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Interview Chef Vito Mollica


The cook top has a set of essential musts, chef Vito Mollica; the executive chef of the two Italian Four Seasons Hotels in Milan and Florence, believes the secret of his Michelin star cuisine is to know the stories behind each product, as well the search for a constant balance between the flavours of local gardens and the raw materials characteristic of tradition.

"The secret of each dish lies in the quality of the ingredients," this is the philosophy of Chef Vito, whose passion for cooking dates to the time when he loved to watch his mother busy preparing culinary specialties from Basilicata, in southern Italy.
To make sure everything in the kitchen reflects this principle, often Chef Vito personally visits regional markets and Tuscan farms looking for independent producers who share his passion for quality.
"I look to work with producers who are passionate about their work, because I know that will always be reflected in the taste. The simpler the preparation of the ingredients, the easier it will be to amplify the flavour," says Chef Vito.

vito mollica pasta

Now a Four Seasons veteran, he started working in the Four Seasons Hotel Milano's kitchens in 1996, then moved to Prague. He returned to Italy in 2007 to join the pre-opening team at Four Seasons Hotel Florence, and the restaurant 'Palagio', where he found a perfect city for his passion for food, as well as his lifestyle.
"It's a paradise of perfection: art, history and cooking," Chef Vito continues. "It's also a perfect place for kids. The city is relaxed and cosmopolitan, and from here we can easily reach both the sea and the mountains."
Florentine by adoption, the Michelin star chef, deux ex machina of the 'Palagio', provides a balance between the local preparations and some concessions to international taste in their seasonal menu, such as the foie gras or lobster.
And here his magic begins as he balances these sometimes-competing drivers – and finding respectful ways to celebrate a base made with ingredients typical to Italian cuisine with the serving of a luxury raw material, like the blue brassiere of Brittany.

vito mollica scampi

The result is a cold toast, the steaming steak with cream of sauce, which brings together the familiar taste of carrot, celery, and onion with the texture and flavour of precious beef. Some might consider this a combination far from desirable, but with a simple preparation, the dish produces a marriage to delight. The vegetables are fried in olive oil and laurel leaves, enriched with a vegetable broth, before being smeared and tanned with Tuscan oil. In the meantime, a bouillon is prepared in which lobster boils for six minutes. The lobster is then cleaned and dried, while the dish is seasoned with salt, pepper, oil, and red wine vinegar. The result is a tasty and balanced, colourful, and light dish.
The lobster sauce offered at 'Palagio' is found inside a seasonal menu whose dishes "must be easy to recognize, curious, and offer the client a rich assortment of choices. I have in mind a clear, simple menu based on ingredients and then excellent technique," Chef Vito explains.
Far from the Byzantinisms and the semantic surprises, he adds, "I think the simplicity in the description may give diners a sense of familiarity with what they will find on the plate, and introduce them to the chef's esteem for the quality of ingredients used."

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