Giuseppe Davi was born in northern Italy but spent every summer at his grandmother’s house in Sicily. At 16, went to work in a restaurant kitchen. The chef’s record of service includes work with Claudio Ruta (La Fenice), Pino Cuttaia (La Madia), Nino Graziano (Semifreddo). For the last six years, he’s been the chef of Butler restaurant at Patriarshy Ponds.

When I came to Russia 18 years ago, Moscow was under immense construction. There was a sense that everything is growing, renovating, expanding — a special kind of energy. I liked it very much that this city gives you an opportunity to grow. And everything worked out well! I have no plans to leave. I am proud of the fact that I cooked a lot for many people, including some very influential ones. I’m not going to say the names, but Butler is often visited by statesmen, by top managers, by the right-hand men. And I feed them. When I was just starting out in Russia, the majority of restaurants only had Italian classics on their menus. But Moscow is not the only thing that is growing, the gastronomy is developing as well, and there is finally demand for new wave Italian cuisine. The main menu of the Butler restaurant is made up of 100% classical dishes: pasta, seafood, Mediterranean- and Sicilian-style fish. I also hold chef’s table twice a month, and I personally cook traditional Italian dishes with a twist. Their taste is the same, traditional, but their form is different. You cannot call this food a classical one. The most important thing for me is top-quality products. For example, red prawns. I like their taste and texture, they can be eaten raw, or you can cook lots of interesting dishes with them. Fifteen years ago, I first introduced them on the menu, and today, Moscow’s residents know that for red prawns they come to me. There are many dishes that I was the first to introduce in Moscow. About five years ago, we added Mandarin from Giuseppe Davi to the menu. My mom is from Sicily, and my dad is from northern Italy, and each year, when they were in season (in November-December), my grandfather would send us Sicilian mandarins. These memories prompted me to combine all the flavors of mandarin taste in one dish. We prepared mandarin jam, souffle, jelly — and shaped the dessert as a mandarin. We put it on chocolate crumble with jam — as if the fruit has fallen to the ground. The result was a whole palette of mandarin tastes: sour, sweet, somewhat bitter. And today — just look — every pastry chef has my mandarin on their menu when the fruit is in season! Literally every single one! They might have a somewhat different texture or filling. But the things that I did first, today I repeated by everyone. If I could choose one superpower, I would want to be able to read thoughts. Such skill is a key to success, you can do whatever you want if you have it. On a more serious note, who is a butler? It is a person who manages the house. All the visitors who come to our restaurant must feel as if they are our personal guest. I regularly go out to the room. And this has an excellent effect on sales. People listen to the chef’s advice. I tell them that we got a delivery of fresh artichokes, and everyone orders fresh artichokes. Or I tell them that we just received white truffles and that they should be eaten right away, don’t wait until tomorrow — and the guests listen. Or, say, we get a lobster, and the waiter is telling the guests about it, but they are undecided. I come over, “Let me cook this and that with this lobster for you” — and they agree immediately. People come because of other people. I can cook wonderful food, but if the waiters, supervisors, and hostesses don’t support what I’m doing and what we all want, the project won’t be successful. Many chefs separate the work of the kitchen and the room. I don’t. In any project, I’m responsible both for the kitchen and for the service because I want the waiters to present the dish the way I tell them and talk about it the way I feel it should be done. The guests don’t come for the chef, they come to all of us, which is why a successful restaurant needs both the chef and good service.

Guide restaurants with Giuseppe Davi participation