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Sicilian gastronomy: Giuseppe Raciti wins the prestigious contest

Giuseppe Raciti, a thirty year ‘old Sicilian chef recently won the contest for chefs under thirty in southern Italy. The contest took place at Hotel Palace in Mondello, a holiday village just outside Palermo and was organized by the on line magazine Cronache di Gusto. BKWine Magazine’s Asa Johansson caught Giuseppe for a short interview.

Since three years, Raciti is the head chef at restaurant Zash in the village of Riposto, close to Catania where the volcano Etna is watching in the background. Before coming to Zash, where Giuseppe is gaining a more and more positive reputation, he has worked both in Italy and in Switzerland. For example Antica Osteria del Ponte and Chalet d’Adrien di Verbier.

Giuseppe Raciti of the restaurant Zash in Sicily

Giuseppe Raciti of the restaurant Zash in Sicily, copyright A Johansson

How did you start to work as a chef?

At the age of nine I already knew that I wanted to become a chef. When I was thirteen, I started an education at the restaurant academy in Sicily.  Three years later, I took off and worked in Switzerland. Since then things have been moving forward.

What is your goal?

I am aiming for a star in Guide Michelin.

Sicily has four restaurants with two stars in the Guide Michelin, La  Madia in Licata with chef Pino Cuttaia, Il Duomo and Ciccio Sultano in Ragusa, Principi Cerami in Taormina and La Locanda di Serafino, Ragusa, when do you think the third star will arrive?

It is hard. Getting a third star is really tough. I think we will still have to wait for some time.

Do you have a favorite restaurant in Italy?

Yes, I really enjoy restaurant Contraste in Milan where Matias Perdomo is the chef.

What shouldn’t we miss next time we come to Zash?

My Arancino con alici (fried rise ball with sardines) and lo Trasparente di gambero (raw shrimps pressed on the plate until it looks like a mirror)

Giuseppe Raciti rice ball

Giuseppe Raciti rice ball, copyright A Johansson

When you are at home what do you cook for your family?

Stuffed pasta! I have a deal with my wife. I cook and she takes care of the dishes. (laughs)

Talking about Sicily, what is the biggest strength of the island?

The collaboration between young chefs. We help each other, we discuss, and exchange ideas. I am very proud of that. Well, of course I am proud of the great Sicilian ingredients and traditions, too.

Is there one ingredient that would never enter in your kitchen?

I am not sure, well, yes, a broth cube! I would never use one.

Is there something you would like to add?

I would love to come to Sweden, and would enjoy having an exchange with northern Europe. I would also appreciate working at Geranium in Copenhagen.

More on the restaurant: www.zash.it.

On the fish market, Catania, Sicily

On the fish market, Catania, Sicily, copyright BKWine Photography

A village on the mountain slope, Etna, Sicily

A village on the mountain slope, Etna, Sicily, copyright BKWine Photography

A village in the mountains, Etna, Sicily

A village in the mountains, Etna, Sicily, copyright BKWine Photography

The famous elephant statue, Catania, Sicily

The famous elephant statue, Catania, Sicily, copyright BKWine Photography

This post is also available in: Swedish

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