Andrea Aprea, new Chef at the VUN Restaurant, Park Hyatt Milano

The Park Hyatt Milano hotel is in the heart of Milan, right on Galleria Vittorio Emanuele. It has recently announced that Andrea Aprea is the new Chef at Restaurant VUN. This keenly awaited debut sees this talented chef returning to Milan as Executive Chef at the Restaurant VUN, starting from 5 September 2011 and with an official inauguration on 13 September, with an evening dedicated to discovering the flavours, colours and innovative ideas in the Neapolitan chef's cuisine.

Aprea, 34, was born in Naples. He has been working abroad for eight years (six in England and two in Asia) before his return to Italy. Aprea feels that it is important to be in Italy in order to create top-level Italian cuisine, because only here is it possible to source quality ingredients. Other factors are the brilliance of other chefs, and a demanding clientele. Aprea himself says: “In the life of a cook, there has to be a period dedicated to travel, in order to make discoveries and acquire experience. Every chef with whom I have worked has contributed to my professional development."

Drawing on all the experience he gained over the years, Aprea has constructed his cuisine and his values: precision, technique, teamwork, method, organization and research. Carefully selecting his raw materials, he performs constant experimentation and research on culinary influences. He says, "Creativity is expressed through experimenting with new techniques and combinations, but the end result must always approach traditional taste as much as possible. My cannolo di foglia di latte con pomodorini [fried pastry tube with mozzarella and cherry tomatoes] is merely a creative version of the Caprese. It looks like something completely different, but when you taste it the flavours are those of a traditional Caprese."
For Aprea, aesthetics are fundamental: simplicity, linearity, geometry and consistency are important factors in his work. For each dish he never uses more than three or four elements; this way he can enhance the ingredients and allow the flavours to be experienced to the full. In his cuisine, flavours are like stories, a succession of new and different emotions that flow freely without one overshadowing the other. They must also be visually recognizable.

“In Milan I will draw on traditional recipes, both from Milanese and Italian cuisine as a whole, because this is a city that allows you to do so, unlike Naples where serving risotto alla milanese would be a bit risky. In Milan, serving insalata caprese is considered normal. There is an openness to other cuisines that aren’t strictly regional.”
“Furthermore, working in an exclusive hotel is very stimulating because you have to satisfy the needs of different kinds of customers, from the gourmet to the businessman who grabs a quick meal at the bar. This doesn’t mean that there can be difference; in a luxury hotel the quality must always be high, wherever the guest eats, at the bar, in the restaurant or from room service. The watchword is always the same: excellence.”

The menu developed by Aprea for his debut at Restaurant VUN includes 5 appetizers, 5 first courses, 3 meat entrées and 3 fish entrées. These 16 dishes will be rounded out by a dessert menu that will be determined with the hotel pastry chef. Aprea is also introducing a tasting menu which is divided into two parts – Mid North and Mid South – and includes several of the most important dishes of Italian regional cuisine. One special recipe is called, simply "my vegetable garden…", and is consists of over 40 cooked and raw vegetables, delicate herbs, flowers, sprouts and tubers.The three full stops in the recipe name are intentional and appear frequently: they signify an experience that cannot be described by words!

For information and bookings, call the hotel at +39 02 8821 1234, or see their website: www.milan.park.hyatt.com.