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Luxury Hospitality Magazine Interviews Hilton Lake Como’s Executive Chef, Ramella

Firstly, what is it like working in such a picturesque location?

I appreciate this question because the answers can be many, Hilton Lake Como is a wonderful place where heart and soul feel satisfied, the beauty of the lake, the structure, the exciting view that you can enjoy from our beautiful Terrazza 241 are a constant source of inspiration, but in addition to the beauty of this fantastic hotel what makes it truly exceptional are the people who work there, they are the real engine that pushes to always give their best.

 Talk us through your journey into the industry?

I began my career at “L’Albereta”, (2 Michelin stars restaurant) next to Chef Gualtiero Marchesi, who became my first great master and mentor. After my experience as Chef de Partie at “I Castagni”, (1 Michelin star restaurant) next to Chef Enrico Gerli, I joined the world of hotellerie in 2010 and in 2014 I joined the Hilton group at Hilton Venice. This experience further shaped and developed my aptitude for developing an international and eclectic cuisine but also with a special attention to local traditions and ingredients. In 2019 I joined the Hilton Lake Como team.

What inspires you? 

My main inspiration is Italy, my country. We have a very rich culinary tradition and I am always looking for regional recipes. The breath-taking lake Como view and the atmosphere of Terrazza 241 is always inspiring me. Every day I catch new shades and feelings.

What is on the new summer menu?  

The motto of the new menu could be: ‘Italians do it better’. One of my main objectives is to highlight the Italian spirit and tradition.  In fact, we have included many typically Italian dishes and ingredients, from the fresh pasta we make every day to salt cod and the classic Tiramisù.

What is your favourite dish on the new menu and why?

I like simplicity, so my favourite dish is our Bufala mozzarella, which arrives fresh every morning from Naples, which we enrich with a tomato and basil sorbet made by the best ice cream maker in Como, the link with the territory is indeed fundamental for me.

What is your signature cooking style?

I love slow cooking as it used to be done in the past, things done slowly and I particularly love the grill, in fact our Terrace is enriched by a fantastic barbecue on which every evening we cook fantastic beef fillets and fresh lobsters.

Do you like experimenting with different ingredients from around the world?

Absolutely, while maintaining the focus on Italian style I like to add a few touches from other countries. For example our octopus that we have on the menu in the new summer menu is enriched with a chimichurry sauce that is typical of Argentina!

In your opinion, what is one underrated ingredient that can be used in various dishes?

 Aubergine! Although they are widely used in Italian cuisine I think they are not exploited 100%, it is a fantastic product that comes to us from a wonderful land, Sicily!

How important is it to create something memorable?

It is very important for me. I believe that the goal of every chef should be giving his guests a unique and unforgettable experience. What stays in people’s hearts, apart from the culinary experience, is also the moment they lived.

 Do you use seasonal produce at all?

 Always! Seasonality is the key to my cooking. I still remember my grandmother picking vegetables from the garden, so since I was a child I have learned to appreciate the seasonality and freshness of the products.

Is it important, in your opinion to create an experience with food?

It is essential, particularly after the pandemic people are looking for experience throughout their stay from the moment of arrival to the moment of dining, certainly food can raise in people a whirlwind of emotions that can pervade the body and cause a sense of pleasure, this is my goal.

In a few words, tell us why a visit to Hilton Lake Como should be on our bucket lists?!  

Because it’s the sexiest hotel ever with the best people, the best experience, the best food. I’d like to say a huge thank you to our General manger Alessio Colavecchio who runs a fantastic hotel in a fantastic way!