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Eugenio Boer

Eugenio’s food is rooted in seasonality and local produce but is also inspired by trips abroad, memories from the past and personal encounters that occurred along the way. Ideas come from all over and he loves contrast; of sweet and savoury, simplicity and complexity, tradition and innovation. Sicily is a particular inspiration for the way different influences, such as French and Arabian, express themselves through its food and he admires Tuscany for its determined simplicity. Asian flavours also often find their way into his dishes and those early Dutch influences express themselves in the occasional use of butter over olive oil and a fondness for smoked pork. ‘Mine is a cuisine of memories,’ he explains. ‘Past and recent, in which you can recognise echoes of Holland, the flavours of Liguria, of Sicily, of a multicultural metropolis like Berlin, of my Tuscan period spent in the Arnolfo kitchens and those of Norbert Niederkofler in Alta Badia.’

Cooking is his way of communicating and Milan is the perfect place to do it. ‘I have no roots here and can meet people coming from all around the world. I listen to them and I keep being inspired. When I want to tell a story, I cook something. I could not express myself differently.’

Three things you should know

Essenza is a particularly youthful restaurant, with all the members of staff under thirty years old.

Eugenio loves Asia but had to overcome a fear of flying before he could visit.

Pigeon often appears on Eugenio’s menus. He likes to send it in vacanza – on holiday – to various destinations, creating dishes inspired by those places. So far the pigeon has visited southern Italy, Poland and Israel as well as Japan.