In a landscape where culinary heritage seamlessly blends with innovation, Chefs Antonio Guida and Luigi Stinga emerge as luminaries of gastronomic brilliance. Guiding the Michelin-starred Seta in Milan and the acclaimed Talea in Abu Dhabi, they bring to life a remarkable fusion of quintessential Italian flavors and groundbreaking culinary methods. This exclusive double interview offers a deep dive into their dynamic partnership, revealing how it exemplifies an extraordinary melding of traditional Italian tastes and cutting-edge culinary techniques. Sharing their insights and distinct culinary styles, Guida and Stinga are setting new benchmarks in fine dining, continuously reshaping the core of Italian cuisine.
Chef Antonio Guida
Chef Luigi Stinga
Seta and Talea: A Celebration of Italian Gastronomy
At Seta, Chef Guida's culinary philosophy is a reflection of Italy and Milan's rich heritage and contemporary vibe. His approach to Italian cuisine is deeply influenced by traditions, as he explains, "In Milan, but in Italy as a whole, the tradition of gastronomy is significant. To make our proposals contemporary, we draw from these traditions, like our take on the Milanese cassoeula, a popular dish with savoy cabbage and pork meat, innovatively paired with oysters in the dish Bottoni “Buttons” stuffed with cassoeula, oysters and black truffle. This dish exemplifies his commitment to maintaining the essence of traditional flavors while introducing modern elements.
Guida further elaborates on his definition of contemporary cuisine: "It's about enhancing the aesthetics of the dish and making it lighter, aligning with modern preferences without losing the essence of the past." This philosophy is encapsulated in his signature dish, a risotto with raspberry powder and herb cream, a testament to his technical skill and an homage to the city which is Guida’s home from 2015.
Meanwhile, at Talea, Chef Stinga, under the tutelage of Guida, incorporates these lessons into his culinary creations. Stinga's rendition of the classic tiramisu, finished tableside with a unique twist, exemplifies his innovative approach. "The tiramisu retains its traditional flavor but is presented in a modern way, highlighting the importance of technique, light, and plating in contemporary cuisine," says Stinga.
Bottoni farciti con casseoula e ostriche - Bottoni “Buttons” stuffed with cassoeula and oysters
Freshness and Locality: The Cornerstones of Their Cuisine
Stinga's emphasis on using fresh and local ingredients is a direct reflection of Guida's influence. Hailing from South Italy, Stinga values the garden-to-table concept, incorporating freshly picked herbs and ingredients into his dishes. "The difference in flavor is palpable when we use garden-fresh ingredients. It's a unique approach that changes the dish's flavor profile each day," Stinga notes.
Their commitment to freshness extends to unique practices like beekeeping. "We have our bee farm, and the honey we produce is used in various dishes, offering a distinct flavor that cannot be replicated with store-bought honey," Stinga adds. This practice underlines their dedication to creating a unique identity for their restaurants through distinct, locally-sourced ingredients.
A Culinary Dialogue Across Continents
The mentorship between Guida and Stinga is a remarkable example of how culinary expertise and philosophy can transcend geographical boundaries. Their individual restaurants, while miles apart, share a common commitment to innovating within the realm of Italian cuisine. From Guida's creative risotto to Stinga’s inventive use of home-produced honey in his desserts, each chef brings a unique flair to their culinary creations, underpinned by shared values and individual experiences.
Pioneering a New Chapter in Italian Cuisine
Chefs Antonio Guida and Luigi Stinga, through their work at the Michelin-starred Seta and Talea, have not only celebrated Italian cuisine but have also expanded its horizons. Their partnership, grounded in mutual respect and shared culinary ideals, exemplifies the transformative power of combining traditional recipes with innovative techniques. As they continue to explore new culinary territories, Guida and Stinga prove that the fusion of heritage and innovation can yield extraordinary gastronomic experiences.
In their journey of culinary exploration, Chefs Guida and Stinga emphasize the paramount importance of curiosity. They believe that the secret to advancing in the culinary world lies in a relentless pursuit of innovation and improvement. "The essence of our progress and ability to elevate our culinary offerings is rooted in never-ending curiosity," they advise. Their parting words are a call to action: "Maintain a perpetual sense of wonder and exploration in the culinary arts, for it is through curiosity that we continue to grow and redefine the boundaries of our craft."