Chef Renato Giusti has established himself as an international culinary rock star with over 30+ years in the kitchen. From his start with Gualtiero Marchesi (the first Italian chef to ever receive three Michelin stars) after serving as Head Chef in one and two Michelin star restaurants in Montalcino and Rome, an opportunity took Renato to serve as the opening Executive Chef of the Restaurant & Club Bellagio in Amalty, Kazakhstan. While at Restaurant & Club Bellagio, he won “Best Restaurant in Kazakhstan” three consecutive years in a row (2003/2004/2005) and become the chef of choice for the President of Kazakhstan when entertaining international dignitaries and celebrities.
His passion for food and travel has driven Giusti to further his international experience, bringing him to more acclaimed kitchens across the globe than most chefs. From Thailand and Russia, to Israel, Ghana, and the UK, he has most recently served as Executive Chef at the Hotel New Belvedere in Mangalia, Romania.
In the following Q&A, get to know Chef Giusti, as he lets us in on his cooking style and more.
Where did you grow up? What is your earliest food memory?
I grew up in Verona, Veneto. My earliest food memory was me trying to help my mother in the kitchen, I was maybe 10.
What inspired you to become a chef?
After graduating as Maitre d’hotel I realize that kitchen job was far more creative so I switched to the kitchen.
What was your culinary education like? How did you receive your initial hands-on training?
It was as a full immersion: three months paid training in 3 Michelin stars restaurant that totally changed my vision about what great cuisine can produce and I’m still working on those principles.
How would you describe your approach to cooking? How would you describe your cooking style?
My approach to cooking is always in evolution as people’s taste and sensibility change very fast. I’m focusing on zero waste and sustainability. I would define my cooking style fresh and innovative.
What do you think is an underrated ingredient or technique? No ingredient can be called underrated in my cuisine. Steam
cooking is not very used in European cuisine but I do personally think it is a great technique to preserve ingredients taste and texture.
What ingredient or technique do you think is overrated or overused?
Sous vide. It is interesting on some recipes but it’s really overused in modern cuisine.
How do you conceptualize your menus?
My concept of a menu is always adapted to the location I’m working in, except for thematic businesses. Basically, it must never exceed 30 references. Customers get confused on long menus and are difficult to be properly controlled. I prefer the menu to be short and fresh instead of long and stale.
Do you consider yourself to have a signature dish?
I have many but the last one was fresh egg Tagliolini, Stracciatella DOP, Mazara prawn tartar and Salicornia. A success!!
What dish do you look forward to cooking/eating on your days off?
No doubt, vegetarian Biryani rice.
Last question: what items can you not live without in the kitchen?
Salt and pepper. 😉