Chef Profile: Davide Guidara
This article originally appeared in the Winter 2021/2022 print issue of Quench Magazine.
Born in 1994, Davide Guidara is seen as a rising star among young Italian chefs.
After experiences at Noma in Copenhagen and other high-end restaurants in Italy like two-star Michelin restaurant Don Alfonso, he has now opened his own restaurant, Tenerumi. The restaurant is a part of the luxury resort Therasia on the Eolic island Vulcano, just outside Sicily. The setting is stunning. From the eight tables arranged on a grassy area, you admire the postcard-sunset over the Mediterranean Sea while the moon and the island of Lipari are watching in the background.
Davide Guidara is young, determined, and humble. He continues to study with a focus on forgotten Sicilian vegetables and intense umami flavours. His cuisine is vegetable based without any animal protein. The dishes are colourful and stylish with such intense flavours it takes your breath away. Together with Guidara’s dishes, he serves homemade drinks and wine (but you have to ask for it), kombucha (fermented tea) and creative cocktails. Eating here means pushing your flavour boundaries. Be prepared for a food memory that you’ll cherish for the rest of your life.
WHERE DO YOU LIVE:
In Milazzo, close to Catania, Sicily.
WHERE DID YOU GROW UP:
San Salvatore Telesino, Benevento, Naples, Italy
FAVOURITE COMFORT FOOD:
Bread and tomato with oregano and basil
FAVOURITE INGREDIENT TO COOK WITH:
All legumes, especially beans and lentils. Because they can have multiple interpretations and for their high content of glutamic acid.
BEST CHILDHOOD FOOD MEMORY:
Preserved and pickled vegetables that my grandmother used to make.
YOUR GO-TO RESTAURANT:
There are no specific restaurants, my favourite ones are those that offer simple but very tasty cuisine.
YOU HAVE A PAST AS A PROFESSIONAL TENNIS PLAYER, ARE THERE SIMILARITIES BETWEEN A SPORTSMAN AND A CHEF?
Certainly, cooking is pure team play so tennis does not influence this area. Tennis has helped me to do a lot of self-criticisms. In tennis it all depends on you, it teaches you to reflect and how to adopt different strategies based on the opponent and this helps both in private and professional life.
WHO IS YOUR MOST SIGNIFICANT CULINARY INFLUENCE:
Nobody. I believe that many have contributed to my training, and I think it is good because today I have a very specific style. It is based on a few ingredients, strong and concentrated flavours, local products and an additional international thought. Sometimes it happens that those who are too influenced by a single style then go and create a copy.
WHY A VEGETABLE CUISINE AND WHY DON’T YOU WANT TO CALL IT VEGETARIAN?
It is a cuisine that I love to define as vegetal. I do not want my cuisine to become part of a vegetarian or vegan context canonized according to the classic theory that in those places you eat badly. I want to make people understand that vegetables can be even more interesting than the animal protein sector.
WHAT IS INNOVATION FOR YOU?
Today, for me, the real concept of innovation is getting rid of all those superstructures that have characterized the world of haute cuisine. I want people to understand that you can enjoy great cuisine in an informal and easy setting.
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO BE CREATIVE:
A lot of music and a lot of time to study.
WHAT DO YOU DRINK AT HOME:
Sparkling water and Kombucha (fermented tea).
MUSIC YOU LISTEN TO WHILE COOKING:
It depends on the moment, during the preparation, we range from rock to some pieces of classical music, while during the evening service we listen to electronic music.
HOW DID YOU START COOKING:
I have no memory of it, but when I was nine years old, I went into the house after school telling my mother that I wanted to become a chef.
ON THE FUTURE:
Continue to study to always offer something more exciting to my guests and continually try to improve both professionally and personally.