Andrea Migliaccio

Andrea Migliaccio

Andrea Migliaccio

Despite working under some of Europe’s most celebrated chefs, Andrea Migliaccio’s greatest mentor was his grandmother. Now, Capri’s only two Michelin-starred chef takes the flavours of the island’s traditional dishes and presents them in an elegant, evolved and stylish fashion.

Capri is home to some of Italy’s greatest chefs. The small island off the coast of Naples is home to the freshest fish, juiciest tomatoes and sweetest lemons in the country, making those who get to work there the envy of cooks across the country. But if there’s one restaurant in Capri that’s the most well respected of all, it has to be L’Olivo at the Capri Palace Hotel & Spa, run by Andrea Migliaccio.

Andrea grew up on the island of Ischia, just northwest of Capri, and was surrounded by the very best Mediterranean ingredients from an early age. His father worked on boats all over the world and his mother had a full time job, so he and his three brothers spent most of their time at their grandmother’s house, who was known as one of Ischia’s best cooks. ‘My grandmother was constantly cooking for huge groups of people – there were family members and neighbours at the table all the time,’ says Andrea. ‘There was always such joy in the air.’

Every Sunday when these big get-togethers would happen, Andrea was always in the kitchen lending a helping hand. He became curious about the ingredients his grandmother used to make simple, traditional dishes like fried potatoes and stuffed aubergines. This interest led him to the island’s catering college and he finished his studies when he was just thirteen years old. For the next five years Andrea worked at a local hotel before taking a job at a military school in Rome, which gave him the chance to cook at a higher level. The experience stoked his ambition – he decided there and then to travel across Europe to gain more knowledge, so he could eventually return and run his own restaurant.

The following years saw Andrea work with some of Europe’s top chefs, including Xavier Pellicer at the Plaza Athenee, Michel Roth at Espadon Ducasse and Antonio Guida at Il Pellicano. He absorbed their expertise and knowledge, picking up all sorts of new cooking styles, recipes and tips on how to run a successful restaurant. ‘On my travels I learnt how to be organised and manage a team efficiently,’ he tells us. ‘I also worked with lots of different raw materials and developed new cooking techniques.’

Andrea eventually returned to Naples, satisfying his desire to work with the ingredients and cook the dishes he had grown up with. He’s now held in the same high regard as the chefs he worked with across Europe, earning two Michelin stars at L’Olivo – the only restaurant on Capri to do so. Rather than trying to reinvent or transform classical Caprese dishes, he simply evolves and enhances the traditional flavours. Ischia-style rabbit and Passata of San Marzano tomatoes with buffalo ricotta and pesto are two dishes that highlight Andrea’s love of local ingredients, while his signature Red prawn with foie gras, green apple and gin shows how he can take well known Caprese flavours and give them a modern twist.

There’s nowhere in the world Andrea loves more than his home on Italy’s beautiful west coast, even though he spends a lot of time in Milan, where he is executive chef at Larte, another of his restaurants. When he’s not in the kitchen, food still plays an important part in his life – one of his favourite things to do is relax with friends and family to eat, just like his grandmother used to. ‘My friends know I’m a simple guy who enjoys traditional, easy cooking,’ he says, ‘even though I can be very demanding at work!’