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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The end of fine dining in Trentino?

The new year has wreaked havoc in the Trento fine dining scene, with three chefs, all previously starred, having to leave their restaurants.

No more fine dining (and local cuisine instead) at Chiesa. Chef Peter Brunel is going (not clear whether entirely of his own will) and more tradionally oriented young local chefs are coming in.

And the even finer chef Markus Baumgartner was sacked by the owners of Maso Franch, also making space for more traditional cuisine.

And there are rumours circling the other starred venue Lo Scrigno as well.

But, more tragically for us, the Lunelli family (producers of the Ferrari bubbly and Surgiva water) has said goodbye to Walter Miori (and his wife Franca) of Locanda Margon. With great elegance, they informed the press before the chef and the staff, who were the last to know. A nice world, indeed.

At least we now suspect we understand the otherwise inexplicable loss of the star by Miori after fourteen years - could it be by chance the case that the Lunelli have quietly whispered to Michelin about the impending sacking of the chef, in order to spare the the embarrassment of awarding a star to a no longer resident chef? How malicious we are.

We are fond lovers of Trentino's regional delights (think of the Osteria or the 2 Camini) but this debacle of fine dining is worrying and puzzling: why are people willing to spend hundreds of euros on frivolous gadgets but not on the noble culinary products of artisan skill and research?

Time will tell whether this is a local phenomenon (perhaps the Trentini are just too much in love their Lucanica susages and their 'carne salada', to the detriment of other delights), or just the beginning of a general trend in Italy towards traditional, more 'popular' and lower budget cusine.

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