“Creative Italian dishes served between columns and marble floors, in a fine restaurant with a piano” is the kind of impression you’ll get when you look up the internet for ‘Le Colonne Marziale’ in Caserta.
And it is really worth going into, not only to satisfy the taste buds, but above all to breathe the professional philosophy of the hostess, Michelin-starred top chef of Italian restaurants: Rosanna Marziale.
We know you as a dynamic chef, but what kind of an entrepreneur is Rosanna?
An entrepreneur looking to the future, but never forgetting where she comes from. On our premises before ‘Colonne’ (then ‘San Bartolomeo house in the country), we have been trying to increase the value of dad’s teachings and I think this has developed into a great value addition over the years.
You’ve studied a lot; you were apprenticed to Gianfranco Vissani and Martin Berasategui. You have learned the techniques of the bar and pizzeria. How do you assess the preparation of Italian restaurateurs?
It’s grown a lot, I think. In the ’80s, colleagues hid their recipes to avoid getting copied, and conventions dedicated to food or special opportunities for interaction and networking practically did not exist. Everyone was busy playing their own game. Today, chef-entrepreneurs want to be educated and compared, indeed if it helps them to improve. I, for example, know of some restaurants that copy my most popular recipes such as the mozzarella ball, but it does not bother me; I take it as a sign of esteem!
Your love for your land and the products it offers is well known, but you’ve never considered enriching your journey, maybe abroad?
I must admit that at this time I only have one pet project in my heart – after accumulating experience and knowledge all these years, I want to spread, allow the use of and share a certain type of food with that audience, which, for many reasons, is unable to go to a starred restaurant. After all, it is not only the ingredients and creativity, but also the ability to propose a special atmosphere and conviviality. We, in the South, are masters at this. The kitchen is nourishment for the soul as well as the body and it would be a shame not to establish this formula as a convention.
What advice would you give to those who plan to open a restaurant?
To stay down to earth and remember that you don’t only need to love the kitchen to become successful entrepreneurs. You have to deal with the fact that you can no longer proceed by trial and error. The activities are quite different today and apart from a little weighed-in investment, you need to put in a lot of effort to set your plan in motion and make it work.
One last question, almost personal: is there a tool or tools that you are particularly fond of?
Oh, yes there is: the microwave! It’s a bit strange, but really do I have to explain? After many experiments, I discovered that the microwave allows the mozzarella balls to retain their perfect shape and remain soft and compact without losing the buttermilk. With this little trick I always get the pot exactly how I want it. And it is important that the dishes are exactly as you want them! That’s all.