The chef of Ristorante Pizzeria La Perla in Schio (Vicenza) reveals his kitchen secrets : “I follow very precise steps to develop each dish, it’s impossible to reach the final flavour without them”
His name is Giuseppe Stambé. He hails from the southern region of Calabria, but his professional journey happened on the coast of Romagna, in Milano Marittima’s best restaurants. The chef of La Perla is the main asset of new owner Luigi Pozzacchio, who took over the restaurant a year and a half ago. An expert in seafood and Mediterranean cuisine, Stambé manages to bring the sea at the foot of the mountains, all the while combining a strict work ethic with his energetic sense of humour.
You have been working at La Perla for a year and a half, creating simple but tasty dishes. What is the foundation of your cooking?
“The quality of a dish depends on the quality of the produce. I never compromise on the freshness of the seafood, which we have delivered to Schio every morning from Chioggia (Venice), on the careful choice of the pasta (Igp from Gragnano) and the careful selection of all our products, such as our pizza dough. Every weekend we set up a display and our diners can see and choose the freshly caught fish”.
You said that produce is your starting point. How do you develop a dish?
“Based on my experience, I try to combine flavours while enhancing each element and striving for simplicity. If the produce is fresh and of good quality, you don’t need dressings that cover its natural taste, you need simple seasoning that will enhance it. I like to bring a breath of sea air to this mountain region, where the cuisine is based mostly on fresh and cured meats”.
“Our spaghetti with scampi, clams and lobster. The flavour of the seafood pops if combined with starch, such as that of the famous Gragnano pasta (PGI). Presentation is also important, it makes up the personality of a dish. I follow specific, almost scientific steps in the development of each dish, they would be impossible to imitate. I keep each step a secret, even from my staff: it’s my trademark. Each step is critical for the final result”.
You have also created your own dishes, such as the ‘padella’. Tell us about it.
“It’s a dish of clams, mussels, scallops and scampi, and they make the most wonderful bisque, which we serve with toasted bread. It can be made with tomato sauce, although the original version is without. When diners order this dish, the bread flies out of the kitchen: it’s simply impossible to resist mopping up the sauce. But we offer many dishes, not just shellfish. Two of my favourites are brill and the Chef’s special spaghetti.
Why have you decided to offer more simple dishes like pizza alongside your forte, that is, seafood?
“Schio is a small town, and we want to be the reference point for fine dining for every need and every palate. A family that comes for a good seafood dinner can take their kids, even if they prefer pizza. Same for big groups: not everyone wants to eat only fish, and we want to make sure that the alternatives are top-notch. To satisfy everyone, we make our portions quite generous, too”.
And it is important to pair the food with the right wine…
“Of course. We offer a range of local wines from the Veneto region, such as Prosecco or white wines from the Vicenza area. They perfectly complement the fish while respecting tradition. At the moment we are adding new labels from all over Italy to our wine list. And diners can always consult me to know which wine will go better with Mediterranean flavours and aromas”.
What gives you the greatest satisfaction?
“Earning the trust of diners with my advice. 80% of our customers know us well, trust us and come back because they’ve had a good experience. There is no greater satisfaction than being chosen, especially by people who come from further away. La Perla has become a point of reference for the town of Schio, and this is also thanks to its owner, Luigi Pozzacchio. Some people walk in even just to have a coffee and say hi. We get a lot of customers through word of mouth and it’s a pleasure to see satisfied clients recommend us to their friends”.
Read: “La Perla Restaurant Pizzeria: a taste of the sea by the Vicentine Alps”
Visit the website Ristorante Pizzeria La Perla