Antonino Cannavacciuolo – The third star

The 12th third Michelin star in Italy goes to Antonino Cannavacciuolo. Also, the number of 2 macarons awarded by the jury is on the rise, with four acknowledgements to four chefs, all under 40

by Francesca Ciancio

No longer eleven, but now a total of twelve three-starred restaurants in Italy. The Olympus of Michelin-branded stars now includes the name of Antonino Cannavacciuolo, chef and owner of the restaurant Villa Crespi in Orta San Giulio, on Lake Orta. The chef from Vico Equense – who is well-known for his television appearances – takes home as many as four stars, since he received another for Cannavacciuolo Vineyard, hosted by Marco Suriano in Casanova di Terricciola (PI).

Thanks to the popular chef from Campania, the region of Piedmont is once again honoured with the Red Guide’s highest acknowledgement, after the one awarded to Enrico Crippa with Piazza Duomo in Alba.

The Red Guide explained the award to Cannavacciuolo with the following words: “The restaurant Villa Crespi by chef-patron Antonino Cannavacciuolo, convinced the Michelin guide team due to its ability to create an experience – a journey – through Italy, with guests finding the flavours of his beloved Campania, the Mediterranean, and Italy as a whole to dive into a dimension of the total, complete cuisine, which respects ingredients and taste alike. A no-frill cuisine that seeks to caress the heart, and the palate, and remain impressed on memory. Orta San Giulio is now a location that is definitely worth the journey. Three stars!”

Deeply moved, Cannavacciuolo was as always accompanied by his wife and manager Cinzia Primatesta at the award ceremony. An airtight couple with a just as tight-knit team is the key to Villa Crespi’s success, a restaurant located in a historical Moorish-style residence, in the heart of a secular park. The first star arrived in 2003, while 2006 was the year of the second acknowledgement. Now, after sixteen years of work and research, Cannavacciuolo has reached a total of 3 stars, an achievement less than 140 restaurants worldwide can boast. Lovrinovich, Director of the Italian Michelin Guide, thus explained the reasons behind the Neapolitan chef’s success story: «His dishes are inebriating creations with clear-cut and distinct flavours, enhanced by a variety of tasting journeys ranging from Campania to Piedmont with a nonchalance that makes even the most complex things seem simple».

Domenico Stile.

Daniele Lippi (Acquolina) and Domenico Stile (Enoteca La Torre) are among the twenty new winners of the double macaron under age 35 in this 68th edition of the Italian Michelin Guide.

Daniele Lippi.

Going down one macaroon, we find four new two-starred establishments in Rome, Acquolina and Enoteca La Torre, bringing the capital back centre stage in Italian cuisine. Another was awarded to Salvatore Iuliano of St. George in Taormina and the fourth to Gabriele Boffa of Locanda Sant’Uffizio in Penango. Acquolina is the reign of Daniele Lippi, within the hotel The First Arte. Little more than thirty years old, this chef, who trained at the High Court of restaurants like Piazza Duomo, Pavillion Ledoyen, and Lasarte, has long been committed to an accurate study of the origins of the various gastronomical traditions in Mediterranean countries, which he interprets in a modern and intriguing key. His signature dishes include the Ventricina di tonno rosso (Red tuna Ventricina), the Tumma di mandorle (Almond Tumma), and the Aletta di ricciola laccata al grasso d’anatra e salsa bernese (Amberjack fin glazed with duck fat and Béarnaise sauce).

Salvatore Iuliano.

THERE ARE NOW 385 STARS IN THE 2023 MICHELIN GUIDE, A NEW QUALIFYING RECORD FOR ITALIAN CUISINE, ONE OF THE FIELDS IN WHICH ITALY EXCELS WITHOUT FAIL.

Again in Rome, and again under 40, is Domenico Stile, the newly awarded two-starred chef of Enoteca La Torre, who brings his origins from Campania, and, more in general, his Mediterranean roots, into the kitchen. A starred line-up characterises the kitchens of Gianfranco Vissani, Enrico Crippa, Antonino Cannavacciuolo, Massimo Bottura and Nino di Costanzo, who was the youngest starred chef in the Italian capital to which he brought his great love for the sea. He declares that he has a soft spot for octopuses and loves to cook and eat seafood. Born in Castellammare di Stabia, one of his signature dishes is a perfect identity card for di Costanzo, as a Neapolitan and as a chef: the Risotto ai limoni di Amalfi, cannolicchi, vongole veraci, asparago, yogurt di bufala (Risotto with Amalfi lemons, razor clams, clams, asparagus and buffalo yogurt).

Marco Suriano.

MANY YOUNG CHEFS WERE AWARDED STARS, A TOTAL OF 20 UNDER
THE AGE OF 35, AND THIS YEAR BRINGS ITALY AN EXCEPTIONAL NUMBER OF NEW STARS OVERALL – AS MANY AS 40 – EVEN
IN SMALL PROVINCIAL TOWNS.

Italy’s 3-Michelin stars

La Pergola in Rome, chef Heinz Beck.
Uliassi in Senigallia, province of Ancona, chef Mauro Uliassi.
Da Vittorio in Brusaporto, province of Bergamo, chef Chicco and Bobo Cerea.
Piazza Duomo in Alba, province of Cuneo, chef Enrico Crippa.
St. Hubertus Rosa Alpina in San Cassiano, province of Bolzano,
chef Norbert Niederkofler.
Enoteca Pinchiorri in Florence, chef Annie Féolde, Riccardo Monco,
and Alessandro Della Tommasina.
Reale in Castel di Sangro, province of L’Aquila, chef Niko Romito.
Le Calandre in Rubano, province of Padua, chef Massimiliano Alajmo.
Osteria Francescana in Modena, chef Massimo Bottura.
Dal Pescatore in Canneto sull’Oglio, province of Mantua, chef Nadia Santini.
Mudec in Milan, chef Enrico Bartolini.
Villa Crespi in Orta San Giulio, Province of Novara,
chef Antonino Cannavacciuolo.

We travelled to Sicily to meet the third new 2-starred chef who answers to the name of Salvatore Iuliano, head of the kitchen at St. George by Heinz Beck. His German mentor, a 3-starred chef with the restaurant La Pergola at the Hilton in Rome, taught Iuliano the skill of working hard, head-down, and possibly with a smile. Heinz Beck knows how to convey not only the necessary calm to his team, but also hand down his seraphic way of working they call it the ‘Beck method’. Chef Iuliano’s culinary proposal alternates between creative dishes and references to tradition with tributes to Trinacria (Sicily), for those in search of a Mediterranean cuisine beyond conventions. An example? Risotto ai friggitelli, crostacei marinati, Cedro, capperi (Risotto with Sweet Italian peppers, marinated shellfish, citron, and capers).

Gabriele Boffa.

And lastly, Gabriele Boffa, who is part of the big, Michelin-starred family of the Enrico Bartolini Team. This time, the restaurant that was awarded the Michelin star is the Locanda Sant’Uffizio Enrico Bartolini in Penago, in the Province of Asti. Located in a beautiful 16th-century convent, surrounded by the hills of Monferrato, the Sant’Uffizio also offers beautiful guest rooms and is the site of the culinary creations of this young chef from the Langhe. His cuisine ranges from the great regional classics, which he prepares faithfully, such as the extraordinary Agnolotti del plin, to more creative and innovative dishes that never forget their strong bond with the territory.

Above, Antonino Cannavacciuolo.

(Antonino Cannavacciuolo – The Third Star – Barchemagazine.com – April 2023)