Gualtiero Marchesi was a pioneer of contemporary Italian cuisine and trained some of the country’s most high profile chefs including Carlo Cracco, Enrico Crippa, Andrea Berton and Davide Oldani.
Over a long career he amassed a huge number of honours and awards including The World's 50 Best Restaurants Lifetime Achievement Award.
He is also created by some as a pioneer of the modern high-end restaurant experience, in which all elements - from the food to the service and table settings - are coordinated to create an immersive dining experience.
Marchesi grew up in the restaurant business and trained in Switzerland and at a number of high profile French restaurants before returning to his family’s restaurant in Milan. In 1977 he opened his first restaurant - Via Bonvesin de la Riva, in Milan, which famously and at the time controversially - did not serve pasta. Seven years later, it attracted Italy’s first three star rating in the Michelin guide.
The chef has operated a number of other high reaching restaurants over the course of his long career including Ristorante di Erbusco in Lombardy (which also obtained a three-star rating), Gualtiero Marchesi di San Pietro all’Orto in Milan, and Hostaria dell’Orso in Rome.
In 2008 he became one of the first chefs to 'hand back' his Michelin stars, citing problems with the guide's processes.
His name is still associated with four restaurants: Marchesi alla Scala by Gualtiero Marchesi in Milan, Teatro alla Scala il Marchesino, also in Milan, La Terrazza Restaurant near Lake Como, and Thirty-Nine by Marchesi in Montecarlo.
Marchesi was the founder of both Euro-Toques, a large international chefs’ organisation, and ALMA, a culinary academy in Colorno, near Parma. The great chef’s stance on more everyday foods such as pasta softened following the opening of his first restaurant. In 2011 he collaborated with McDonald’s Italy to crate the Adagio Burger - a beef patty with eggplant mousse, tomato, ricotta salata and toasted almonds.
His most recent project was the establishment of a retirement home for chefs, inspired by the Casa di Riposo per Musicisti in Milan, a refuge for aged opera singers and musicians founded in 1889 by Giuseppe Verdi. Marchesi, himself a musician and music-lover, found a location for his institution in Varese, Lombardy. It is expected to open in autumn this year.