaurants, a business that produces high quality products. He is the testimonial of various Italian gourmet companies of excellence, becoming a well-known face of the Italian and international television.
Chef Valbuzzi, you are very young, where does all this passion for cooking come from?
I grew up in the countryside, with my grand-mother who used to take me by hand to see the fields and tell me about the origin of the ingredients she prepared for me. We used to take the same products to the restaurant, where my parents worked, and I “peeked” from behind the kitchen door how my father and our cooks transformed raw materials into delicious dishes.
You said “peeked”?
Yes, of course. The kitchen is a dangerous place for a child. There are pans over the fire, boiling water and boiling oil, sharp knives and many other dangers. My father did not want me to stay, but maybe this prohibition is the reason why I became curious of what was happening beyond the door, in that magical world of perfumes, noise and heat that is a kitchen.
Now that you have grown up and have achieved many successes, how would you define your cuisine?
Current and respectful. I am very curious – a cook must be such – I travel a lot, focused on drawing and learning from anything. I move from tradition, combining all the experiences I’ve made to create a mix that I transmit from every dish with all the love (and knowledge) I have for this profession.
If I say ‘excellence’, what do you answer?
Commitment. Yes, because, to make excellence there must be a lot of commitment and passion. Let’s make an example: the excellences of the Italian gourmet food and wines are such because they are prepared by people who are committed. For my new broadcast, on Discovery Channel, I had the chance to see how some of the most iconic Italian excellence food is produced, like Parmesan cheese and the Culatello di Zibello. Just a few know that parmesan processing begins EVERY morning at 4 o’clock or that the culatelli’s seasoning cellars are oriented to the Po river’s direction, because in certain periods of the year windows are left open, to let the perfumes of the poplar trees come in.
Always talking about excellent food, how do you consider Italian cuisine in the world?
I believe that Italian cuisine is one of the most appreciated, in general. It’s us, the Chefs, who must be good popularizers and let people understand how to enjoy at best. We must introduce our products to the world, as all of them have beautiful stories and if we tell about them (aside from tasting them), we contribute to create an experience which reveals to be unique.
What are the new cuisine trends?
There will be a significant return to simple cooking, the one who cherishes clear flavours and does not alter ingredients. To chefs like us, it will be a challenge to find better techniques and give shine to single ingredients, without distorting them.
Talking about ingredients, you use Excellence Black Caviar, in which recipe?
In the most sophisticated recipes of mine, because its soft and fragrant taste confer to any dish a particular refinement. I will present you a recipe that is a “bite”, conceived to free an unexpected mix of flavours to the taste. It is a very thin slice of bread made of spelt flour, which gives the bread a very delicate salinity. On the bread, I lay Excellence Black Caviar and an air of butter (similar to a froth), flavoured with lemon. With a sprayer, I spray just a little bit of green tea infusion and wasabi on the canapé and I complete with a micro-leaf of silver.
You offered us a recipe in which you were using the 100% pure truffles cream of “I Tartufai”.
Yes, it’s a recipe included in the menus of my restaurants. Tortelli of buckwheat flour and cedar peel. In this recipe I wanted to combine the particular flavour of spontaneous herbs to the unique taste of the truffle, refreshing everything with a citrus note.
Well, I would say you made us hungry.
It’s my job!
We have presented some products defined ‘luxury products’. What is ‘luxury’, for you?
I consider luxury in a peculiar way. Each day, my job takes me away from my home and my loved ones and makes me rush for hours. Then, for me luxury is to enjoy the sunset from my home in the mountains, dominating the Lago Maggiore, with my fiancé, my family (whom I meet rarely, although we work together) and my dogs, maybe drinking a good wine and eating… a bit of caviar!