1) Since when are you working as a Chef and part of the team at Hotel Bernina 1865 in Samedan? And what brings you to the Swiss Alps?
Chef Carboni: I have been in the beautiful Engadin since this summer season and have been part of the hotel team. First and foremost, the desire for new experiences leads me down the valley. There are innumerable stories about the pure natural beauty, the dazzling life as well as the deep roots of culture and history here. And of course the mission of the Mazzitelli family to direct and accompany Bernina 1865 in all culinary matters.
2) What is your philosophy in cooking? And how can one associate this, in Italian, with that in the Engadine?
Chef Carboni: My core idea is the transformation of culture of Italian cuisine on the one hand to combine with the well-known here classical way of preparation to another. With forgotten products and combinations, which at the same time have a great tradition to prepare simple dishes excellently. It is always about the use of regional ingredients, but of course also about the Italian twist. A well-made pasta Pomodoro or Pasta con Funghi simply melts on the tongue, but also our Bernina Tagliata is a hit and is loved by our guests.
3) How do you describe the « authentic » Italian cuisine?
Chef Carboni: Most of the dishes really come from the families directly as you would expect. Traditional recipes for generations, from nonna to mum are handed over. A la casa, at home you cook certain dishes according to the recipes of the region usually very strict and accurate. At the hotel you can try traditional dishes. Every Tuesday we invite our guests to get to know and love the culinary specialties of each region in Italy.
4) Where do you get your products from? Are these always fresh?
Chef Carboni: Local produce such as meat, dairy and pastry for breakfast I get them from local firms here from the region. Other Italian products such as parmesan cheese, bufala mozzarella, tomatoes or, in particular, olive oil from Italy. Jams and olive oil are coming from the family’s own production at Masia Terranobile and from the farm’s own harvest, the Amalfi region. The house limoncello is also made from limes of the Amalfi Coast. The aroma is unmistakable good. A must try – at Hotel Bernina 1865!
5) How does the concept work in the Engadine?
Chef Carboni: The balance is important. Of course, even in the winter months, the famous fondue remains on the menu. But since the hotel guests and the residents are very close to nature and traditional, the two components fit very well together. The fact that we bake our bread freshly every day in the oven, and this is also to taste, is just one example of how we implement our philosophy.
6) If you speak of tradition, then we have to mention also the past of the hotel as the first hotel in the Engadine. Built in 1865 and with traces of Badrutt families, it has a long history. How do you feel about being as the Chef?
Chef Carboni: Undoubtedly, the hotel was already in the early days a place for retreat and center of visitors in the Engadin. That’s how I still do interpret it today. Easily recognizable from a distance, the significant, pink-washed building is still the ideal place for retreat for many travelers on the Rhaetian Railway, and for skiing and hiking enthusiasts. And of course, for me it is a true pleasure to spoil these guests. Just like in the past for weddings and family celebrations of all kinds, even around the Christmas holidays, for example, the Emperor’s Hall shines in dazzling colors. This year’s New Years Evening menu, seven courses, will be served in the Kaisersaal, with an Italian band providing swinging rhythms starting at midnight. Almost as in the days of Emperor Frederick III. Don’t you think.
7) What is special about the menu at Hotel Bernina 1865?
Chef Carboni: In the next menu from December, there is a dish that perfectly describes this: Homemade potato gnocchi with broccoli cream, Provola foam and spicy salami. Do you already have got appetite? We prepare everything fresh and completely authentic, that is self-evident.
8) Do you have young talents in your team?
Chef Carboni: We are a team of Italians, but all are internationally experienced. Our youngest cook is 20 years old. For anyone who wants to get to know the Italian cuisine in more detail is welcome to us. Both for internships and in one of our cooking and pizza courses.
9) Can anyone participate in the cooking classes?
Chef Carboni: Once a month we have our pizza course, where Luca our pizza maker, Pizzialo the real secrets shows how to prepare an excellent pizza. Do you know the difference between what the Italians call « white pizza and red pizza »? Luca prepares the dough with the guests and explains all Ingredients for toppings and various Italian cheeses, such as gorgonzola, ricotta, mascarpone, mozzarella, caprini e provola. Further Italian cooking classes will take place in 2019. In the courses you will learn simple tricks and secrets, as well as technical best practices of Italian cuisine.
10) What is your very personal tip for the success of a good pasta?
Chef Carboni: Most simple dishes also require simple steps. Sometimes it is too easy to be true. Many people make the mistake of not putting enough salt in the water, others rinse the pasta with cold water – all these little details make a simple pasta al pomodoro wonderful or not. Please, my suggestion to you is: boil the pasta in plenty of water, with a lot of salt, always al dente and then directly with the sugo, mix the sauce. Good Appetite!
PLUS: Last question, what are you doing on Halloween today?
Chef Carboni: Celebrating with the family in Salerno, the hotel is closed and reopens on 5 December 2018 for all guests of the winter season.