I was lucky enough to grow up in his kitchen, Don Alfonso’s kitchen in Sant’Agata sui due Golfi, because my father decided to buy a house there where I was able to spend my summer vacations just a few meters from his restaurant.
He was my mother’s childhood friend and that is why he took me in as part as his family from the very beginning. Alfonso Iaccarino was about to become one of the most important chefs in the world and I was there, listening to all of his precious advice. The respect for my territory, for its products, and the importance of their seasonality.
I believe that each and every one of us lovers of good food owes him something. I remember perfectly the period before Don Alfonso opened. High end cuisine and above all proper nutrition were concepts and values that did not exist south of Rome. He arrived and, without resorting to alchemy simply valorized the products that his territory offered. Those products that up until that time had never attained the prestige that they deserved.
If today we can proclaim that in the Campania region to have the best tomatoes, the best olive oils, and the best pasta, it is all thanks to him.
I always noted his diligence in the kitchen, to never bow down to multinational offers to join him in his journey as a chef and later restaurateur which would have made him deny his territory, his culture and his history as an irreplaceable example to follow.
I couldn’t begin my new adventure, “CORTESE WAY” without dedicating it to him.