Domenico Stile | Chef
"My cuisine is like a journey."
My professional life in the kitchen began when I was fifteen years old. I was born on the Gulf of Naples at Castellammare di Stabia and raised in Gragnano. (if I don’t prepare pasta to perfection my friends and relatives will refuse to speak to me) and it was my uncle, Franco La Mura, a cook by trade and a master at decoration with vegetables, who inspired me with his love of cooking. I learned a great deal from him, most importantly that the kitchen requires sacrifice and dedication. He repeated this often before asking me, ‘Are you sure?’ Yes, I always replied. Then he said, ‘In your lifetime there will be no Saturdays or Sundays or even holidays. Are you ready?’ He was so serious that, for a moment, I hesitated. But I knew what I wanted and…here I am, the Chef for Enoteca La Torre in Villa Laetitia at 27 years old.
I feel very fortunate because I had the opportunity to learn from great Chefs. I confess, I ‘stole’ with my eyes, with my nose and with my palate for many years. But who wouldn’t have? But before that, I simply absorbed everything. Because my first master was Enrico Cosentino, a monument in the Neapolitan culinary world! the creator of the ‘scialatello’ (those who don’t know it apparently do not visit the Campania region frequently, but there’s always time!).
When I was 20 years old, I worked for Gianfranco Vissani for two years. From there I went to Antonino Cannavacciuolo and afterwards I landed in Piazza Duomo with Enrico Crippa. In my great deisre to work with famous chefs, I have an anecdote. I told my brother Vincenzo, who is a maitrè, that I would have liked to work a winter season with Massimo Bottura, but I knew it was practically impossible. Instead, on my birthday I received a card from Vincenzo with thephone number of the Osteria Francescana and a note: ‘Call and ask when to start’. My curriculum, it seems, convinced Massimo Bottura to give me another chance to grow.
I know I am lucky because I had another great opportunity. I became sous chef to Nino Di Costanzo at the Mosaico in Ischia. My experience with Nino was fundamental, for his skill, his mastery of esthetics and for putting me in the position to coordinate and manage the entire team.
These are my Italian mentors. Besides being lucky, I am also a go-getter. Between jobs I found ways to work abroad, including a stint in Chicago at the famous Alinea restaurant.
I am deeply indebted to all my mentors, especially to my uncle, Franco La Mura, to Enrico Cosentino and Nino Di Costanzo.
May their talent and passion be with me!
I received my diploma in 2008 from the Istituto Raffaele Viviani in Castellammare di Stabia, with a grade score of 100/100. My Instructor was Enrico Cosentino.
In 2010, after a year at university studying Food Technology, I joined Gianfranco Vissani’s team and worked there for two years.
Various experiences followed, always striving to work with “the best”:
between 2011 and 2012, I worked with Antonino Cannavacciuolo;
between 2012 and 2013, I worked with Enrico Crippa in Alba, Piemonte.
I spent the end of the season 2013 and 2014 in Modena with Massimo Bottura.
I worked three consecutive summer seasons in Ischia as Nino Di Costanzo’s sous chef - 2013, 2014, 2015.
For a period between 2014 and 2015 I worked in Chicago with chef Grant Achatz.
2008 - Winner of the Giancarlo Erba Prize, organised by the Regional Union of Neapolitan Cooks
2008 - Gold medal winner at the Italian Internationals held in Massa Carrara, organised by the Federation of Italian Cooks
2008 – Winner of the title of National Champion of Artististic Cooking (under 23), Italian Internationals at Massa Carrara
2009 - Gold medal winner at the Italian Internationals organised by the Federation of Italian Cooks
2010 - Gold medal winner at the Italian Internationals organised by the Federation of Italian Cooks