Interview: Nino Di Costanzo, Il Mosaico, Terme Manzi (Ischia, Italy)

Nino di Costanzo, young but very successful chef with two Michelin stars creates his plates like canvas on which he conjures compositions of colours, forms and tastes. His art works seem inspired by Mondrian, Kandinsky and other abstract painters just that they are eatable – and  more  – as same as they are pleasant for the eyes, they surprise us also with explosions of sophisticated flavours and tastes.

What has brought you into the culinary world and how did you decide to become a chef?

I believe one doesn’t decide what to become but chooses to follow the heart in the sense of passion. And if passion is cooking then one decides to take this marvellous road.

How would you describe the philosophy behind your cuisine and what is most typical about it?

Without any doubt is the message that I’m sending through my plates always strongly connected with tradition and my territory and of course also a continuous research of the best ingredients that our nature gives.

Let’s go to your childhood. Are there any memories, tastes, flavours, which are important for your creations of today?

Of course – what I’m doing today daily is to research and reinterpret those tastes and sensations which I remember from my childhood – I’m trying to express them in different forms and consistencies but always maintaining their essence, their true taste.

Are there any ingredients that you are specially fond of and which you use more often?

For sure the most important are olive oil, tomatoes and other ingredients that are typical for this part of land.

Who were your tutors and mentors? Who has influenced you the most and how?

Without doubt my grandmother and mother. Professionally was the most important for me Gaetano Trovato who teached me and gave me lessons and suggestions which helped me a lot on my way.

Who/what is inspiring you today?

Everything what’s surrounding me but most of all memories from my childhood, art and technology.

Creativity and technique. What is more important for you and why?

Both are the base of everything and they walk hand in hand. One without another has no sense.

What’s your favourite dish?

Everything cooked by my mother.

What was your biggest success?

I believe that loving your own job is the most important goal and success.

Do you have any realizable or realized dreams?

My dream was realized a few days ago when I have offered a dinner to a nursing home. I prepared three plates which really moved those old people for who I really care.

Do you have also any unrealizable dream?

Being happy with myself.

If you wouldn’t be a chef, what would you do?

For sure some creative job which would offer to me space for daily experiments and inventions.

All the photos are from the archive of the hotel Terme Manzi.


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