Mauro Uliassi has been operating his two-Michelin starred restaurant, Uliassi, located right on the beach in Senigallia on Italy’s east coast, since 1990. Since then, chef Uliassi has gained an international reputation for his inspiring and whimsical techniques with seafood. His artistic flair is founded in his love of the sun, the sea and fine Italian cuisine.
Q. Who did you learn to cook from?
I started working as a cook when I was seventeen, 38 years ago. Before going to catering school, I was at technical school. But, this school was not suitable for me because finding a girl in an all-boys school was like finding a needle in a haystack. I was very young, with my hormones totally out of control. When I finally changed to catering school, it was a great party for me, because eighty percent of students were girls.
After finishing school and several experiences in high-level restaurants, I attended university and I had the opportunity to teach in a catering school in Senigallia, to continue my studies.
I decided at that time that I didn’t want to be a professional cook, because it was a very hard job. I wanted to continue studying. But, in the summer of ‘83, I fell in love with my wife and when she asked me to cook for her birthday party and for her friends, I cooked with the greatest passion. I cooked like in the movie Babette’s Feast and for the first time discovered how wonderful it was to see the pleasure and happiness of others. A pleasure and happiness that I had created.
From that time I began to commit myself completely to my work, and after several years of teaching and studying in high-level restaurants, I finally opened the Uliassi restaurant with my sister, Catia in 1990.
At the time the restaurant was a simple wooden hut and we were all very young, but we were liked by everybody, and I remember that we enjoyed ourselves very much.
We did not have a particular style to identify us, but I learned the good flavour of food from my grandmother, Jolanda, who was a cook too.
Q. Name the one ingredient you can’t live without and how you use it?
The key ingredient in my cooking style is my thoughts, my enthusiasm and passion for the life constantly on the the move.
Q. What’s your favourite dish on your menu right now?
Our cuisine is always evolving and the latest creations for me are all fantastic: snails and frogs with wild herbs, the chicken with the seafood salad, the first shallow marine, roasted cuttlefish dirty with sea urchins, red shrimp, yellow plums and tarragon.
Q. What do you do when you’re not in the kitchen cooking?
When I am not in the kitchen, I love to read, play the guitar (badly!), I meditate, swim, run.
I try to capture the best that there is in this life so I am always very happy to be doing what I am doing.
Q. What are you predicting to be the next trend in food and what has been your least favourite food trend?
The past is the past. The “mistakes” of the past were important to improve our present.
I believe that the new food will be a food to feel good, to feel healthy. I think this will be the future. The professional chef has the knowledge to cook a good and healthy food using natural ingredients. Ingredients that are good for health.
Q. What other chef or restaurant do you most admire?
I admire chefs who are very different than me. I can learn from the diversity and improve my style. Chefs that I most admire in Italy and who are my friends are: Massimo Bottura, Davide Scabin, Niko Romito, Enrico Crippa, Paolo Lopriore and Massimiliano Alaimo. But the greatest master of this modern time is always Ferran Adrià. A genius.
The restaurant will reopen, Saturday 05 April 2014.
Banchina di Levante, 6 _ 60019 Senigallia (AN)
tel. +39 071 65463
fax +39 071 7930780
Opening hours (from 05/04 to 26/12):
Lunch: 12.30pm – 3.00pm
Dinner: 7.45pm – 11.00pm