• 25 Aug 2016
  • In Positano a new hi-tech kitchen dug deep in the rock to serve the international clientele of the San Pietro Hotel

    Federico De Cesare Viola
  • It is one of the most ambitious project ever achieved in the hotel sector: it took 9 months, a €3 million investment and the extraction of a thousand cubic meters of rocks to build the new kitchen of the San Pietro Hotel in Positano (Campania). The San Pietro was inaugurated in 1970 in one of the most spectacular spots of the Amalfi coast. We are not talking about a simple restyling, but a whole new project that was entrusted to kitchen designer Andrea Viacava and architect Fausta Gaetani. Vito Cinque, the owner and general manager of the hotel Vito Cinque, oversaw every aspect of the project while also dealing with the renovation of the Michelin-ranked restaurant Zass and of the 59 rooms and suites that rise right over the sea cliff.

    Belgian cook Alois Vanlangenaeker can now count on a 400 square meters of open space on two levels in which 400 meals can be produced every day. On the first floor, there is the real kitchen that is visible from the restaurant thanks to two large shaped windows called “Santa Chiara.” The kitchen is divided in four islands for the different kind of cooking and preparation; it is equipped with induction plates, a “sartorial” plant by the Italian company Marrone and customized Coldline refrigerators. In the basement (entirely dug in the rock) there is a system to reduce wastes by 85% in terms of weight/volume and the technical zone with air conditioning: the heat emitted is turned into hot water that fulfils 100% of the hotel’s heating needs. The kitchen is equipped with many other cutting-edge solutions, like the ozone treatment for the sanitization of the kitchen, that every day at 2a.m. is hermetically sealed and filled with ozone (only two other restaurant in the world can boast a similar system).

    The other innovation is the “Table du Chef” where up to six guests can enjoy their dinner while watching Vanlangenaeker at work with his team of 35 people. Before sitting at the table, you can take a walk in the terraced gardens of the hotel where the renowned “Sfusato” lemons, tomatoes, zucchini, eggplants and many different herbs are grown. Through the long stair that crosses the vegetable garden, it i possible to reach the private beach. Here, tennis lovers can play in one of the most spectacular court in the world, and clients can find the other culinary soul of the San Pietro: the Carlino restaurant, dedicated to the hotel’s founder Carlino Cinque. A table that is literally pieds dans l’eau with dishes inspired to the traditional cooking of the region like the eggplants parmigiana and the spaghetti with lemon and chili pepper: a dish that is worth the journey.

    Americans represent 46% of the hotel’s clientele, followed by British, Italian, French, Australian and Brazilian guests. The turnover in 2015 was €12 million with a 6% growth over the prior year. “The secret of the Amalfi coast is the general quality of the offer,” says Vito Cinque. “There is a constant race towards excellence, some sort of competition between hotel managers to invest the most and to offer the highest average price.”

    “In the ongoing season - he adds - the number of tourists has increased not only here but on the whole coast and in Capri. This is because we are a destination with a strong identity, we are completely committed to our profession and we have a hard core of regulars so we are not victims of temporary tourism trends. Moreover, today we are a safe destination and many tourists gave up their holidays in risky destinations in the Mediterranean area and came here instead.”