Today we have the great honor to introduce you to Luca Molteni, executive chef at nhow Milano. A grand chef with an international profile, he has been a part of NH Hoteles for 14 years. Now part of the fashionable and dynamic nhow Milano, he explains his passion for the cutting-edge touch of Milan gastronomy. Get ready to work up an appetite because this is one NH Friends interview you won’t want to miss!
Tell us a little bit about your career path. What attracted you to the nhow Milano?
After my studies, I had many experiences in Italy and abroad (London, Amsterdam and Switzerland) in 5 stars hotels and restaurants with key chefs having the chance to mix and discover new cultures and cooking styles. Then, I went back to Veneto, an Italian region of great gastronomic traditions, and at the end of the 90s I was appointed Chef of the former Jolly hotel (now NH Hoteles) in Genova, Liguria. I’ve been a part of the company for 14 years and after different experiences around Italy I was attracted by the European cutting-edge of Milan gastronomy. For this reason I’m working in Milan and it’s an incredible experience to be part of nhow Milano: great satisfaction, great challenge every day trying to match my cuisine philosophy with our client’s taste!
Describe the cuisine at nhow Milano. What makes it unique from other restaurants in Milano?
My style is based on classical French, Italian and international cuisine. Upon them I’ve built modern and creative patterns, always respecting the gastronomic traditions. In particular, I like to add “value” with creative “touches” to the basic dishes and to the street food in order to enrich simple plates and make them special. I like the direct relationship with clients, it’s always a good way to know their tastes and to improve.
How does your family influence your cooking style?
In my family nobody has ever been a chef, but when I was a child I was attracted by my mother’s cuisine as well as by the dishes’ aromas, fruit jams & green tomatoes from my grandmother. I also remember the garden cultivated by my father. All these products are associated with my sense of sight and smell.
What inspires you to create new and innovative dishes?
Journeys, new trends and constant updates inspire my cuisine. I always look for believable and attractive combinations with Italian raw materials and I like learning new ways of preparations.
You have worked in many countries. What unique aspects have you taken away from each country’s cuisine?
I’ve been influenced by the chefs I have worked with. From French chefs I learned the completeness and the techniques of cooking. In London I found out about new ingredients and new dishes, at that time an authentic novelty for the Italian gastronomy: passion fruit, water cress, tempura, burritos or sushi. In Amsterdam I learned new ways to cook, such as vacuum cooking and low temperature. I’ve had many memories: the incredible sauces of an Indonesian souschef with peanuts and spicy jam or a dish with a sort of spring roll with lobster and fennel inside cooked in Pastis served upon rice spaghetti, spinach sprout and anise sauce.
Where do you spend your time when you’ re not in the kitchen?
I love cooking, but I also love when someone cooks for me! I like music in general and live for music in particular, I think it’s still a genuine aggregation moment. If I were to go back, I’d like to learn to play guitar or sax. And last but not list my big passion is sport, especially basketball. When I was a child I practiced it, now I root for my favorite team: always and only Forza Cantù!