First opened in 1946, Mediterranean restaurant Rampoldi is legendary in Monaco for hosting Hollywood icons such Princess Grace and Roger Moore. Now with a fresh new look and a young star chef at helm, the restaurant has its sights set on Michelin status. LUX asks chef Antonio Salvatore 6 Questions.
1. What are some of the food markets across the world that inspire (or have inspired) your cooking?
Food is emotion. I believe food generally serves as a natural gateway to a more profound understanding of culture and history, people and places. I’ve made no secret of my affection for cooking with fresh produce. Some markets that have really caught my eye are: La Boqueria in Barcelona, Mercado Saint Miguel in Madrid or Rungis in Paris. Wherever I go, I take inspiration from what I see and bring that into Rampoldi’s special gourmet dishes.
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2. Which dish are you most proud of at Rampoldi and why?
I think it would definitely have to be the roasted baby goat with aromatic herbs. My attachment to this dish is deep, dating back to my childhood. The rugged terrain of Basilicata [in Southern Italy], where I come from, makes the area well-suited to goat grazing. The tender, tasty meat of baby goats from the area is very valued. I love this dish for its simplicity and unparalleled flavour… some our clients come especially for this.
3. What’s the secret behind your famous tomato sauce?
A true classic of Italian cuisine! It’s perfect for so many dishes, but especially for pasta. Fresh tomatoes from the garden and the best olive oil are two of the main ingredients. For the rest, you’ll have to come to Rampoldi to try it out…
4. With so many luxury dining options in Monaco, how do you stand out?
Our clients understand that dining out at Rampoldi is a great opportunity to unwind, relax and enjoy a delicious meal in a great atmosphere. I have always believed this is what most people are looking for when they decide to dine out. Our clients are at the core of everything we do. We have created a very strong connection with our regulars over the years. I know all of their favourite dishes and flavours!
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5. Where do you see the restaurant in five years?
My heart is in Rampoldi. My everyday goal is to see my clients happy. Rampoldi has become a feeling, a state of mind. Over the next few years, I’m aiming to achieve our first Michelin star, which would be a great validation of our work. We also have plans on expanding internationally in the next couple of years.
6. What’s the most important lesson you’ve learnt as a chef?
Over the years, I have had incredible opportunities, working alongside some of the world’s most famous chefs. After spending so much time with these incredible and successful individuals, I now better understand the meaning of creating a compelling vision for my life: understanding the power of a decision, working harder than anyone else to achieve my goals, and learning to adapt in life and my career when things don’t go as planned. However, the most powerful lesson I’ve learnt is to respect and understand the power of relationships. This is something I brought with me at Rampoldi and is at the core of everything we do.
Find out more about the restaurant: rampoldi.mc