PREMIUM INTERVIEW Top Chef con Ricetta Weekend con gusto

Il weekend fiorentino continua: scopriamo nuove bellezze e squisitezze stellate


Our next destination is the splendid Palazzo Portinari Salviati, Beatrice’s birthplace. We will discover a truly stellar “gourmet” world that houses the Sala Beatrice, the multifunctional space created to host private events and business meetings, the Salotto Portinari Bar & Bistrot dominated by the original statue of Cosimo 1 dei Medici, which houses a restaurant business lunch or an informal dinner, a cocktail bar for a signature drink and cafeteria, even just to sip an excellent coffee.

Select, spuma di lampone, arancia pera: un drink creato da Dennis, barman del Salotto Portinari:

Select, raspberry mousse, orange and pear: a drink created by Dennis, barman of the Salotto Portinari:

Finally, the starred restaurant Chic Nonna by Vito Mollica, inside the frescoed Corte degli Imperatori, full of frescoes, mosaics, mighty columns and a historic fountain in the center of the room, in short, a breathtaking environment, where the waiting staff will accompany you to your table.

Vito Mollica

Chic Nonna was awarded a Special Prize at TheFork Awards 2022 for “having demonstrated the strength and brilliance in closing a long 25-year experience and challenging itself with an equally ambitious and rich project”, Chic Nonna (Michelin star) offers an à la carte menu and two tasting menus, as well as a proposal for paired wines.

La statua di Cosimo I e il meraviglioso sottitto affrescato

The “amouse bouche” by Chef Vito Mollica, including an exquisite kiss of lady with pumpkin and lemongrass
A very delicate raw scallop with turnip tops and Annurca apple

Piccione alla brace , mais e mirtilli. Piatto fedele alla filosofia “no waste” dove tutto viene utilizzato, anche i fegatini serviti su polenta

I met Vito Mollica for a nice interview

Hi Vito, your first memory in the kitchen?
From the very beginning, as a child. Mine was a peasant family and the household activity took place mainly in the kitchen: many aunts intent on cooking, a fireplace lit, the “pignata” next to them with the order never to touch it, since, like all children, I had always hungry and was very curious.

Risotto al melograno servito su lepre selvatica e pistacchio salato

A “waterfall” of pomegranate risotto served on wild hare and salted pistachio
When did the professional spark strike?
In various “phases”: the first was when I was twenty, when I attended school in Casargo, in the province of Lecco. There I fell in love with the life of a cook, with the fascination of travel, with the possibility of traveling the world and getting to know different cultures and people.

Piccione alla brace , mais e mirtilli. Piatto fedele alla filosofia “no waste” dove tutto viene utilizzato, anche i fegatini serviti su polenta

Grilled pigeon, corn and blueberries. Dish faithful to the “no waste” philosophy where everything is used, even the chicken livers served on polenta

Then the Milanese phase in the Mauro restaurant, where a lot of fresh fish was served,  pwr continue in the big hotels in Genoa, Amsterdam where I had reached a position of responsibility, The “starry” spark arrived  in London to then guide me to Florence, a city I welcomed in a beautiful way. I lived for a long time with the Four Seasons group with which I was lucky enough to also open a beautiful structure in Prague with which I am madly in love also because my two children were born there

Gel di mandarino e croccante al caramello

Mandarin jelly on crunchy hazelnut and caramel

Is there a dish you are particularly attached to?
A truly homemade dish: my mother Carmela’s “cautarogni”, a type of hand-made pasta, while if I think of a famous chef, Cesare GIaccone’s wonderful kid comes to mind.
One of his favorite dishes of his?
Cacio e pepe cavatelli, flavored with red prawns and baby squid.

If he hadn’t become a chef …
(laughs) I would have been a cook!

Cacio e pepe cavatelli, red prawns and marinated pin squid
For 4 people

A must see in Florence:
Palazzo Vecchio, Galleria dell’Accademia for the appointment with Michelangelo’s iconic David. the Medici Chapel, a sumptuous octagonal room full of marble inlays and splendid sculptures by Michelangelo, the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella and the numerous Renaissance treasures of the Tuscan capital, including Santa Maria del Fiore, Brunelleschi’s dome, Giotto’s bell tower and the Baptistery

If you missed the first part of “Weekend in Florence” click here