Andrea Berton

Andrea Berton

Andrea Berton

One of Milan's most decorated chefs, Andrea Berton is a role model for cooks across Italy thanks to his beautiful food, dedication to good ingredients and fierce work ethic. He has worked at some of the country's best restaurants and opened several of his own.

Winning four Michelin stars across three restaurants throughout a twenty-seven-year career is something most chefs can only dream of. Andrea Berton, however, almost makes it look easy – although his incredible work ethic shows how much you have to put in to become a legendary Italian chef.

Born in 1970 and growing up in San Daniele, Friuli meant Andrea was surrounded by the fine wines and hams the region is famous for. His mother was a keen home cook, and he was always watching her cook the family’s dinner at the stove. His first memory was putting oiled bread on a wood stove and burning it when he was six or seven, only to discover it tasted like smoked bread when he ate it. Both his parents appreciated good food and they would always take Andrea with them when eating out. When he was there, the professional kitchen fascinated him: ‘I would sneak up from the table to the kitchen’s doors and watch what was going on,’ he says. ‘I loved to see how food could transform from raw ingredients to a finished dish.’

After finishing catering school, Andrea went to work at his friend’s restaurant for a short while before attending culinary college for four years. During his studies he met chef Gualtiero Marchesi, who gave him a job cooking at Via Bonvesin de la Riva in Milan in 1989. It was here that he learnt how to cook at a Michelin-starred level, and soon enough he moved on to Enoteca Pinchiorri, a now legendary restaurant in Florence.

Once he had built up enough experience, Andrea was skilled enough to work under Alain Ducasse and joined him at his Louis XV restaurant in Monte Carlo. He began to miss his home country, however, and moved back in 1997 to take a job as head chef at La Taverna, near Udine in Friuli. It was here that he won his first Michelin star, and news of his incredible cooking soon spread throughout the country. His old mentor, Gualtiero Marchesi, was so impressed that in 2001 he asked Andrea to become group executive chef of all his restaurants. Andrea eagerly accepted, and worked with Gualtiero until 2005.

The lure of the kitchen proved too much, however, and he yearned for the thrill of service once more. This led him to Ristorante Trussardi alla Scala, in the centre of Milan, where he truly began to develop his own style and way of cooking. In 2008 he gained a Michelin star, and then just one year later a second arrived, making it the third of his entire career. He continued to run the restaurant for the next three years, helping to turn Milan into one of Italy’s top culinary destinations.

In 2012, Andrea left the kitchen once more to become a consultant and open more informal venues including his Pisacco Ristorante e Bar and DRY Cocktail & Pizza – both situated in Milan. Just one year later he opened Ristorante Berton, achieving his dream of owning a restaurant with his own name above the door. A year after his first service, Andrea won a Michelin star, and continues to hold it to this day.

Andrea’s food makes the most of Friuli’s fantastic produce, and he likes to take uncomplicated ingredients such as bread and turn them into Michelin-starred masterpieces. He particularly enjoys experimenting with rice, creating pasta, chips and purées out of the grain. It’s clear that this is a man who has worked incredibly hard at what he loves, and is now being rewarded with his own acclaimed restaurant. ‘It’s hard work being a chef,’ he says. ‘It’s certainly challenging – everything starts very early, and you have to go to the market at six in the morning. It’s also a very physical job, so I play lots of sports to keep myself in shape. But it’s all worth it when you get the satisfaction of making guests happy.’