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16.11.2016. Le Sirenuse
In February 2016, talented young chef Gennaro Russo received a ‘battlefield promotion’ from sous-chef to executive chef of Le Sirenuse’s relaxedly gourmet La Sponda restaurant. Just nine months later, on 15 November, his well-received first season was crowned by a Michelin star during the presentation of the celebrated restaurant guide’s 2017 Italy edition in the opulent setting of Parma’s Teatro Regio.
La Sponda was one of just nine Italian restaurants in which the chef had changed since the previous edition to see its star confirmed. For Russo, it was an award not only for him personally but for “the unremitting commitment and unmatched professionalism of 35 people in the kitchen and another 25 in the dining room; we’re like a big family that is linked by strong bonds of loyalty and affection”. Russo describes the news as “a dream”, one built on “plenty of sacrifices, but also lots of gratifying moments”. But he’s also keen to stress the continuity behind the steady culinary evolution of La Sponda, which first won its Michelin star in 2012 under the 30-year-old chef’s predecessor and maestro, Matteo Temperini. “Matteo made me a real pro”, Russo explains, “and taught me to be aware of the details that not every chef sees”.
The 2017 Michelin guide confirms the inexorable culinary progress of the Campania region, which is now joint second in Italy with Piedmont in terms of the number of Michelin-starred establishments it can boast. Both regions are currently home to 39 starred restaurants; only Lombardy, with 58, has more. New Campanian arrivals in the 2017 guide include Piazzetta Milù in Castellamare di Stabia, Veritas in Naples, and Il Mosaico on the island of Ischia.
Photo © Roberto Salomone