A Great Chef with a stellar curriculum, Sara Preceruti obtained her first Michelin star at just 28 years old at Locanda del Notaio. In 2014 Identità Golose elected her Best Female Chef for its Gourmet Guide. In 2015 she was among the 12 best young chefs that Carlo Cracco chose as “Ambassadors of Taste” on the occasion of the events organised at the ex-convent of the Annunciata for Expo 2015. Cracco himself wanted her at his side as a team leader in the “hellish” kitchens of Hell’s Kitchen Italia’s television programme. But she declined the invitation because she was busy with her new Acquada restaurant project in Milan.
Acquada means ‘downpour’ in the Lombard dialect and represents for Sara a starting point, which distracts from the past and allows the birth of something new, with a different point of view, her own. The fantastic photos on the restaurant walls explain this state of mind and this uniqueness of Sara’s outlook, which then spills over into her dishes. A Milan seen reflected in puddles, demonstrating that can see everything from a different angle, not obvious, not usual. Nothing is taken for granted in the Acquada restaurant’s cuisine or “just like everyone else”. There is an explosion of courage, a downpour of knowledge and skills, a storm of the desire to express oneself unrestrainedly, to the full. Fun that can be felt in the dishes, from the conception to the final implantation, and finds its most intense form in the free-hand tasting menus, but that also exists in every single course of the menu, a synthetic, versatile and exhaustive menu.
Sara Preceruti’s cooking belongs to the category of free cooks who set trends because she is self-taught, with no training to hold her back or stop her. “I certainly study techniques, but never styles. Nor do I have recipe books or books by other chefs because I think I should not condition my mind. I have to put myself in every dish, with all the nuances of my character. That’s why I play a lot with contrasts: because that’s how I am. I have never set myself any limits, not even on the origin of the products. I propose what I like first and foremost”.
A concrete cuisine, with great character, modern and balanced. She is joined in the kitchen by her sous-chef Isao Sonoda. In the dining room by Claudio Baggini, an expert sommelier, a reference point for the wine cellar and an excellent speaker on the dishes she brings to the table and the chef’s thoughts. The space at the restaurant in Via Villoresi, Milan, is cosy and essential, with just a few tables to ensure that every guest enjoys an experience with attention to detail. Acquada’s menu is Sara Preceruti in the dishes, searching for intense, delicious, unprecedented sensations. Starting with starters such as the tuna tataki, accompanied by goat cheese, Brussels sprouts, sesame chickpea salad, soy caviar and fried ginger, or the goose breast confit in Timut pepper manure, which goes well with soused courgettes, strawberry sauce and balsamic vinegar, or the Uovo barzotto on a parmesan mousse, porcini water jelly, porcini powder and glazed lemon.
In the first courses, Sara Preceruti interprets all the classics with her vision: risotto, homemade dried pasta, egg pasta with melon and cod salad, filled pasta such as buttons stuffed with mango and liver… In the second courses, meat and fish are on an equal footing, from pigeon to eccentric stuffed squid, from strawberry pandora in a cooking pot to beef fillet with marinated yolk powder. The desserts with the apparent simplicity of Chocolate, Figs and Cheese or Tiramisu is matched by more complex ‘games’ such as Pistachio semifreddo or the chef’s signature dish… ‘Gianduja Wears Red’ where the notes of pepper and chocolate meet perfectly.
To discover Sara’s cuisine, the ideal is her tasting menus (six courses for 75 euros and seven courses for 85 euros) with a wine pairing of 40 euros, based on a wine cellar that surprises with its borderless, no-obligation choices. In the spirit of Acquada. After a few months devoted to voluntary work during this period of forced closure, the chef has decided, against his better judgment, to dedicate himself to delivery to keep his cuisine alive and, above all, the relationship with his loyal customers.
Each dish arrives at the customer’s home with an invitation to follow Sara Preceruti and her staff’s cooking instructions step by step, thanks to specially filmed and edited videos that are easy to follow, clear and entertaining. Customers can consult them via QRCode, but also on the restaurant’s website in the delivery section. And that’s not all. In addition to the dishes on the menu, it is also possible to order pantry items, small pastries, bread and breadsticks.
A way to experience her cooking, waiting to return to her stylish creations and gastronomic pampering. A woman with a significant past. An absolute professional perspective and a touching one from a personal point of view, the strength of will as great as her desire to grow, a sweetness hidden but visible at every glance, a light caress that match perfectly together with her dishes. Chapeau!
Enjoy even more @ Acquada by Sara Preceruti
Article edit by Nadia Toppino
Food, Wine & Hospitality consultant