When have you decided to approach this career? Tell me a little about your childhood in Puglia and your family.
I decided to approach the world of food & beverage as a child, thanks to the passion that my mother still has today for the search for new dishes and new ingredients. She has always stimulated me to help her in the kitchen and therefore she passed on this passion to me. Even now, when I call her, she asks me for recipes and about what I’m working on. And I am very pleased because it is a true sharing.
Tell me, how did it feel starting you new experiences at Mandarin Oriental, Milan? And above all, what have been your greatest achievements in recent years?
Milan is a completely different story. It is a city that I love deeply, a very lively city especially if we talk about hospitality. We have a lot of amazing colleagues, whom I love very much. It is an inspiring city and I am really happy with my choice. I am working for an important company that focuses a lot on the F&B department and therefore I made the right choice. I have many professional achievements, starting from the recognition of the two Michelin stars. It has helped me improve as a chef and a person as well because it is also a matter of responsibility. I feel responsible for raising the quality of my recipes and service.
I believe it is always important to reflect on our work, on the day, on our achievements. Do you think you have achieved a balance in your daily work?
Yes, definitely yes. Looking back, I am definitely happy to see the professional and the person I have become. Meanwhile, the team is happy and this is important for our work and for our creations. The secret is to listen, to be close to people and to dare motivations to go further. So it helps a lot the fact of changing menus often, involving also the brigade. You should never say: “this has to be done just like this”, but always: “let’s do, create, taste together”. Complicity is important.
Today you are the person you are thanks to the teachings you have received along your path, both as a chef and as a human being. How do you reciprocate this gift every day with your team?
This is a good question. Basically I try to give to others without expecting to receive something in return. I was lucky enough to learn from the greatest chefs and I want to share this knowledge with the brigade as much as possible. I think guests can perceive it. I think we created a cohesive and strong team. At Seta, we are lucky to have many people who deserve to be involved continuously. This is the secret in my opinion: “there is not just the chef, there is a team”.
And in my opinion, as you said before, the fact of protecting the creativity of the single individual..
And this is right, also because they will cook the recipes themselves. The chef is at the pass, reads the orders, receives the dishes from the party leaders and makes sure that everything goes the right way, but the dish itself is made by the brigade. So it is necessary for everyone to feel involved in the project.
I firmly believe that you are a very sensitive person and I appreciate you very much, so I ask you one last question which is also a way for me to grow as a professional. You have achieved tremendous success and you can see it every day. Do you still have some fears at work?
I am not afraid, but in my opinion it is important not to sit down. A great person I met some years ago always used to say that “one must be happily dissatisfied”. We must always try to raise the bar in order not to get into boredom, into apathy. This is fundamental to me.
You know I love eating at Seta, but I’d love to see your kitchen. What do you think if we cook something together?
Video interview to Chef Antonio Guida:
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