REPLAY The Stage | Milan
Like a secret agent, Chef Allievi’s double life has him racing motorcycles around the track when he’s not making waves as the Executive chef of the new restaurant, REPLAY The Stage.
He's refined but a little dangerous and his stealth moves will make you look twice to make sure you didn’t miss anything. No, I’m not talking about James Bond but Omar Allievi, the young Milanese chef who has worked alongside other amazing talent at Principe di Savoia, Il Savini, Carlo Cracco on the first season of the popular television series, Hell’s Kitchen and Sadler, which he describes as his most formative experience.
His modern Milanese attitude makes sense, blending into the international mix that Expo has brought to the City. Standing in the shiny kitchen wearing one of the coolest chefs uniforms I have ever seen, he explains the uniform and aprons were a collaboration between him and the REPLAY brand. A daring type who likes beautiful things, everything is done in a precise manner, well played, fine chef…well played.
CGC: From your experience on Hell’s Kitchen with Carlo Cracco, your interest in racing, and your recent arrival as the opening chef of The Stage, REPLAY's newly opened flagship store, I would guess you are a chef that likes extremes, is that fair?
OA: Let's say that I like challenges and adrenaline! I am a very rigorous person and am always looking to give the best of myself in everything that I do. Fundamentally, in the kitchen you need order, disciplined organization, and an interest in the technical side of things to end up with an excellent result. This is the idea anyway. Like anyone, obviously I have some hidden passions, some of which are more private than others, like racing which is one of my more “normal” outside interests.
CGC: Well now I want to know what your secret passions are
OA: Not possible, and they will remain secret.
CGC: Ok ok. So, you’re a young chef and for the other young cooks who want to know: did you go to cooking school? What type of courses would you suggest to whoever wants to get into this world?
OA: I went to a hoteling school here in Milan, called Amerigo Vespucci which was most definitely the base from which I learned how to do this job. You really need the education, it’s a smattering of basic and light courses but that help prepare you for the working world, which is for sure a required commitment that in order to get to a certain. Schooling molds you, it sets you up to know how to approach the working world but in the end, you’ve got to roll up your sleeves and get the hands-on training to arrive at a certain level, dedicating time and passion.
CGC: What about for the people who can’t go to school?
OA: In this case, the most important thing is absolutely the passion you have, but you’ve also got to have a predisposition for this, in the sense that if someone isn’t built for manual labor or doesn’t have the ability for physical work it can be difficult to be in the kitchen because in the end, it’s all hands-on. In way though, you also need to know how to use your head and understand how to combine the two and use them together.
CGC: What is the most important thing you learned in the kitchen?
OA: The most important thing I learned is how to be a part of a group and how to work as a team. With more hours spent at work than at home, they become like your family.
CGC: What’s your favorite thing to do in the kitchen?
OA: Depends - there isn’t one specific thing, I like doing everything, whether it’s cleaning fish or meat, baking bread and even pastry. I am passionate about it all. There isn’t one element or specific ingredient that I like to use more than another.
CGC: So there isn’t any favorite ingredient or food?
OA: Well, I love foie gras
CGC: ahh yes…in San Francisco it was illegal and just became legal again recently, it something chefs can be divided on.
OA: Yeah the same controversy exists here in Italy. The fattening technique for sure isn't natural but if we take a look back at history it was a necessity for geese to fatten themselves and their liver in this way. Geese are birds that migrate and right before they migrate they eat so much it enormously fattens their liver which is then where they derive their energy in flight. The Romans discovered this in ancient times, noticing that the geese seemed unusually fat before migrating, and upon killing the geese noticed and tried the fattened liver. There are actually hieroglyphs that describe the process of fattening and the technique has been passed down for centuries.
CGC: How do you deal with risk in general? What are the risks in being a chef or in cooking?
OA: Risk is adrenaline. The biggest risk in the kitchen is that you make something that clients don’t like, this is the biggest risk that you could find yourself in. The other risks in the kitchen you really shouldn’t have to deal with if a person is organized well and does their work like they’re supposed to.
In the kitchen we have all of the safety gear anyway. We have metal gloves and an apron in case someone is butchering a big piece of meat.
CGC: A metal apron? That I’ve got to see...
CGC: Also I understand you like racing motorcycles, right?
OA: At an amateur level, yes but professionally, no. I have a Honda CBR 600 and riding on the track is dangerous but definitely less so than being on the street. If someone goes 50 km an hour on the street it doesn’t propose much of a problem but if someone has a sport bike it’s because they like speed so the consequence of going down on the street that hard is dangerous and actually forbidden. Really though, I have very little time so right now the races pretty much just happen in the kitchen.
CGC: Are you into fashion? Are there any fashion brands you like more than others?
OA: I wear mostly sportwear – I’m a jeans and t-shirt guy, at least until about 6 months ago, now I wear only Replay! I also got to collaborate on the apron design and uniform design.
CGC: I like your style in general, so I wanted to ask you: do you think there is a connection between food and fashion?
OA: Yes for sure, jokingly I feel like I should say food and fashion follow all the two seasons. They are related because they both are done with imagination and craft work.
CGC: Why do you think Replay chose you as the chef here?
OA: In my opinion, it’s because they wanted a young, Milanese chef. When I got to know the owner of Replay, talking about my previous experience, he was struck by my philosophy in the kitchen which is Modern Milanese. Milan is becoming a metropolis and it’s creating an expansive, cultural melting pot with different cultures emigrating that bring with them their own style of cooking and preparation. So, why not use and discover ingredients from other countries and put together a type of Modern Milanese cuisine? Milan is no longer just Milanese.
Skirt and top: Guy LaRoche
Shoes: Giuseppe Zanotti
Make up: Tom Ford
Editor-in-chief: Melissa Lupo
Photography: Simone Martucci
Styling: Michael Peter Dye
Production Coordinator: Camila Salles