Javier Gassibe (left) and Gianni Pinto, in one of the Noi rooms.
The Noi restaurant has become one of the essential Italians
Confinement made him rethink many things in life (and in the kitchen)
He gives 40 services a day, the same ones he will give when all this happens
Days before the first state of alarm was decreed in March, Gianni Pinto's mother landed in Madrid to celebrate several family birthdays.
He was going to be here for 10 days, but he stayed for three months.
"During that time I cooked a lot with her and I appreciated the ability she had to do a thousand things and all of them well.
Simple things, but very well prepared,
" says the Italian chef.
That changed his chip.
With his Noi restaurant - an essential Italian in the capital - closed, he began to redesign in his head what his kitchen (and his life) was going to be after confinement.
We were going crazy with the dishes
; some had up to 20 ingredients," he says under the watchful eye of Javier Gassibe, friend and accomplice in the kitchen.
"You can do something spectacular with four elements," adds this one.
With the maxim of less is more, they reopened their premises on Recoletos street, a modern, charming space with a 70s touch signed by the IlMioDesign studio.
With a renewed menu and 40 services a day
"The same we will have when all this happens."
They have no intention of growing by growing.
"What is the use of giving 90 if 40 have not been able to serve them well," he reflects.
Most of your customers repeat visits and that loyalty is the best thermometer you have.
In the kitchen of Noi (which means We) they talk about principles, a lot about the customer, about emotions ...
Day to day is now another story
"If you can't make a dish because an ingredient has run out, the dish doesn't come out, period. We no longer run to the supermarket to buy what is missing," says Pinto.
Now he cooks with the idea of "being and making happy" those who visit his 'home'.
Sicilian caponata is one of the star dishes.
In the pre-Covid era they were open from Monday to Sunday with lunch and dinner service.
"I realized that we were like a factory."
The situation had to be redirected.
"Now we come on Tuesdays fresh, with enthusiasm and with enthusiasm."
18 people started;
At the moment, the team is made up of four people in the kitchen, four in the living room and two in the office.
At 12 noon they are already preparing the caponata, one of their star dishes.
Gabriele Manzottu, the sommelier, and, shortly after, Gabriel Medina, the maître d 'arrive.
It smells like fresh bread - sourdough, of course.
The one that Gianni insisted on learning how to make at Panic, one of Madrid's premium bakeries.
"We also want the little things to be special,"
adds Gassibe as Pinto goes to look for one of the loaves.
The instagra of this Italian during these months has shown that evolution towards a more relaxed model.
There has been no complaint, no resignation.
"I have preferred to use the time in positive things."
It hurt to close the restaurant.
It would be more.
But he was - and has - clear that everyone's health is a priority.
Let's not lose the north of what is really important
Gianni Pinto poses in Noi's kitchen in front of his caponata.
He always talks to 'us', his people, "my dream-team".
In fact, at the time of the photos he asks to appear seated next to his friend;
He does not want to do it standing up and Gassibe being seated.
Another way to team up.
They met in a project they do not remember well and soon hit it off
When Noi began to be a reality, the reunion arrived.
"When everything was under construction, we would go to the Retreat with our notebooks to design dishes," recalls Gassibe.
And there, with "some knee sandwiches", the imagination flowed.
Everyone has worked in crowded restaurants before and they know the difference between
giving a 10-minute service or staying at the approved scrap
"If someone comes to my restaurant and I can't take five minutes to ask them what's up, we're doing something wrong."
Despite the crisis in the hospitality industry, his business is "positive, and that is a daily motivation".
Since they opened a little over a year ago, they have been criticized.
I know what I'm doing and the level I'm at. I receive criticism from a certain distance,
" he says.
David Muñoz, from DiverXo, has been one of the last colleagues who has been there.
"I bet more and more on the product. If something is delicious, period. A burrata with a roasted tomato is what it is."
This does not mean that creativity is not very present in the team.
"It is a fundamental part of our work, but with our feet on the ground."
He has not just been convinced that they define him as 'signature cuisine'.
Loaf of bread from Noi.
He is passionate about vegetables
He is passionate about vegetables
and eager to know more about them.
Gassibe worked with Rodrigo de la Calle (El Invernadero) and they both greatly admire his work.
"He is ahead of his time. We still do not understand or appreciate his work and his knowledge as we should," says Gianni, who made himself known in Madrid at Sinfonía Rossini, a place that has become a benchmark for the best Italian cuisine.
With an average ticket of 50 euros, he has always opted to democratize the best of his country's gastronomy.
"I don't use white truffles here because I don't want to charge 35 or 40 euros for a dish," he says bluntly.
The pepperoni with crayfish are the new addition to the menu.
"It's a creamy, spicy, sour dish ...", he describes excitedly.
Parmigiana is Noi's essential classic.
And his spectacular tiramisu, which so many addicts had in that 'Symphony', is back to stay.
This, too, was advised by his wise mother in those days of March.
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