“To appreciate the light you need the darkness.”
I could wax poetic on the artist/philosopher Massimiliano Alajmo, chef of a constellation of Michelin stars, creator of some of Italy’s most clever and artistic eating experiences. Soft-spoken and patient, Max is the kind of person that draws you in, and keeps someone like me quiet and on the edge of my seat, waiting for the next revelation. No, he is not a gastronomic messiah, just an multi-sensorial artist who prefers the kitchen to the stage, which means that each dish, restaurant and experience is part of a story.
Max has made a career of culinary mindfulness, incorporating artistry, fluidity, and light into dishes that are unexpected. Creativity has been running through his veins ever since his earliest kitchen experiences at age six with his mother Rita Chimetto, the keystone to the Alajmo empire of 11 restaurants. In 1992, Rita earned the family restaurant Le Calandre its first Michelin star. Two years later, at the age of 20, Max took on the role of Le Calandre’s executive and by 2002, the restaurant had three Michelin stars, making him the youngest chef to receive three Michelin stars at age 28.
Max’s dishes are edible conceptual art, and require just a little bit of the patience of paying attention because they tell tales of terroir, art and life. Harmony and the symbiosis of ingredients and space are the fundamental tenets to all of Max’s creations, which expand from the table to the surroundings, whether dining at the minimalist Le Calandre, where Max’s paintings are painted directly onto bare walls or Quadri, the sumptuous Venice restaurant designed by long time collaborator Philippe Starck, where humor is just as important as design.
In This Episode
[00:28] Introducing chef Massimiliano Alajmo
[05:52] The Alajmo Story
[12:27] Massimiliano’s Philosophy
[17:26] Traditions of Italian cuisine
[22:45] Michelin stars and More: Alajmo’s restaurants
[28:48] AMOR: The New Pizza Project
[32:54] Massimiano’s artistic expression in hand-painted menus
[35:18] Max’s Must-Sees and Do’s in Padova and Venice
Le Calandre – Michelin three-star in Rubano (Padova)
Quadri – Michelin one-star in St. Mark’s Square (Venice)
Gran Caffe Quadri – the most beautiful caffe (Venice)
Amor – the new pizza project (Milan)
*this is just a sampling. There are several others.