Enrico Cerea Inaugurates the Theatre of Taste at Slow Fish 2007 with Tuna and Baccalà

04 May 2007

The first chef to cook in the Theatre of Taste demonstration kitchen during the first day of Slow Fish was Enrico Cerea, of the restaurant Da Vittorio in Lombardy.
Opened 40 years ago by Enrico’s father, the original Vittorio, the restaurant recently moved to a new location in Bergamo, where it is now a Relais&Chateaux property run by Vittorio’s children. The cooking of chefs Enrico and Roberto Cerea, which has earned two Michelin stars, is very focused on fish, unusually for such an inland location.
“My father’s aunt lived in Venice, and when he was young he used to stay with her. It was there he learned about fish – polenta, seppie, pastas filled with fish,” explained Enrico, as he began preparing an appetizer of raw tuna filet on rye crackers topped with a pear-cinnamon cream and a red-wine reduction.
He went on to describe how fresh fish arrives from the Orio al Serio airport, just a few kilometers away, sometimes so fresh it’s still moving. Raw fish plays an important role on Da Vittorio’s menu, and Enrico is working on a book, called Nudo e Crudo, of 40 raw-fish recipes to celebrate the restaurant’s 40th anniversary.
The second dish he prepared for the assembled audience was also with a fairly common ingredient, at least in Italy: baccalà, or salt cod. “Often people in the restaurant don’t want to try such common fish as salt cod and tuna,” he said, “but these are very unusual preparations, not classical recipes at all.”
In fact the salt cod dish was very striking in its combination of unusual flavors. A cube of the dense, meaty white fish was boiled, then lightly browned in a hot pan. It was draped with a golden sheet of honey gelatine, then finished with a white-onion and Emmental-cheese foam.
The audience was appreciative. “My expectations weren’t very high,” admitted a student from the University of Gastronomic Sciences. “But when I actually tasted it, I was blown away. It’s a very impressive dish.”

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