Allegrini 2018


“Chefs should not be managers. The simplest thing to do is create a couple: one person to take charge of the artistic side (the kitchen) and the other, management”. Severino Salvemini, professor of Management at Bocconi, talks to WineNews
“The success of the restaurant is the dining room. Young people need to become waiters instead of only wanting to become chefs”. This is the latest provocation by Gualtiero Marchesi, dean of the great Italian cuisine and "mentor” of many who today are three-star chefs, launched yesterday in Milan, "stealing" the scene during the debate on "The Art of Hospitality", promoted by Cantine Ferrari and "The World's 50 Best Restaurants" ranking of the 50 best restaurants in the world.
Is it true though that service, atmosphere and hospitality are as important as the kitchen and even the maître has a role in the success of a restaurant?
“If I had not had Beppe, who has been with me since 2000, I could not have done what I did”, said Massimo Bottura, three-star chef of one of the most famous restaurants in the world, Osteria Francescana in Modena, and firmly at the top of the famous ranking, tipping his hat to his right-hand man, Giuseppe Palmieri, responsible for the dining room and cellar, and recognizing the importance of reception and service. “I am where I am today because he's there every day”, added Bottura. “Beppe has built an incredible service team, which over time has expanded and participates in the kitchen so they understand how to explain what is being created in the kitchen. It is essential to know how to communicate what we do”. According to the super-chef, the kitchen and the dining room have the same weight, 50-50, for the success of a restaurant.
Chef Bottura is not alone.
“There has been an over exposure in the media of the kitchen and chefs in particular”, according to Alaimo Raffaele, director of the three-star restaurant Le Calandre Rubano that has restaurants in Italy and France. “The public has lost sight of what it actually entails, but we insiders are well aware of it. Receiving good training is essential, even if you also have a predisposition for this work. There are also personal qualities. Skill is being able to understand the attribute of each one of our employees and put it to good use”. Andreas Caminada, three-star chef at the Schloss Schauenstein in Furstenau, Switzerland, also takes the art of hospitality very seriously. In 2015 he created a foundation for training and compiled a guidebook of values that the "perfect" host must have: joy, responsibility, team spirit, honesty and respect for the guests and the environment.
“The soft aspects count for 50%”, he said. Not only the "soft" aspects count, though. “The modern consumer is sophisticated”, said Severino Salvemini, professor of management at Bocconi University.
“The post-industrial economy must involve the people cognitively, sensorially and emotionally, because the customer does not want to feel like a number. Welcoming must be personal and must give the evening a unique and memorable experience”.
All right, but how? Salvemini has drawn up the main defects that according to him some high-end restaurants have and aspects that should not be overlooked. Often lighting is the problem and objects as well. For instance, “many customers are collectors”, he said, “so it is better to show conceptual art works because tastes are very different”. One of the very underrated points is music; “sometimes it would be better if there were none. If you do not want to ask a music consultant, it’s best to stay with the classics. Competition requires quality”, he said, calling attention to adopting appropriate prices, because even those who have a high spending level are looking for a balance between quality and cost.
Mauro Governato, manager of the Four Seasons hotel in Milan also agreed. “Hospitality is the desire to welcome the public. The motivation is to give something to the people who give us the great privilege of coming to visit us. Our slogan is: treat others like you would like to be treated”.
Matteo Lunelli, president and CEO of Cantine Ferrari, and in partnership with "The World's 50 Best Restaurants" totally agrees as well. Cantine Ferrari has launched the new "Ferrari Trento Art of Hospitality Award", to be awarded in New York on June 13th during the ceremony of which it will be the official sparkling wine. “The award will bring attention to the dining room and the fundamental role of the dining room staff. The art of hospitality is paramount for a memorable experience and an unforgettable memory”, said Lunelli. “The award will be voted by the same panel of the thousand experts in the world that assign other awards”, explained Hélène Pietrini, director of "The World's 50 Best Restaurants", “and it is a bold step for us”.

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