Lorenzo Cogo

Lorenzo Cogo

Chef and owner of EL COQ restaurant – one Michelin Star in Italy

http://www.elcoq.com
I am a Chef in word and deed: I was brought up in a family run “trattoria” as a son and grandson of cooks. I decided to undertake this career because it is a real passion to me and I am determined to achieve the goals I have set. Like all fledgling cooks, I started working at lower-level positions, cooking in a series of traditional restaurants such as the “2 Mori” in San Vito di Leguzzano (VI), where I learned to be quick and trust my abilities. After getting my hotel-management diploma in Recoaro, I worked full-time for restaurants whose cuisine was elegant and refined. After spending two years in the province of Vicenza, I moved to Milan where I worked for the fashion designer Aldo Coppola. Afterwards, I returned to Vicenza where I was offered to work for the Michelin-starred chef Renato Rizzardi at the “Locanda di Piero”. I will always be grateful to him because he trusted and helped me over the years. Indeed, it was thanks to him that I had the opportunity to work for the former best restaurant in Australia, at the “Vue de Monde” in Melbourne. From that moment on, everything changed: I expanded and improved my knowledge of modern cuisine a lot and I got in touch with some of the best restaurants in the world. I probably chose Australia because it is one of the most distant places from Italy: I think that, whereas getting back is always easy, leaving is difficult, because it costs hard work and sacrifice. Moreover, I wanted to have a culinary background different from all the other famous Italian chefs. Most of them have a French cuisine background they have received from master-chef Gualtiero Marchesi, while some of them are inspired by the most famous French chefs such as Paul Bocuse, Alain Ducasse, Pier Gagnare and so on. Although I look up to and admire these big names, I was looking for a completely different experience and career: I love breaking the mould. After my experience at Shannon Bennett’s restaurant “Vue de Monde”, I took one of the many chances I had and I moved to Sydney, starting to work at the famous Mark Best’s restaurant (“Marque restaurant”). Then I was sent by Mark Best’s head chef to collaborate with other big names such as Tetsuya’s and Quay restaurant and, as a last special gift, he gave me the opportunity to work for a month at the former second best restaurant in the world (now it is the third one): Chef Heston Blumenthal’s restaurant, “The Fat Duck”. I also had the chance to get in touch with the Japanese cuisine thanks to chef Seji Yamamoto, who taught me important working techniques and also passed on to me his love and accuracy for the cuisine, which until that moment I had not fully learned. Japan marked a turning point in my opinion of restaurant industry: I understood that the quality of raw material and the respect of it, together with the working techniques are absolutely fundamental. In Spain I lived my umpteenth experience. In Axpe, in the Basque Country, I learned the real passion for cuisine thanks to a very special person, a chef whose philosophy on life influenced me a lot: I am talking about Victor Arguinzioniz, the owner of the “Etxebarri”, the most important grill in the world. I worked under Victor Arguinzioniz for a year and a half and finally became second chef in his restaurant. I believe that nobody in my life has ever trusted me so much as chef Arguinzioniz did. He always encouraged me to do my best day after day and let me do what I felt up to. Afterwards, I travelled for long and short time periods to Singapore, Tokyo, Spain, before I finally moved to Denmark, where I had a great experience working at “Noma”, the first restaurant in the world according to San Pellegrino guide. I lived an unforgettable experience in Denmark, which helped me achieve the goal I have always dreamt of, for which I have always worked so hard and I have always followed my ideals, that is to open my own restaurant in the little town in which I was born and brought up and share my amount of experience with the people who have always trusted and helped me. At last, I carried out my plan and named my restaurant “el COQ”. The name I have chosen has different origins. Firstly, the word coq, that is the French word for cock, represents the bond with the earth and raw materials and secondly, it reminds of farms and nature. In regard to the article I have chosen, I wanted to adapt it to my local territory, so I decided to invert the French article le into my local dialect article: el. Finally, the name Le Coq reminds me of my father, who has always supported me during my professional growth, because Le Coq was his childhood nickname. Since my ambitious aim is to pursue a new cuisine concept, I cannot describe my cuisine as traditional or creative, because I do not follow any of these styles. Personally, I prefer calling my cuisine “instinctive”, that is a cuisine based on the awareness of skills and the constant search for quality raw materials, together with the use of different and modern working techniques. Therefore, my cuisine is characterized by instinct and creativity; I want simplicity to penetrate in my restaurant, leaving out the typical Italian high level cuisine features, such as luxury and opulence, because I just want my costumers’ attention to be focused on my dishes.
Read more

Lorenzo's favorite cookbooks

You might also like...