Ada and Augusto: on the outskirts of Milan a Japanese chef revolutionizes the countryside


Ada and Augusto: on the outskirts of Milan a Japanese chef revolutionizes the countryside

Ada e Augusto, in Gaggiano, is the restaurant of Cascina Guzzafame: chef Takeshi Iwai offers dishes that combine Lombardy and Japanese background.

Perhaps the name Cascina Guzzafame , in Gaggiano , will not sound new to you. Perhaps you have been there for a rural lunch, perhaps you have gone this far to buy eggs, dairy products and meats. But if you have never heard of the restaurant inside the farmhouse, Ada and Augusto , and the dishes of its chef Takeshi Iwai , you have missed something precious.

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Imagine moving from Tokyo to Italy. Try to learn all the nuances of the language, so distant from yours, but above all you dedicate yourself body and soul to absorb the Italian culinary knowledge, and pass under the wing of Pino Cuttaia , Anthony Genovese  and Massimiliano Alajmo . At the end of this star-studded journey , you feel the need to communicate your kitchen. From a Japanese transplanted to Italy, perhaps one expects the maximum degree of fusion , of Italian-Japanese mixes, but if you are like Takeshi, there is a need that goes beyond: to create a new story, something that transcends the previous ones.. To do this, the place of choice is a farmhouse on the outskirts of Milan, guarded between mists and rice fields, where the chef moves and literally lives in the kitchen.

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The small restaurant that acts as a counterbalance to the farmhouse must be discovered and protected by those who call the farmhouse trying to ” book at the Cascina Guzzafame sushi restaurant “. Because sometimes you will notice Japan in Takeshi’s dishes (an example is the Tsukemen of tagliatelle al ragù), but what strikes you is the sensitivity and his deep understanding and appreciation of the surrounding area. Like finding a way to find a use for all those edible acorns that adorn the large oak of the Cascina. Or draw heavily from the proprietary vegetable garden and from the meats and cheeses of the Monti family’s farm, owner of Guzzafame for generations, in the dining room to assist Takeshi’s work with Mariagiulia and Francesca.

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The seasons  (at the moment of course the coldest) can all be felt in these dishes. I am in the comfort of the Mondeghili in tempura, in the play on words and visuals of the Head of Turnip, but above all in the luxuriousness of the Ravioli with smoked red turnip, almonds and black truffle , which are an embrace of autumn in which to sit. You can find them in the Beef fillet wrapped in hazelnut and refreshed by the Jerusalem artichoke salad, not before sprinkling it with a DIY sauce made from marrow, Jerusalem artichoke and hazelnut butter.

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Immune from that protagonism that increasingly infects chefs, especially if still waiting for the limelight, Takeshi leaves his kitchen only at the end of dinner, with a subtle smile and the desire to show his kind determination, without excessive protagonism. When he explains his idea of ​​a dish, you want to know already what he will invent for the spring, for the summer.

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And you relax in a room warmed by the fireplace, in the Lombard countryside, where a Japanese chef has decided to create his creative nest. And where you can’t wait to go back.


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