Domenico Della Salandra, the slow-dining chef

Dress your kitchen

We discover the culinary spirit of the “DesinoLento” restaurant in Milan, a real oasis of peace in the midst of the city bustle. It offers elegant, creative home cooking based on traditions and seasonal ingredients.

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Domenico Della Salandra, the slow-dining chef
When Ernesto Calindri began in a famous advert to celebrate the virtues of an artichoke-based aperitif “against the stress of modern life”, sitting and reading a newspaper in the middle of city traffic, chef Domenico Della Salandra wasn’t yet born. But today, his restaurant“DesinoLento” (www.desinolento.com), which opened in May right in the historic centre of Milan, combats the stress of the city.
The restaurant is located in via Turati, a short walk from the Cathedral and the Central Station and it is the perfect place for slow dining: fashionable and colourful, with retro chairs and designer lighting. It is a new venture for Domenico Della Salandra, after his popularity at “Taglio” in Via Vigevano, also in Milan.
He was born in Germany in 1979 and returned to Vico del Gargano in Puglia when he was 6 years old. He discovered his passion for cooking at a very young age.. After gaining a diploma at the Vieste Hoteliers’ institute, his career developed in Milan, where he worked in many restaurants in the city and province.
Since 2009 he has taken part in the important event “Identità Golose”, and for seven years has worked with Bulgari Maison on all the brand’s gastronomic events worldwide. Currently, as well as his activity as a chef, he is a consultant in Italy and abroad and teaches in a cookery school,Congusto, in Milan.
How did your interest in cooking start, Domenico?
«I like eating well and healthily. And I come from a place, Puglia, where food is king. It’s like a cult for us: we are born with food in our veins. I’m the son of a woman who has always looked after her family with love and devotion, and this has made me appreciate food more. I’ve been doing this job for twenty years. I was 14 when I started cooking, when I took on my first job at a restaurant in the Gargano area».
What is the “DesinoLento” restaurant like? What kind of atmosphere does it have?
«It’s in the corner of a gallery in the city and it’s a place surrounded by peace and quiet in the midst of all the bustle: it’s like being in paradise! It’s basically an oasis in the middle of the city. For the moment we’re only open at lunchtime and for aperitifs, but from Autumn we’ll also open for dinner. It’s a bit New York style – wood and steel, softened by warm lighting– it’s not only a restaurant, but also a place that hosts events and contemporary art exhibitions».
When does a dish become a work of art?
«When it’s attractive, tasty, easy to understand and when it explodes on the palate. When you’re fascinated by a dish and you love it. But art isn’t something you can explain, you just perceive it».
What’s your idea of cuisine?
«We offer Italian cuisine focussed on respect for ingredients and preparation techniques. We want it to be pretty easy for the customer to understand what he’s eating. The dish has to be light and the preparation and cooking techniques should make the customer feel good, like at home, and he should take his time» (to be continued).

Mariagrazia Villa


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