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At just thirteen years old, the young Ciccio Sultano took a part-time job at a local pasticceria (pastry shop), in the town of Vittoria in Sicily. The teenager immediately caught the owners’ attention and his position evolved into a full seven-year apprenticeship. While training, he started having an interest and began researching the careers of chefs Paul Bocuse, Alain Chapel and Alain Ducasse. He spent his free time studying recipes and teaching himself new techniques then put his newly acquired skills into practice by joining a local spaghetteria which almost immediately became a huge success due to the young chef’s take on the menu’s dishes. His dream was to one day open his own restaurant in Sicily, but he knew this meant gaining further experience so he spent a period in Germany honing his meat cookery, before joining the kitchens in New York of the famous restaurateur, author and television host, Lidia Bastianich.
Ciccio Sultano returned to his hometown of Ragusa, in Sicily and in 2000 opened his first restaurant, Duomo. Building on his own cultural heritage, he added the knowledge he had gained overseas and created menus that showcased classic Sicilian ingredients with an eloquence and subtlety in execution that gained the restaurant immediate critical acclaim. Duomo was awarded its first Michelin star in 2004, with a second following in 2006. Since then it has received numerous accolades, and Chef Ciccio Sultano has been named restaurateur of the year by the Gambero Rosso Ristoranti d’Italia 2020 guide with 3 forks.
In 2015, he opened I Banchi, a contemporary take on a traditional trattoria, and in June 2019 Cantieri Sultano opened its doors next to Duomo. It operates as an experimental and development kitchen for his chefs; a space to hold masterclasses; and also, a comfortable and atmospheric location where guests of Duomo can linger pre or post dinner. Recently he also opened Pastamara on Vienna’s iconic Ringstrasse, bringing contemporary Sicilian cuisine and drinks to the Austrian capital. He is ably assisted by Gabriella Cicero, Director of Operations for the Ciccio Sultano Group, who oversees the management of Duomo, I Banchi and other projects such as their farm L’Aia Gaia.
I do something I define modern but that must belong to me at the same time. In my dishes I want to feel the land I am in. A chef is a transformer.
Chef Ciccio Sultano creates an elegant and continually evolving portrait of Sicily with intricately balanced dishes. He insists on identity, sense of place, and responsibility and says, “I do something I define modern but that must belong to me at the same time. In my dishes I want to feel the land I am in. A chef is a transformer.” Pasta of patience: patri nostri, gnocchetti and pizziliati, handmade and seasoned with sanapo sauce, wild mustard, bitter grass, sea urchins, diamond shaped lemon pieces and lightly seared cuttlefish curls, finished with raw leaves of sanapo reminiscent of wasabi, ensure that Sicily emerges transformed and shining as usual.
Join Chef Ciccio Sultano for an edible summary of the history of Sicily, mirroring the emotions and moods of the moment at Restaurant Ikarus in February 2020.
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.