by Tamu McPherson

Hey There Pretty Birds,

For our latest episode of Tamu’s Cafe, our special guest chef Luigi Taglienti takes us for a tour of W37, one of Milan’s most interesting new event spaces. While walking through the venue, we discuss what makes a design space avant-garde today, the signature characteristics of Chef Taglienti’s kitchen, and what he might cook when he appears on Tamu’s Cafe.
You might enjoy reading a translation of our conversation:
TMP: So, Luigi Taglienti… where exactly have you brought me today?
LT: We’re at w37, Richard Ginori’s first establishment in 1920. Today it has been reinterpreted by MB America architect Monica Melotti; as you can see, it is a multipurpose space which, in my opinion, is lovely.  I was immediately taken with this link between history and culture and what the space will offer in the future.TMP: What do you think is avant-garde about this space?
LT: Well, I think that, at the moment, the concept of having an open space is important.  You can create a very elegant, minimalist, very exclusive location that is in step with the times and cosmopolitan, a space where you can place diverse contents.
TMP: So then do you feel the avant-garde is exclusive?
LT: The avant-garde is exclusive if conceived by someone who strongly believes in his or her ideas…
TMP: Ok… so how do you convey the existence of a space that offers so many possibilities to people who are constantly seeking out the avant-garde and new things so as to create content that will make people think?
LT: There are so many ways of communicating and, as I mentioned before, I feel the multipurpose characteristic of an open space allows you to move into it and interpret it however you feel is best at a given moment.
TMP: Describe your cooking style… What are its defining characteristics?
LT: As far as I’m concerned, the spontaneity of cooking is essential because it allows my mind to constantly explore and never be static or dwell on concepts that have already been seen and experienced. I believe my cooking naturally derives from my own way of thinking so it is not influenced by other people’s cooking.  It can be contaminated by ingredients and trips I’ve been on or will go on, by spices, but everything is based on the thoughts I identify and focus on in my mind.  I have a mental flash and I draw from my knowledge and skills and translate these into cooking know-how and, ultimately, into dishes.
TMP: Ok.
LT: Essentially, however, in-depth knowledge of tradition and all things classical lies at the heart of everything.  My experiences, my journey, my past have brought me to study in numerous kitchens, kitchens I have been in as well as my studies in classical international cuisine. This proved important for me because it allowed me to develop techniques and ways of making sauces or to learn cooking methods which today make my cooking both avant-garde yet still significantly classical in its foundations. I wouldn’t speak too much of tradition since I feel it is a word that is overused and misused.  In my opinion, tradition is memory, like reinterpreting tastes. Through my dishes, those seated at my table have the opportunity to recognize tastes and flavors they have already enjoyed thus making a kind of memory cooking.
TMP: And what would you do at Tamu’s Café?
LT: My approach to cooking is always the same, whether I cook at home or at my restaurant.  How I work in the kitchen never changes.  Obviously the dynamics are different but, as I mentioned before, the idea of creating a cuisine made of elements and ingredients allows me to develop a dish both in a home kitchen as well as the kitchen at my restaurant.
Video by Luca Spreafico.

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