The Gannet Q&A

Enrico Vignoli

23rd May 2018

Interview: Killian Fox
Photograph: Andrea Moretti

Born in Bologna and raised in Imola, Enrico Vignoli studied engineering before becoming a chef. He has worked with Massimo Bottura since 2007, first at Osteria Francescana in Modena (which topped the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list in 2016) and then as director of operations for the Francescana group. His own projects include Postrivoro, a showcase space in Faenza for up-and-coming chefs, and he is involved in the running of Festa a Vico, an annual food festival in Vico Equense near Naples which takes place this year from 3 to 5 June.

If you could revisit one meal in your life, which would it be?

Easter lunch at my grandmother Giuseppina’s place. That side the family comes from the Molise region in southern Italy, therefore all the dishes were much different from what I was used to in everyday life. So for Easter we had a mix of two traditions. All my family attended and we had the lamb, burned bell pepper salad with garlic, a bigger version of tortellini (the interpretation of my grandmother) and the leftovers of Easter evening: baccala gratinèe with breadcrumb and raisin, my favourite dish ever from my grandma. I used to eat it cold on Easter (she’d saved it for me the day before)​.

What’s your most food-splattered cookbook?

I’m not sure that there’s one that I use a lot, I love change. Although recently I’ve been loving the old Italian ones from the 50s and 60s – one that I used a lot was The Silver Spoon. It’s amazing to see how different things were back then. The only recipes I read now are the one for doughs or soups, like cereal and beans soup or spelt soups or traditional pasta soups. I love soups​.

What’s your biggest food or drink aversion?

I don’t think I have any; I can really appreciate anything when it’s been well made. Raw farmed salmon is probably the toughest thing for me because of the taste of farmed salmon.

Describe your perfect breakfast.

Good quality Italian coffee. ​I usually brew it with a Moka, the Italian traditional pot. Sometimes I eat the leftovers of wholegrain biscuits from my son’s breakfast once they are melted in milk.

Of all the restaurants in the world, which makes you happiest, and why?

I’ve spent most of my career at Osteria Francescana and working for the Francescana group, so I’d say that Franceschetta (Francescana’s little cousin on Via Vignolese in Modena) is the restaurant I love the most nowadays, I just love the energy and the mood there.

What do you listen to when you’re cooking?

Usually I listen to news radio when I’m working. Unluckily, I don’t listen to much music.

Tell us about a dish you make when you’re short on time.

The best pasta I can find, cooked al dente, with the best early harvest oil (slightly bitter) and a 30-month-old Parmigiano Reggiano from Modena grated on top.

If you could only drink one thing, aside from water, what would it be?

Wine. Wine. Wine. In my everyday drinking life I am a fan of sparkling wines from our tradition, such as Lambrusco sur lie or Pignoletto sur lie.

What was your favourite food when you were 10?

Probably my grandmother Lina’s tagliatelle with ragu. She used to run a traditional trattoria on the Via Emilia, and while everyone enjoyed the game meat, I was a fan of the iconic tagliatelle with ragu.

What ingredient or food product are you currently obsessed with?

My friends produce some of the best salami and cheese I’ve ever had. In Emilia, Giovanni from Lanterna di Diogene makes salumi from his free-range pigs. Spigaroli is fucking amazing for culatello, and Orsi San Vito or Artigianquality for Mortadella. I love Pecorino di Fossa and my favourite is probably the one from San Patrignano​.

Describe the thing that most annoys you as a customer in a restaurant.

When the service is unpleasant and not super-friendly. I come from Romagna, and here welcoming people with cheers is a trademark.

Festa a Vico runs from 3 to 5 June

Follow Enrico: Twitter | Instagram | Postrivoro website

Posted 23rd May 2018

In The Gannet Q&A


Interview: Killian Fox
Photograph: Andrea Moretti

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