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A self-taught Chef, deeply rooted in Abruzzo, the region he was born in. When Niko first entered a kitchen, he never thought it would become his world. He was actually studying Economics at university in Rome, with still a few exams to take to complete it, dreaming of a career as Finance Advisor, when his father, who had recently transformed the family-run pastry shop Reale into a trattoria, fell ill.
Cristiana and Niko came back to Abruzzo to take care of the trattoria, with the intention of keeping it going until they would find a buyer. The two siblings instead, became passionate for the job and when their father passed away, they decided to take over the Reale.
With no culinary background, Niko quickly crafted a personal cuisine of his own and in just 7 years clinched his first Michelin star.
In 2011, the restaurant moved to Casadonna, a 16th century former Monastery in Castel di Sangro that Cristiana and Niko renovated and furnished by choosing materials and works of art aligned with their idea of elegance, purity and beauty and consistent with the culinary philosophy of Reale Restaurant.
There, in addition to the restaurant and the rooms, a vocational school for professional training was established, the Accademia Niko Romito (Vocational Culinary Academy).
In November 2014, the restaurant was awarded the third Michelin star and Niko started developing new formats.
Today, through an in-depth study, research and relentless experimentations, combined with a strong entrepreneurial drive, Niko Romito has succeeded in consolidating an innovative culinary style, infused with his own identity together with a complex system that combines haute-cuisine, various formats, top level training and products for home consumption.
"Purity is the supreme synthesis of flavour, it is essentiality and then beauty. Searching for purity means making the synthesis of something extremely complex but in a clear way and catching the quintessence. Synthesis is the hardest thing to achieve, but it is the form of beauty I am searching for."
“Verticality of flavour, in its full expression, is at the core of my cuisine. I try to go deep down the matter before exploring its content. It is like bringing back an unknown world by unfolding flavours which are unexpected and completely new."
“The effect my cuisine creates is like a magnifying glass that makes the matter appear clearer and brings into focus what I thought I could see clearly but it was actually blurred. My dishes represent a clearer and deeper expression of the ingredient: they are based on common and recognisable elements but with a greater intensity and complexity.”
“My research and experimentation on vegetables blazes new trails. It gives me an incredible creative excitement although it requires the highest precision. The most unexpected results are achieved by using common ingredients, like a carrot or an onion.”
“My cuisine is not tasty in spite of being light, it is tasty because it is light. I leave no room for the superfluous to intensify flavours and make them purer. Flavours are more intense and dishes healthier, which is fundamental: not only a chef has to know how to cook well but he has to make people eat well.”
“I am privileged to live in Abruzzo, surrounded by nature, where biodiversity is all around. This offers me varieties of products to experiment, such as the wheat from Solina variety. Ten years ago, I started my research on bread because I really wanted to give value to this variety, which was rather uncommon at that time. But there’s more; those mountains, the quietness they evoke and the loneliness they imply, helped me stay more focused and be aware of my path.”
“When I start creating a new dish, I never know where I will end up. I start working on the flavour, scent and texture and when after the first bites and tries, I realize that something is not working, I try to understand why and in doing so, I am taken where I would never expect to get. It’s right there where my push comes from, trying to change what I don’t like and questioning even what I have always taken for granted. My recipes are constantly evolving.”
“My cuisine tells exactly who I am, but it is always functional to the project it is serving. It is a kind of ‘useful creativity”: behind any creation –from a dish for Reale to the iconic Bomba – they all express my thought but each of them makes it by using context-appropriate languages. The results of the great research work we have been doing at Reale follow various formats and there is a constant exchanging among them, they are mutually feeding each other according to the principle of communicating vessels.”
Cristiana and Niko
take over Ristorante Reale.
Niko is appointed
“Young Chef of the year”
by Espresso Guide.
First Michelin star.
Second Michelin star.
Reale Restaurant moves to Casadonna
Reale Restaurant is awarded with the
‘Lunch of the Year Award' by the Espresso Guide.
Niko Romito vocational school is established.
Niko Romito is named ‘Best Chef of the Year’
2012 by Identità Golose.
Inauguration of the first Spazio
in Rivisondoli, the Spazio “Zero”.
The project Unforketable is launched
The 3 Michelin star.
Carciofo e rosmarino
Inauguration of Spazio in Milan.
‘Performance of the Year’
award by the Espresso Guide.
Publishing of the book Dieci lezioni
di cucina by Niko Romito
and Laura Lazzaroni (edited by Giunti).
Unveiling of the project ‘Nutritional Intelligence’ in partnership with ‘Università La Sapienza’ in Rome.
Inauguration of the first Il Ristorante - Niko Romito in Beijing
enters into the top of the World's
50 Best restaurants at No.43
Inauguration of PANE Laboatorio and ALT (Landing Station of Taste) in Castel di Sangro.
Il Ristorante - Niko Romito in Beijing clinches the first Michelin star.
The catering of the Italian Pavillon is given to the format Spazio Niko Romito.
Foglia di broccolo e anice
Reale Restaurant launches its plant-based
tasting menu completely dedicated to vegetables.