Nadia Santini has been named the Best Female Chef 2013 at the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards.
The Veuve Clicquot World’s Best Female Chef award is presented by the British magazine ‘Restaurant’. It celebrates the work of an exceptional female chef whose cooking excites the toughest of critics.
Santini is the head chef at the Dal Pescatore restaurant in the small village of Runate near Mantua in Lombardy. The family-run restaurant opened as a trattoria in 1925. She took over the running of the restaurant with her husband in 1974.
She made history in 1996, when she became the first Italian woman to gain three Michelin stars for a restaurant, and Dal Pescatore has retained the rating ever since. It is famous for its mix of traditional Mantuan cuisine and modern influences.
Her husband’s grandmother, Teresa, and mother, Bruna, who still cooks in the kitchen at the age of 84, taught Santini her cooking skills. Signature dishes include tortellini stuffed with pumpkin, amaretto, Parmesan and mostarda, as well as turbot with a garnish of parsley, anchovies and capers in olive oil.
Santini told ‘Restaurant’ magazine: “The cuisine is refined but not changed. Dal Pescatore is an expression of the evolution of the food on our table and the surrounding environment.”
‘Restaurant’ magazine said of the winner’s cooking: “So not quite like nonna used to make, but still rooted in its locality. Largely thanks to Santini, the soul and quality of the food at this idyllic restaurant looks likely to be preserved for the next few generations at least.”