Chef in quarantine: 3 dishes by Cristiano Tomei

Chef in quarantine: 3 dishes by Cristiano Tomei

We interviewed some chefs to find out what they will cook during the quarantine and to have their recipes: here are those of Cristiano Tomei.

” I try to keep my mind active and to think every day as if I could reopen tomorrow “: this is the fuel that keeps the inspiration and concreteness of Cristiano Tomei , chef from Viareggio at the head of the Funnel of Lucca and well-known face of TV unaltered Italian gastronomy. “ Every morning I get up, read the papers and watch the news. I inform myself for an hour but then I close, turn off and move on to something else. Otherwise I would end up being stunned, disoriented. I am a cook and I have to keep thinking as one. I try, as much as possible, to protect my serenity otherwise I just make confusion. In these moments, however, the solutions for the post-virus must be thought out and weighed with a clear mind “.

The chef’s quarantine

The positivity of thought may be innate but you have to know how to keep it in training. Cristiano’s training at the moment is his children, the kitchen and the home , which he confesses to having discovered only in these days when free time abounds. He also admits to having found serenity in domestic cleaning, on the other hand we know: an orderly environment generates clear and creative flows of thoughts, it is the first rule for a restaurant professional.

“ We must try to take the good even from the tragic, otherwise we never get up again. These days I have posted a billboard on the living room wall. I write all the daily commitments, from the bureaucratic matters to be carried out with the accountant and INPS, to the interviews, from external collaborations to the video recipes that I am making for my suppliers. Later I will record one with my son Sebastiano, he is the eldest, he is 9 years old and has a strong passion for cooking as well as a sensitive palate.among 100 bottles still in the cellar and an employee, I will always save the secondThe second, Aeneas, has 3 and for now he seems to be the reincarnation of Satan ”. He says it just as the playful screams in the background cover his voice but nothing seems to undermine the chef’s fighting energy, not even the criticisms received for a recent interview in which he hypothesized to reduce the economic weight of the Funnel wine list, 1 Michelin star inside the splendid Palazzo Pfanner on the edge of the walls of Lucca. Cristiano does not waver and sends the attacks back to the sender: “Between 100 bottles of wine still in the cellar and an employee, I will always save the second. My staff has always given me so much and I will work to safeguard it. These days I try to broaden my range of action, to start new collaborations for when we get out of this paralysis. Of course it will mean totally giving up free time but it will generate employment for the employees and maybe help the turnover to restart ”.

Those awaiting catering in the near future will not be easy times: Cristiano is aware of this, like all his colleagues. Less money in your pocket and less space on the plates for tinsel and games, but this does not mean the end of starred restaurants, quite the contrary. The chef from Viareggio already has a clear idea of ​​what will become the key to his restaurant proposal: human warmth . “I will focus as much as possible on the direct and personal relationship with the local producers, we will team up to start again together, we will help each other, sharing joys and hard times, we will forge strong alliances. Through my dishes I will tell their stories. Mine has always been a cuisine linked to origins but it will become even more so. People will want the truth on the untreated table of culinary technique. Food will become like never before an element of comfort and evocation of pleasant memories to console oneself from bad moments spent. The pot will be a highly evocative game “. So here are three recipes conceived in this emotional key that we can all enjoy preparing at home in these days of self-isolation.


  1. Fillet of turbot asparagus and orange . Take some asparagus, remove the hardest parts and spread them in a pan, add a good extra virgin olive oil, a clove of garlic and half a glass of orange juice. Turn on the heat to maximum and let it brown for a couple of minutes. Sprinkle with salt then arrange the turbot fillet, skin side, on top of the asparagus, cover and continue cooking by lowering the heat for 5 minutes. At that point the asparagus will have turned a deep green and the oil will have emulsified with the juice of the oranges. “ This dish was born in the first days of isolation and my children loved it very much ,” says the chef.
  2. Salt artichokes with anchovies and peanut butter. Wash the artichokes, dry them and as they are, with all the outer petals still, arrange them in a pan on a bed of coarse salt. Cover with more coarse salt until you no longer see them and cook in a preheated oven at 200 ° C. After half an hour, remove the pan from the oven, break the salt crust and remove the hardest leaves and the most external and stringy part of the artichokes. of the stem. At that point, fry them whole in boiling oil. You have to immerse them completely so use a tall, narrow pot and fill it with plenty of seed oil. Drain the artichokes and dry them on absorbent paper. In this way they will become super crunchy on the outside but on the inside they will remain soft and creamy. After a few minutes, cut the artichokes in half, arrange them on a plate and cover the inside with a layer of peanut butter. Add a little anchovy paste and that’s it. “A dish that unites two distant continents in one powerful flavor, it doesn’t need anything else, serve it like this “.
  3. Beef stew between Naples and Brussels . ” A little Genoese and a little carbonade flamande this is a dish that will make you enjoy“Says chef Tomei. Take a good piece of stew beef, so not too lean, and cut it into cubes. Pass the meat in the flour then brown it in a pan with extra virgin olive oil. Cover (totally!) With finely chopped but not chopped blonde onions. Let it heat up and then cover it all with a lager beer. Even one of the industrial ones is fine. Lower the heat, close with a lid and let it go slowly, until the onions fall apart and the meat has become a butter. It will take about 3 hours. Halfway through cooking, remember to add a sprig of rosemary to perfume a little. Aside, prepare a salad of artichokes, potatoes and asparagus. Clean the artichoke from the most fibrous parts and cut it into very fine slices. Boil the potatoes, peel them and cut them into cubes. Remove the asparagus from the initial part of the stem (the hardest), peel them with a potato peeler and then cut into cubes. Add the three vegetables and season with red wine vinegar, salt and extra virgin olive oil. Serve the stew next to the salad.

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