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Chef Pietro Leemann, the kind and perceptive chef from Ticino, was born in 1961.
He discovered the mysteries of the earth and of nature as a young boy, when he spent entire days playing and working in his family’s vegetable plot; but it was a vanilla Bavarian cream by chef Angelo Conti Rossini that inspired in him a passion for cooking.
After this, Leemann began his training period, learning the tools — or forks — of the trade from the likes of Fredy Girardet and Gualtiero Marchesi and allowing himself a two-year stay in China and Japan, a milestone for him, where he began to find a new spirituality.
After returning to Italy, in 1989 he and a group of friends opened their own gourmet restaurant in Milan, giving it a highly evocative name: “Joia”, which in 1996 became the first vegetarian restaurant in Europe to be awarded the prestigious Michelin star, and remains to this day the only “veggie” restaurant in Italy with a star.
Here, while Ethiopian and Maghrebi restaurants began to spring up all over Milan, Leemann served up hymns to creation, his only god.
Like a sculptor in ancient times, he has always sought to grasp the true essence of nature, with gestures that discard all that is superfluous from the ingredients, for an intangible and flavourful gastronomic experience, using simple cooking techniques in which the flavours melt in the mouth.
After 29 years, Joia is considered Europe’s most important centre for the green, ethical and sustainable cuisine of which chef Leemann is the undisputed pioneer.
In 2015, he was the Chef Ambassador for the Milan Expo.
He has written eight books on food culture and recipes, the most recent of which is ‘Veg per scelta’ (Veggie by choice, Giunti Editore) along with his friend, the journalist Gabriele Eschenazi, with whom he founded “The Vegetarian Chance”, the first international festival of vegetarian culture and cuisine.
A Lavazza Brand Ambassador since 2016, Leemann is currently involved in numerous projects with companies and bodies (both public and private) with the aim of spreading his philosophy for life and cooking, a song sung by one of the most romantic chefs of our time.
The dishes of Michelin-starred chef Pietro Leemann have always included Nature, reproduced with gestures that strip ingredients down to their most intangible and flavourful essence, thanks to simple cooking techniques and flavours that melt in the mouth. They are all odes to nature, sung by the most romantic chef of our time.
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