Gualtiero Marchesi, a pioneer of nouvelle cuisine and the first Italian chef to win three Michelin stars, has died aged 87.
He died yesterday in his home in Milan, surrounded by his family.
Marchesi was born in Milan in 1930. He began his professional training at the Kulm hotel in St Moritz, Switzerland, when he was 17, before training at the École Hôtelière de Lausanne in Switzerland.
Back in Italy, he worked in the family restaurant in the Mercato hotel in Milan but, eager to improve his knowledge, and despite being in his thirties and almost 20 years into his career, he went on to work at restaurants in France, including Ledoyen in Paris, le Chapeau Rouge in Dijon and, finally, for the Troisgros brothers in Roanne.
risotto oro e zafferano, decorated with gold leaf, was probably the most photographed speciality in the era of nouvelle cuisine.
In 1993 he moved his Ristorante Gualtiero Marchesi to Erbusco in Franciacorta. He was appointed rector of Italy's first dedicated cookery school for chefs, ALMA, on its opening in 2004, He also opened his Il Marchesino restaurant in Milan in 2008 and opened the Gualtiero Marchesi Academy in Milan in 2014.
"Chefs need to have culture," he told The Catererin an interview in 2008. "Without it they're not worth much. Yes, chefs have to master technique, yes, they need to come to grips with science, but above all they have to develop a sense of why they are doing what they do, what is taste, what is balance, what is creativity and how to achieve them."
In 2008 he famously denounced the scoring system of Michelin and 'returned' his stars, claiming to only want to receive comments and ratings.
He was also one of the founders of Euro-Toques and was its international president from 2000 until 2002.
His honours include receiving the Ambrogino d'Oro prize, the highest acclamation from the city of Milan, in 1986. In 1989 he became the first person in Italy to receive the International Personnalité de l'année prize for gastronomy, while in 1990 he was honoured with the title Chevalier dans l'ordre des Arts et des Lettres.
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