From ski slopes to the kitchen: an umbreakable bond with Cortina D’Ampezzo
At only 35 years old Riccardo Gaspari has lived many different lives. Ski instructor and winner of important competitions, carpenter graduated at the local school of sculpture and carving, farmer and now award-winning chef at San Brite, of course in his beloved hometown Cortina D’Ampezzo.
How did he get there? The answer is only one: LOVE.
Like in the most romantic movies, everything changed once a new helper arrived at El Brite de Larieto (his family’s agriturism)… At that time Riccardo wasn’t even able to cook an egg but for staying closer to Ludovica, now his wife and mom of their two adorable daughters, he decided to work in the kitchen. And then the magic began: Riccardo revealed a natural talent for cooking and the restaurant was always full of people waiting to taste his creative dishes. In order to improve his gift he also decided to attend a stage with an important chef but somehow, he forgot to send the final confirmation email and lost the occasion.
Once again Ludovica turned the tables in his life: she called a friend who was in contact with the great Massimo Bottura and the day after Riccardo was already learning from him at the legendary Osteria Francescana.
After this exhausting but incredible experience Riccardo finally found his own identity as a chef and he decided to give his personal touch to Cortina’s specialities and to create his own kingdom, on the top of his beloved mountains.v
After a revolutionary renovation of his dad Falvio tractors’ garage, San Brite has finally opened and it totally reflects Riccardo’s personality and philosophy, starting from the furniture characterized by minimal style, local wood, iron. There is no need of many ornaments when you have Dolomites outside the window. Riccardo pays tribute to his land and his origin in everything he does: all the ingredients used in his kitchen come from his family dairy Piccolo Brite and from El Brite De Larieto where there is a vegetable garden and his dad Flavio personally breeds pigs, cows and goats.
In stark contrast to the luxury menu proposed by Cortina’s exclusive restaurants, Riccardo wants to talk about his roots, his childhood and, above all, about the beautiful place where he lives. Many traditional specialities such as “ground chestnuts” (a local root), beef diaphragm and butter & cucumber sandwich which are considered too poor and coarse by the most part of local chefs, for Riccardo are a real treasure and a constant inspiration.
Always with Ludovica by his side, Riccardo has created a magnificent menu (have you ever tasted pine flavoured spaghetti?) and he constantly receives many awards that celebrate his strong identity and vision.
His dream now is to get his first Michelin star.. at the moment only one agriturism in Italy has reached this incredible goal but Riccardo’s story shows that if you are true to yourself and work hard dreams come true.
..and maybe Ludovica will give a little help once again!