Case Study: La Chiocciola
A stone mosaic representing a large snail welcomes the guest at the entrance. Once you enter the restaurant, a restored granary in the Este countryside, you feel a warm, familiar but refined environment.
There are approximately 60 indoor seats. They are surrounded by rugs and antique furniture, models of sailing ships and more or less explicit references to the “main” product of the menu: the snail. Outside, another 40 seats enjoy the proximity to the lush green area, a result of one of the family’s innumerable passions . The link with the local area is clear and is immediately made explicit by Chef Adalberto “Athos” Migliari.
For over 30 years he has passionately reinterpreted the local culinary tradition, while remaining faithful to the roots of the family’s Trattoria & Locanda: La Chiocciola. We meet Athos in the main room of the restaurant, where he tells us the story of his family and the place. It is a story that has been handed down from grandfather to grandson. La Chiocciola, over the years, has transformed itself from a village tavern into a fine-dining trattoria, finfing a right balance between traditional and contemporary flavours.
Athos dedicates himself to the meticulous search for raw ingredients. He carefully selects exclusively from local producers, able to guarantee a constant quality and seasonality of the product. He gives special attention to the shelf life of food.
Furthermore he’s also involved by the analysis of the chemical processes in food transformation. The role played by liquids in the vacuum process, for example, denote the signature creations of Chef Migliari. Absolute respect for the raw ingredients is linked to another cornerstone of his philosophy, namely environmental sustainability. Hence the commitment to radically reduce waste and prefer exclusively recyclable packaging, developed with particular conviction during the time when the restaurant was closed due to the lockdown.
His three ingredients to make a dish unforgettable?
- Refined cuisine and innovation
- Respect for tradition
- Constant attention to and search for raw ingredients
Athos, tell us when you first came across Afinox during your time in the kitchen?
Firstly, I got to know your Company a few years ago when I bought the first refrigerated cabinet. Secondly, few years later our paths crossed again while I was searching for a fast and efficient blast chilling system that would give me better food safety and perfect processing of raw ingredients, Anisakis proof!
Above all, at that time, I was interested in a machine capable of providing me with support, not only in processes related to cold, but also in the field of leavening. This is how I discovered the Infinity all-in-one blast chiller.
Therefore, I immediately established a sincere exchange relationship with Afinox. I find this to be an essential aspect in choosing a partner. What immediately amazed me was the total availability. For instance, I was able to host them in my kitchen. I received direct help, thanks to customised training, in the testing phase of the machine.
This allowed me to get to know the product and its immense potential in depth and understand how to customise it according to the needs of my brigade.
How does Infinity help you optimise your daily work processes?
From bread, from meat to dessert bases: all my dishes are the result of more or less complex and automated processing cycles, performed with Infinity all-in-one. In conclusion, I use Infinity for everything, including cold and hot storage of raw ingredients, slow vacuum and open chamber cooking and controlled leavening.
In other words, Infinity all-in-one makes it possible for me to carry out many different preparations, which in the past necessarily took longer and cost more, using just one tool. The tested and pre-set cycles mean I can organise the individual production processes in a simple and intuitive way.
In a working environment like the current one, in which work volumes and peaks can vary significantly and with little predictability, it is essential to have an assistant capable of making the most of my time. One of the great lessons of the global pandemic, which I do not want to forget, is the value of time: this is the main and priceless return on investment in technology.
In conclusion, thanks to Infinity, I am not forced to be present during all the product processing stages. I can simply take advantage of the combined cycles, including night mode, and thanks to the automatic storage at the end of the cycle, that’s it!
Infinity can slow cook up to 85° C and cool with a soft positive blast chilling cycle (+ 2/3° C degrees at the centre), which respects and enhances the organoleptic properties of the food.
What are the cornerstones of your menu, the dishes that you make most frequently with the help of Infinity?
For example the roast beef. For this product, because I love it, I first smoke the meat using the smoker. Secondly, for convenience, I put it inside Infinity and insert the probe in the centre. I choose the specific combined cycle: once it gets up to temperature, I let it cool down to -20° C, creating a thermal shock, for about half an hour. In this way I stop the cooking and retain the juices. Then I let it cool until it reaches 3° C at the centre, thus ensuring the famous “shelf life”. At that point, the chamber automatically goes into conservation, until I arrive. Once the beef has been cut into portions of about 1.5Kg, in two pieces placed under vacuum, I finish off the labelling and I am good to go!
In general, thanks to Infinity I am able to stabilise quality and extend the period of availability of the products. For example, Cacciarolo [type of squid] is especially abundant during the months of July and August and is cheaper during that time. Thanks to Infinity, I can increase the quantities I buy and immediately vacuum-pack them. In
general, I prefer making a “soft” vacuum, at 70%, without compressing the ingredient too much (to avoid “squeezing” the food excessively and depriving it of its internal liquids). I then place all the bags in Infinity, duly marked for traceability and set up a rapid freezing cycle at -40° C, and then store them below 0° C. Procurement thus done in a few minutes lasts me for a few months, without going beyond seasonality and containing costs.
What do you think are the greatest advantages of Infinity all-in-one?
Infinity’s technology allows me to standardise most processes. Daily work becomes less repetitive because I don’t have to repeat some steps which, although necessary, take away precious time from more creative processes. In this way, I have more time to enhance my restaurant and customise my menu. This has led me, for example, to develop an entire line of gluten-free desserts, which can be enjoyed not only by intolerant people, but also by those who want to end their experience in my restaurant with a tasty but highly digestible alternative.
The machine is very easy to use: I set the cycles immediately and use it 24 hours a day, for all types of preparation.
Do you have some advice for those who want to pursue a career in the restaurant business?
Those who work in hospitality today have to consider countless variables and aspects. To be a good restaurateur, it is no longer enough to know how to cook well. You have to know how to organise and enhance every aspect of the business right from the choice of goods, from attentive, reliable suppliers, to paying attention to every aspect of the company’s environmental responsibility. Equipment like Infinity is a great helping hand in reducing waste, organising work, limiting downtime and giving me more time for my family.
I can say for sure, Infinity is my favourite workmate!
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