Gifted but modest Chef Anthony Genovese was born to Calabrian parents in Haute Savoie, France. As a child he spent a lot of time in the kitchen with his maternal grandmother, discovering a respect for simple ingredients, such as pasta, meatballs, ricotta and oil. He was also influenced by his grandfather, who had been a respected pastry chef in Messina, Sicily. After moving to the milder Cote d’Azur, at the age of 16 Genovese attended the École Hotelière de Nice, learning traditional French cuisine – quite a shock for someone used to the simplicity of Italian cooking.
Genovese then worked in a number of Michelin-starred restaurants across France, including the Vista Palace Hotel in Monaco and Hotel Negresco in Nice but the bond with his homeland eventually lured him back to Italy. There he spent 3 years at the 3-Michelin-starred Enoteca Pinchiorri in Florence, becoming head chef when it opened its first Tokyo restaurant in 1992 where he gained great respect for Japanese cuisine and travelled extensively in Malaysia and Thailand.
In Asia I learned a great deal about flavours. In Thailand and Malaysia I learned about spices; in Japan I learned about presentation and respect for the product.
On his return to Europe, he worked at the Hotel Regent in London and Italian restaurant Toto’s, then 2-Michelinstarred Rossellinis restaurant at Hotel Palazzo Sasso on the Amalfi coast where he gained his first Michelin star. In 2003 he took the plunge and, with his friend and colleague Marion Lichtle, opened Il Pagliaccio (The Clown), named after the Leoncavallo opera, in Rome. The restaurant is sleek and intimate, seating only 28; on its wall hangs a painting of a clown, painted by his mother in honour of his late father. For Genovese it’s also a symbol of the role that every chef should play for his patrons and the spectacle that creative cuisine can offer them. “Clowns, just like cooks are always in the spotlight and have to be the best, no matter what’s behind the mask. It’s like performing a show. Out front you must always show good humour; in the kitchen it’s another story!” Only three years after opening, Genovese was rewarded with his first Michelin star, followed by a second in 2009. One of his three degustation menus is aptly entitled a “circus of flavours” and the wine list includes 1300 Italian and international wines, selected to accompany diners on an interesting journey of the senses.
The Il Pagliaccio philosophy refers to the mastery of different emotions the circus character can provoke. It’s about inciting joy, curiosity and nostalgia through the dishes, as well as pleasing guests with delicious food. The menu is Genovese’s unique creation, using the best seasonal ingredients to update the menu and surprise his loyal clientele. There is enough creativity on the menu to last a lifetime. Diners at Il Pagliaccio are richly rewarded. Whether he’s serving succulent lobster with lavender and puffed rice or a tender piece of lamb with black garlic, friggitello pepper and pumpkin seeds, each dish has hints of hidden flavours and subtle spices that connect the flavours of the Mediterranean with the East, taking the diner on a journey between the two cultures.
Let guest chef Anthony Genovese put a smile on your face with his exciting culinary fusion. As an Italian, born in France, with a deep love of the Orient, his menu reflects this meeting of cultures, creating a synthesis between respect and tradition, innovation and modernity with his own identity coming over loud and clear. Meet the man behind the mask at Restaurant Ikarus in Hangar-7 in July 2019.
ServusTV: Culinary Heights at Ikarus on ServusTV
Each month at Salzburg’s two Michelin-starred Restaurant Ikarus, a different top international chef creates the menu. For this globally unique concept, Hangar-7 executive chef Martin Klein visits the cream of the crop, takes a look behind the scenes of haute cuisine, and is let in on some exciting culinary secrets. “Culinary Heights at Ikarus” offers a unique glimpse into the world of high-end cuisine and provides an interesting portrait of each guest chef, their culinary philosophy, and the food culture of their country.