Chef Moreno Cedroni describes his passion for raw fish Featured

An innovator in Italian cooking, and his inspiration from real sushi.

A delicate balance between innovation and tradition hallmarks the cuisine of Moreno Cedroni, chef and owner of the Madonnina del Pescatore, Tel. +39 071 698 267 at Senigallia and of the Clandestino Sushi Bar, Tel. +39 071 801 422 at Portonovo. Indeed, Cedroni has revolutionised the concept of sushi, the result of plucky experiments and memories of the flavours of the land of his childhood. In addition, his boundless passion for raw fish has led him to open a seafood delicatessen called Aniko, where clients can shop for creations prepared by the chef and his staff.

Moreno Cedroni, what sparked your fire for sushi?
It was a cuisine that I really liked, but not how it was offered at that time in Italy. Everything was standardised, only sushi dipped in soy or, at most, vinegar was served. That kind of cuisine was not for me, so I started to create new recipes working with the lean meat of the fish.

You’ve been experimenting with sushi for about ten years, what kind of feedback have you had?
I must confess that I met with a lot of scepticism at the beginning, especially when I opened the Clandestino Sushi Bar in Portonovo, bang in the middle of a region where the ingrained belief was that fish should only be eaten cooked. Nevertheless, like many other fields, when it comes to the kitchen, innovators have to be able to take on the challenge of a mindset that is often closed and bigoted.

Are you an innovative chef who also looks to the local traditions?
Of course. I believe it’s important to remember the tastes of childhood, they distinguish the identity of my cuisine. I like to think that the person tasting my dishes can close their eyes and place where they are by the flavours. You add new inventions to your menu each year.

How do you select the dishes?
My work always starts with research into the raw materials before, then combining the different flavours to invent new recipes. I start work each spring on the concept for that season’s tasting menu.

What novelty do you propose to add to your menu this year?
My idea is to identify a revolutionary concept each year and to build the tasting menu around it. Last year, for example, I added a sweet ingredient to savoury recipes; two years ago, the idea was to serve dishes with a raw base that appeared cooked. This year, the key concept is to add a meat element to fish dishes.

How important is the ambience in which the dishes are served?
A great dish is not the only component needed to feel really good in a place, in my opinion. At the Madonnina del Pescatore, for example, we take great care in creating an ambience, in the lighting and, above all, in the quality of service. It’s a question of nuances, the evening will only be memorable if all the different aspects are right and come together.

Menu for a Romantic Dinner A dinner filled with romance, according to Moreno Cedroni, must contain two essential ingredients: it must be tasty and light. The chef recommends skipping the heavier type of seafood, such as oysters and molluscs, to focus, instead, on the lighter shellfish, such as an imaginative dish of raw scampi in an orange marinade. Sushi is a must, choose red tuna from the Adriatic Sea and mustard ice cream with roasted almonds or mackerel in marinade with burrata (soft cheese filled with butter), cherry tomatoes and seitan. These dishes are best accompanied by pink bubbles. End the meal romantically, as suggested by the chef, with a magnum of chocolate filled with cherry blossom tea served with a vintage port.

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