By RICCARDO FRANCHINI
Renato Bacchetta was born on the 25th of April 1947 in Casalvolone in the province of Novara. His early life was distinguished by a series of moves, in which he found work not only in Italy, but throughout the whole of Europe and overseas. His destiny had probably already been decided, when shortly after his birth his parents decided to move to Gozzano, on the shores of Lake Orta, where they ran a small inn for two years.
Renato has always had a tenacious, determined character and from an early age, he already knew his own mind: he was dynamic and unable to sit still for long. In his last year at elementary school he was already working at Zorzi's milk shop delivering milk, for which he received his first pay packet, the weekly sum of 500 lire. Not content with that, during the week he delivered phone bills to householders for Stipel (the old state phone company).
At the tender age of 11, he started out on his true path, which was probably already written in his DNA -
His first summer management job was as commis de rang at the Hotel Splendid in Baveno. After a short winter stint in Carisio, in the province of Turin, he made his way to the island of Ischia for the summer season at the Excelsior Hotel, situated in the port of Ischia. That winter, he was to be found in the mountains, in Sestrière, at the Duchi d’Aosta Hotel only to return with the first buds of spring to Naples, in Campania and the Hotel Royal. His talent and organizational skills didn't go unnoticed. In fact in 1964 and still not yet 17 years old, he was sent by his mentor Mr Poltronieri to Frankfurt in Germany. This was to be his springboard. He was blissfully unaware that from that moment he would be travelling the length and breadth of Europe, learning new techniques and ideas which would set him on the path to becoming the creative and innovative chef we all know today.
He worked in Germany for almost three years, at the “Frankfurtehof” Hotel, at the “Kupferpfanne” restaurant, at the “Jahrhunderthallee”, at the “Monopol Metropol” Hotel, at the Insel Hotel on Lake Constance, and finally, at the restaurant at Frankfurt airport. Never one to miss the chance to try something new, he travelled to Scotland to the “Gleaneagles” Hotel, for the April to October season. He then returned to Germany to work at the American Nato base restaurant. Then he moved north for a quick stint in Finland, Sweden and Holland. In 1968 he left Holland on a huge “Holland-
In 1974, despite his busy work schedule and constant travelling, he also found the time to get married. The couple had two sons, Carmelo and Gian Renato. In 1975 he decided to return to Italy and took over the “San Pietro” restaurant in Borgomanero, which he ran for about six years with his brother. Finally, in 1981, he took over the “Taverna del Pittore” in Arona, which he has run with great success and unstinting enthusiasm for about 30 years, "to the height of perfection" as he himself affirms. He has been accompanied in his endeavour by the irreplaceable collaboration of his right hand man, chef Giuseppe Quirico. Mr Bacchetta has also created a "school", in that he offers several youngsters the chance to learn the culinary arts, get started on their own path and in turn, become well-
I asked Mr Bacchetta how he came to write such an interesting and important book.
“Many of my regular clients often asked me to write a cookery book, and I always said that sooner or later I would.".
So what was it that made you decide?
But this is not just a cookery book: it is so much more! It's the story of a life told through recipes, of a career that has elevated Mr Bacchetta to the pinnacle of national restaurateurs. It is an encyclopaedia not only of good taste, but of all the senses: dishes which are tasty, elegant, redolent with wonderful aromas, refined… delightful to savour first with the eyes, then with the palate! The book is richly illustrated with photographs of a highly technical and artistic level. These are the work of Francesco Ragni, who is an expert in this sector, and has many photographic books, cookery books, art and fashion books to his credit.
Mr Bacchetta has dedicated his life to cooking and has been justly rewarded, not only for the prestige he has conferred upon the city of Arona and the entire province of Novara, but also for the plaudits showered upon him by his clients, connoisseurs and wine and food experts, or even by those who were simply passing through and had the good fortune to savour his unforgettable dishes. Renato has always worked hard with great passion and a precision which one could describe as almost fanatical, so that his dishes, made with the freshest and highest quality ingredients, would be true works of art!
La Taverna del Pittore was founded in 1960, by Sergio Loeffler, who besides being a competent chef also loved to paint. This was the inspiration for the name of the restaurant. Famous artists from Arona such as Gianfilippo Usellini, Carlo Monti and Gigi Comolli often frequented the restaurant.
Inside, the restaurant is refined, with high quality finishings and furnished with excellent taste. It lends itself admirably to romantic dinners for two, business lunches, important occasions or just a special evening out with friends.
The verandah which has glass windows looking out over Lake Maggiore, offers a wonderful view of the Castle of Angera – which, silhouetted against the sky, looks just like a famous painting.
One cannot fail to be impressed by these elegant and seductive surroundings. Dinner at the Taverna del Pittore is an experience not to be missed and one that should be repeated whenever there is the need to mark an unforgettable moment.
For those clients who wish to arrive by boat, the restaurant has a private jetty .
The cuisine is superlative. Each individual dish is a triumph of style, colour and flavours…. an artist's palette of skilfully blended flavours.