Chef Alex: The Dandy
Updated: Mar 6, 2022
Kitchen Society | Milan
Chef Alex may seem a man of few words, but his style says it all. From the shoes to the plate, he is a true Dandy man with an affinity for the eclectic, devoted to using the finest Italian ingredients…in sushi.
Chef Alex’s adventurous spirit is toned by his refined demeanor. Favoring taste profiles that are clean and pure, he fell in love with sushi after living in Los Angeles but decided to personalize the cuisine by subbing in Italian elements like crunchy, fresh zucchini in place of cucumber and drizzling sashimi with smooth olive oil.
A world traveler with a poetic spirit, this is a chef you imagine in a smoking jacket with a cigar and glass of aged cognac, conjuring up recipes and listening to good music.
The restaurant Kitchen Society is his own creation and when you step down into his space, you feel like you are descending into a secret supper club.
CGC: What does it mean to be a chef?
CA: Being a chef is like conducting an orchestra – it means being a good boss and naturally having a feel for the kitchen.
CGC: What makes your cooking style unique?
CA: I make Japanese cuisine but with ingredients that are typically Italian, some call it Italian Sushi. I would say my style is fusion, although it is a word that is used a lot right now, that’s what it is. The combination of two cultures in one dish.
CGC: What’s your favorite ingredient right now?
CA: My favorite ingredient is absolutely Extra Virgin Olive Oil, it is liquid gold. It’s amazing.
CGC: What other countries have you cooked in? How did your travels influence you?
CA: I lived in Los Angeles for a bit and there was a market that did take-away sushi. It was always the same, with soy, ginger, and wasabi. I wanted to make it more personal and started adding olive oil and my ingredients. It all started from there.
CGC: If you could cook for anyone in the world who would it be?
CA: Papa Francesco. He’s a beautiful person and he is spontaneous, like me. I would probably make him a pasta.
CGC: What is the worst thing you’ve ever eaten?
CA: In Japan they eat the entire octopus, including all of the insides, totally raw. I tried it…didn’t like it so much.
CGC: What is the best thing you’ve ever eaten?
CA: It was a pizza I had in Sicily that was topped with fried eggplant.
CGC: How is your personal style reflected in your dishes?
CA: I look to dirty as little as possible the original product. The dish should be clean and each ingredient should flow from one to the other. I don’t like plates that are too decorated. I want to see the colors of the ingredients themselves.
CGC: How do you come up with new recipes?
CA: I generally start with a glass of wine! I also like to check out what’s happening on the internet to look at photos and be inspired by a single ingredient, and then it all starts from there.
CGC: When you want to make something simple, quick, and good, what do you make?
CA: I make spaghetti and tomatoes with basil – it’s the best!
CCG: What is something people should know about you?
CA: I’m in love with my job and always want to communicate this to people but this world is strange…and people are strange!
CGC: Any upcoming projects/collaborations?
CA: I’m always working on something new. The day I’m not working on something new would mean that I’m dead.
CGC: What designer would you choose to design the ultimate chef’s uniform?
CA: Ralph Lauren
CGC: What the coolest thing about being a chef?
CA: The best thing is knowing that you’re clients are happy
CGC: What’s the worst thing about being chef?
CA: All of the organization it requires, I get anxious when we start to get full.
Clothing: Agatha Ruiz de la Prada
Shoes: Mario Valentino
Creator and Host: City Girl, Melissa Lupo
Photography and Art Direction: Simone Martucci
Styling: Michael Peter Dye
Hair stylist: Adriano Cattide
Production Coordinator: Camila Salles
Production Assistant: Fabrizio Tanda