Erminio e Rita Alajmo
It was 1981 when the young Erminio Alajmo and Rita Chimetto, who were later to marry, opened what was to become one of the best restaurants in the world, a magnet drawing people to the village of Sarmeola di Rubano, a few minutes from Padua: Le Calandre.
Gastronomy and Wine Restaurant Management
The flagship of an empire of catering and hospitality that today boasts 13 branches in Italy, Africa and Europe where the three Michelin stars of Le Calandre and the one earned by Quadri and La Montecchia reflect the technical and entrepreneurial prowess of this family in the restaurant and hotel trade.
Rita Chimetto is a chef of marked gustatory sensitivity, with an innate passion for the art of confectionery that has led her to investigate the Paduan tradition of pastry making, making old recipes the subject of study and meticulous research. In the legendary Red Guide of 1982 she obtained the coveted Michelin macaron, the first in Italy to do so, just one year after opening.
In the dining hall, on the other hand, Erminio Alajmo is a maître of extraordinary elegance who is able to enchant guests with his lyrical and expressive gestures, guiding them in a unique experience through his deep understanding of each diner’s desiderata. An experience matured (and rewarded with stars!) right from the beginning of his career as restaurant & hotel manager of Le Padovanelle on the outskirts of Padua, followed by the launch of Le Calandre and continuing today with the management of the dining room at the splendid La Montecchia.
In 1994 the baton passed to their sons Massimiliano and Raffaele, in their early twenties at the time, who were ably supported in the enterprise by their sister Laura. And so catering has increasingly turned into a family affair, a shared vocation. ‘There is no truth except the one contained in the ingredients, in nature itself. The truth lies within, and is well hidden, but cooking, which is one way of trying to bring it to light, has to be simple.’ This is the Alajmo philosophy that guides the spirit of this family. Informality, pleasure, enjoyment and warmth are the aspects distilled in that sense of hospitality of which Erminio and Rita Alajmo were the precursors; a sense that has permeated the relationship between kitchen and dining hall and made their children, their assistants and even their dishes players in the shaping of a conviviality capable of stirring the emotions. Forty years have now passed since the writing of the first chapter and Erminio and Rita Alajmo have become illustrious ambassadors of Italian hospitality abroad: a hospitality that is not just a value to be preserved but also a profound mark of identity, and one to be shared with future generations.