Lorenzo Cogo, born in 1986, is the youngest chef in Italy to be awarded a Michelin Star
He was brought up in a family run trattoria as a son and grandson of cooks. He decided to undertake this career because it is a real passion and he is determined to achieve the goals he have set.
Like all fledgling cooks, he started working at lower-level positions, cooking in a series of traditional restaurants such as the “2 Mori” in San Vito di Leguzzano, where he learned to be quick and trust his abilities.
After getting his hotel-management diploma in Recoaro, He worked full-time for restaurants whose cuisine was elegant and refined.
After spending two years in the province of Vicenza, he moved to Milan where he worked for the fashion designer Aldo Coppola. Afterwards, he returned to Vicenza where he was offered to work for the Michelin-starred chef Renato Rizzardi at the “Locanda di Piero”.
He will always be grateful to him because he trusted and helped me over the years. Indeed, it was thanks to him that he had the opportunity to work for the former best restaurant in Australia, at the “Vue de Monde” in Melbourne.
From that moment on, everything changed: he expanded and improved my knowledge of modern cuisine a lot and he got in touch with some of the best restaurants in the world.
He probably chose Australia because it is one of the most distant places from Italy: He think that, whereas getting back is always easy, leaving is difficult, because it costs hard work and sacrifice. Moreover, He wanted to have a culinary background different from all the other famous Italian chefs. Most of them have a French cuisine background they have received from master-chef Gualtiero Marchesi, while some of them are inspired by the most famous French chefs such as Paul Bocuse, Alain Ducasse, Pier Gagnare and so on.
Although he look up to and admire these big names, he was looking for a completely different experience and career: He love breaking the mould.
After his experience at Shannon Bennett’s restaurant “Vue de Monde”, he took one of the many chances he had and he moved to Sydney, starting to work at the famous Mark Best’s restaurant (“Marque restaurant”).
Then he was sent by Mark Best’s head chef to collaborate with other big names such as Tetsuya’s and Quay restaurant and, as a last special gift, he gave me the opportunity to work for a month at the former second best restaurant in the world (now it is the third one): Chef Heston Blumenthal’s restaurant, “The Fat Duck”.
He also had the chance to get in touch with the Japanese cuisine thanks to chef Seji Yamamoto, who taught me important working techniques and also passed on to he his love and accuracy for the cuisine, which until that moment he had not fully learned. Japan marked a turning point in my opinion of restaurant industry: he understood that the quality of raw material and the respect of it, together with the working techniques are absolutely fundamental.
In Spain He lived his umpteenth experience. In Axpe, in the Basque Country, he learned the real passion for cuisine thanks to a very special person, a chef whose philosophy on life influenced me a lot: He is talking about Victor Arguinzioniz, the owner of the “Etxebarri”, the most important grill in the world.
He worked under Victor Arguinzioniz for a year and a half and finally became second chef in his restaurant. He believe that nobody in his life has ever trusted me so much as chef Arguinzioniz did.
He always encouraged to do his best day after day and let me do what he felt up to.
Afterwards, he travelled for long and short time periods to Singapore, Tokyo, Spain, before he finally moved to Denmark, where he had a great experience working at “Noma”, the first restaurant in the world according to San Pellegrino guide.
He lived an unforgettable experience in Denmark, which helped me achieve the goal he have always dreamt of, for which he have always worked so hard and he have always followed my ideals, that is to open his own restaurant in the little town in which he was born and brought up and share his amount of experience with the people who have always trusted and helped he.
At last, he carried out he plan and named my restaurant El Coq.
The name he have chosen has different origins. Firstly, the word coq, that is the French word for cock, represents the bond with the earth and raw materials and secondly, it reminds of farms and nature. In regard to the article he have chosen, he wanted to adapt it to his local territory, so he decided to invert the French article le into his local dialect article: el.
Finally, the name Le Coq reminds me of my father, who has always supported me during my professional growth, because Le Coq was his childhood nickname.
Since his ambitious aim is to pursue a new cuisine concept, he cannot describe his cuisine as traditional or creative, because he do not follow any of these styles.
He prefer calling my cuisine “instinctive”, that is a cuisine based on the awareness of skills and the constant search for quality raw materials, together with the use of different and modern working techniques. Therefore, his cuisine is characterized by instinct and creativity; he want simplicity to penetrate in his restaurant, leaving out the typical Italian high level cuisine features, such as luxury and opulence, because he just want my costumers’ attention to be focused on my dishes.