The dessert moment at the restaurant is crucial: on one hand, it represents the conclusion of a culinary journey, on the other, it is the last memory the customer carries of a meal. It should be captivating, appealing both to the eye and palate, consistent and harmonious with the previous courses. An excellent dessert indeed is the cherry on top of the entire experience, and it can even elevate the outcome of a meal, while a misstep risks ruining the entire experience.
The best pastry chefs in Italy
The golden moment of restaurant pastry-making in Italy
Cuisine and pastry art, sweet and savoury: the boundaries are increasingly blurred, and these interconnections are now a consolidated reality in restaurant kitchens, where the creativity of the pastry chef must resonate with the head chef's philosophy in a synergistic and collaborative effort. Lightness, controlled sugar content, craftsmanship, and an intimate dialogue with the kitchen create a universe in which techniques and peculiar characteristics come into play, distinct from those of pastry shop.
We can start close to home, from the local territory, or explore the farthest corners of the world to give space to an inspiration that often plays with subtraction, appeals to spices and vegetables, entertains and refreshes with its alternations of textures and temperatures to paint on the plate creations that leave us speechless. The sector has rightfully received the spotlight in recent years, confirmed also on the stage of the most prestigious competition, Coupe du Monde de la Patisserie. Starting from the 2021 edition, the restaurant dessert has been included among the final challenges, replacing the plated dessert, and the Michelin Guide itself has recently introduced the Passion Dessert award.
The Pastry Chefs and Pastry Shops guide 2024
In the dedicated section of the Pasticceri e Pasticcerie 2024 guide, there's a mini-guide featuring the 16 most interesting names in the field, operating in some of the great restaurants across the Peninsula. There are many confirmations, such as Luca Abbadir, a “universal cook” as he likes to define himself, and the “alter ego” of Moreno Cedroni at Madonnina del Pescatore in Senigallia; Angelica Giannuzzi from Pashà in Conversano, known for her non-sweet desserts inspired by the plant-based world; Manuel Costardi, working in tandem with his brother Christian at the family restaurant Da Christian e Manuel in the Hotel Cinzia in Vercelli, pursuing a philosophy where dessert is a “post-meal dish,” a true extension of the kitchen, borrowing techniques and ingredients, such as in the “crème supreme” of pigeon, cherries, and chocolate.
Pastry Chef Section: What's New
Four new entries in our selection, featuring interesting names such as Titti Traina, pastry chef and co-founder alongside her husband Paolo Griffa at Paolo Griffa at Caffè Nazionale in Aosta. This year, they've brought home a rich array of awards: Pastry Chef of the Year for the Ristoranti d’Italia 2024 guide and Coffee Bar of the Year for the Bar d’Italia 2024 guide. Additionally, there's the twenty-four-year-old Friuli natice, Alessio Billeci, part of the team in the new project Atelier Moessmer Norbert Niederkofler in Brunico, another establishment receiving accolades with Tre Forchette in the Ristoranti d’Italia 2024 Guide by Gambero Rosso and the recent accolade of Three Michelin Stars. There's also the debut of Kevin Fejzullai, pastry chef at Harry's Piccolo in Trieste, and Luca Villa, who joins Andrea Antonini's team at Imàgo in the Hotel Hassler, Rome, after experiences at Cerea in Brusaporto and at Celler de Can Roca by Jordi Roca, with a very precise idea of restaurant pastry-making: “To make a good dessert, you need local ingredients, give a strong flavour to the dish, use different techniques and textures, make the flavours sharply perceived, without forgetting the visual impact.”
The 16 best pastry chefs in Italy
- Titti Traina – Paolo Griffa al Caffè Nazionale - Aosta
- Manuel Costardi - Da Christian e Manuel dell’Hotel Cinzia - Vercelli
- Chiara Patracchini – La Credenza – San Maurizio Canavese (TO)
- Lucia De Prai - DUO Restaurant Chiavari (GE)
- Marco Pinna – Seta by Antonio Guida - Milan
- Sara Simionato – Antica Osteria da Cera - Campagna Lupia (VE)
- Alessio Billeci – Atelier Moessmer Norbert Niederkofler - Brunico (BZ)
- Kevin Fejzullai – Harry’s Piccolo - Trieste
- Sara Mazzoli –Grand Hotel Principe di Piemonte – Viareggio (LU)
- Luca Abbadir – Madonnina del Pescatore – Senigallia (AN)
- Mattia Casabianca – Uliassi – Senigallia (AN)
- Christian Marasca – Zia - Rome
- Luca Villa – Imago dell’Hotel Hassler - Rome
- Roberta Merolli – Tre Olivi dell’Hotel Savoy Beach – Capaccio Paestum (SA)
- Angelica Giannuzzi - Pashà – Conversano (LE)
- Fabrizio Fiorani – Duomo - Ragusa