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Istituto di Istruzione Secondaria Superiore
"Cataldo Agostinelli"
Via Ovidio s.n.
Ceglie Messapica


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An interview to Alessandro Specchia

On the last 29th June, the I.P.S.S.A.R. of the High School  "Agostinelli" classified itself at the first position in the third edition of the International Prize of the Mediterranean Cuisine which took place at the Lloyd's Baia Hotel at Vietri on the sea (SA).
The cooking competition has had as protagonists, five students of the School of Cuisine, Bartendants and Hotels of Campania, Basilicata, Apulia, Sicily and Calabria  who had previously passed a selection among the Italia Regions. Our school  deserved the participation by winning the CHEZ VOUS PRIZE for young cooks on the  26th March 2007 at the TENUTA MORENO at Mesagne (BR).
The desired award  will allow to the participation of  a stage of the value of €15.000 at the Barilla Academy in Parma after the last school year exam  to our student, winner of this edition, Alessandro Specchia.

Foto Di Alessandro

Eighteen year old from Ceglie Messapica, has a  reserved but determined personality, Alessandro attends the fifth year at the I.P.S.S.A.R. of the I.I.S.S. C.Agostinelli.

Q: Alessandro, did you expect to reach such a brilliant result?

A: Not until I had been asked to have this new experience.
But once I had been told about it and started working for this cuisine competition, I started thinking that we would have reached good levels, because we were working hard: lots of practical work!

Q: Who has been nearer to you and who do you think you need to thank?

A: Above all I have to thank our Headmaster Mr Caramia, who gave me the possibility to take part in this competition.
A special thanks to Mr Rocco Greco, that apart from being an excellent teacher is also an exquisite (just to use a technical word) person. He has always been near me, giving me valid and precious advises, and it is due to him if I got to the competition with a self-confident and out to win state of mind.
Thanks to Mr Salvatore Ugenti who gave me very important technical advise for the success of the dish and for trusting me.
A special thanks to Mr Vito Antonio Giovane who supplied the right wines and olive oil for this event, giving us very useful news about the characteristics of the products. when the time of the exposure arrived.
A thanks to the organizers of the competition I took part (Chez Vous Prize for the Young Cooks of the Tenuta Moreno and the International Prize of the Mediterranean Cuisine of the Lloyd Baia Hotel), in particular to Pierangelo Argentieri , director of the Tenuta Moreno and administrator of the Magazine about Enogastronomy De Gustibus Terrae, for the constant care of promoting our territory.
A special thanks goes especially to my family, which has given me the right moral support to face this experience in the best way.
At the end, thanks to all those who have believed in me and voted for me on the web.

Q: Which dish did you prepare for the competition?

A: The dish I prepared was: Cavatelli (freshly made noodles) cozze (mussels) and Cicerchie ( legumes). The winning combination has been: old products and modern hands.

Q: Which was the most important moment to achieve the victory?

A: The most important moment for achieving the victory, apart from the good preparation of the dish, was also the dish display. The jury doesn't only judge the correct performance of the dish but, at the same time, the cultural and professional studies of the person.

Q: How important is it for a young cook to study?

A: Before this wonderful experience, I believed that studying was important to a certain extent. Well I was wrong, because studying is fundamental to be a good cook.

Q: Do you prefer to prepare simple or elaborated dishes?

A: I think that nowadays, cuisine is more and more an elaborated one which is not always relished, while the traditional cuisine, even if it lacks of the visual impact, always grants the good taste of the dish. The ideal way would be to use traditional products following the modern dishes processing and displaying methods.

Q: For you, which position holds tradition, in culinary art?

A: Surely it is in the very first positions, because without the traditional dishes we cannot have the modern ones. Tradition is always welcome because it corresponds to simplicity and good taste.

Q: Which are the qualifications that a cook must have and which he must absolutely avoid while he's struggling with stoves?

A: I believe the main thing is humility, will to do and lots of sense of responsibility. Arrogance with the colleagues and with the personnel you work with, is certainly to avoid.

Q: What do you expect from the future?

A: It is a very hard question and I can't answer it at the moment. I am only sure of one thing: I want to carry on training in an adequate way in the restaurant field. With this scholarship, offered to me from Barilla, I hope to broaden my skills and have new opportunities.


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