Massimo Mantarro, chef at Hotel San Domenico, Taormina, wins Gambero Rosso award

Massimo Mantarro, chef at Hotel San Domenico di Taormina, has won the  "upcoming Chef" award from "Il Gambero Rosso." Mantarra, 38, originating from Calatabiano (near Catania, Sicily), has won recognition in Italy and abroad for his recipes that are based on Sicilian traditions, such as stockfish, pasta with courgettes, sardines, and desserts made with ricotta cheese.

Mantarro has won the Gambero Rosso prize as best new chef for 2011. Mantarro has been a chef for ten years, completing his training at the hoteliery college in Giarre, near Catania. The San Domenico Hotel, and in particular its restaurant ‘Principe di Cerami’, attained a score of 87 and two forks in the guide.

Mantarro said, "We try to combine tradition and innovation. Our cuisine is based on the finest Sicilian recipes, and we always used locally-resourced products. Our most innovative dishes include one named 'calamaro,' a sort of risotto, with basil chlorophyll and lightly spiced squid ink sauce. The squid is cut into a risotto shape and covered with rice cream sauce." Mantarro also said that "guests from abroad are particularly enchanted by SIcilian cooking. Pasta with sardines is very popular, and we make it lighter and more interesting with a sauce of cherry tomatoes, pine nuts and raisins. Of course, a good Sicilian meal always has to end with our desserts. We present a dish that we call 'Journey in Sicily,' with all sorts of desserts based on Sicilian ricotta cheese. Next year we would like to receive the third fork from the Gambero Rosso guide, and, with some new and innovative recipes, I'm sure we can achieve it."

Click here to see the web pages for Hotel San Domenico, Taormina, Sicily