"The real challenge is not to stay up to date but to create something personal and your own"
Born in the heart of Monferrato, a region of Piedmont in northern Italy, Chef Eugenio Cannoni inherited his passion for cooking from his grandmother, who hailed from Apulia and instilled in him a love for creating with care and joy. Though he began his career at his family's restaurant, he yearned to expand his knowledge, leading him to attend Alma di Gualtiero Marchesi, one of Italy's premier culinary schools, where he was introduced to the world of haute cuisine. Since then, he has embarked on a journey of research and enrichment, exploring kitchens throughout Europe and the world, and even serving as the Chef of a Michelin-starred restaurant.
He has also worked as a consultant with various establishments in Italy and abroad, and currently holds the position of executive chef at La Scala, The Sukhothai Bangkok.
Can you tell us about your background and experience in the culinary industry?
I started in the family restaurant, but after a few years I felt the need to improve myself and to try to enter the world of haute cuisine so at the age of 29 I enrolled at Alma, which at the time was the best cooking school in Italy. Since then, my experience has only taken place in fine dining restaurants in Italy and Europe, until I held the position of Chef de cuisine in a Michelin-starred restaurant in Piedmont, my home region.
How do you approach menu development and creating new dishes?
When I think of a menu, I always think of a taste path, which does not necessarily go up and down, but rather creates a nice alternation in terms of taste and texture. My cooking is a cuisine made up of present and past, I like to use ingredients encountered along my professional path but with combinations that remind me of emotions and memories experienced in my past. So very often I find myself dusting off old regional recipes or dishes cooked by my family, clearly re-proposed with a modern style and the right technique.
How do you stay up to date with the latest trends and techniques in fine dining cuisine?
At the moment in my opinion there is the opposite problem to keeping up to date with the new trends of fine dining, i.e. we are bombarded by images, videos, stories etc. on social media and online. The real challenge is not to stay up to date but to create something personal and your own, despite all the impulses that come from outside, risking doing a copy and paste, and not having your own distinctive feature that sets you apart.
Can you walk us through your creative process when conceptualizing a dish?
First I think about the main element of the dish being a protein and a vegetable. Then I try to find a combination that has a story, both for me but also has Italian popular value. Then I think about the technique to be used that enhances the taste of the product as much as possible. Many times the technique is hidden and cannot be seen, for example it can be marinating, slow cooking or various steps that in the end have to disappear and leave it up to the customer's feedback if they find the difference or not
How do you handle and address customer feedback, both positive and negative?
Fortunately, I very rarely get negative feedback, but when I do, I accept it as long as it is constructive criticism aimed at improving a particular dish or texture. Criticism is always welcome to help us evolve and understand what people want and prefer. That said, I don't accept criticism when it is made without a real basis, as behind my dishes there is the work of many people and that criticism is toward all of us.
What's your vision for La Scala?
La Scala restaurant was one of the pioneers of high-end Italian cuisine in Bangkok and is establishing itself as one of the go-to restaurants for Italian haute cuisine. The journey to get here has been beautiful and stimulating, but hasn't been without obstacles and daily challenges. Above all because Italian cuisine has a very strong comfort food element, it suits the Thai palate, but at the same time, it needs to be approached with sensitivity to preserve its authenticity. My vision for La Scala is to continue to elevate the restaurant's reputation as a leader in Italian haute cuisine, while also staying true to the roots of Italian cooking and providing a welcoming and unforgettable dining experience for our guests.
If you are interested to try 'Haute Cuisine' head to La Scala Bangkok