Born in Naples in 1984, Raffaele Lenzi is the Executive Chef of the Al Lago restaurant. His arrival in the world of gastronomy is quite extraordinary: at the age of 14, he is already in the pastry shop, studying, curious, laying the foundations of a future that seems already written.
After studying at the hotel-management school, at the age of 18 he decided to fully pursue the culinary profession. He put aside the two passions that had accompanied him up to then – his decade-long passion for football and theatre – to devote himself exclusively to his vocation: cooking. It is in this wake that he decides to pack his bags and go abroad, heading for England, where he stays for twenty-four months and eventually becomes head chef in a London restaurant of the Azeta chain; then he moves to the United States, for another year, where he does not only hone his technique, but also his use of the English language, which in the future will be crucial for important managerial roles. The first important chapter of his culinary career opened in 2008, when he returned to Italy to the court of Bruno Barbieri, as head of the 2 Michelin-starred restaurant Arquade at the Hotel Villa del Quar. After the season in Verona, he held the same position in Milan, at the Bulgari Hotel and Resorts by Ritz Carlton, where the signature is that of chef Elio Sironi. In 2010 he moved to southern Italy, to chef Pino La Marra at Palazzo Sasso, in the province of Salerno. Here, he worked his way up the ranks from station chef to junior sous chef, in a hotel restaurant, where the local cuisine, with a French twist, earned him two Michelin Stars.
In the following year, Raffale reached one of the places that would most leave a legacy in his gastronomic memory as well as a deep influence in his current imprinting. We are at the Grand Hotel in Villa Feltrinelli, 2 Michelin Stars. Here, he has the opportunity to further increase his knowledge of the vegetable world, thanks to one of the most important experts on the subject: chef Stefano Baiocco.
Raffaele has always been a very competitive person, extremely focused and self-demanding. This explains his decision to return to the Lombard capital, where from 2011 to 2013 he was in charge of the opening of the Armani Hotels & Resorts Milano as executive sous chef. An important challenge, which gives him the awareness that he is now ready to engage with three-Michelin-starred kitchens, such as Bo Innovation in Hong Kong and Manresa in Los Gatos, California. After this interlude, the time finally came to put himself to the test as an executive. And to do so, he chose to return to Italy, and specifically to the Ristorante Turbigo on the Navigli, for what was to be his last experience before meeting the Contreras family, which was to kick-start his most important collaboration.
In July 2016, he joined the Sereno Hotels project owned by the Contreras family, that has two hotels to its credit: the first in Torno on Lake Como and the second in Saint-Barthélemy, on the French-speaking Caribbean island also known as Saint Barts. Lake Como immediately became his second home: here he had the chance to return to practise the sport that had accompanied him since childhood and was part of his DNA. Weightlifting, yoga, cycling and, in the near future, even the triathlon. The saying “mens sana in corpore sano” (a sound mind in a sound body) seems to be tailor-made for him.
“In 2017 the restaurant was awarded the Michelin Star: an incredible feeling, even more so for the fact that from the very beginning I had carte blanche from the owners and consequently was able to express my philosophy in total freedom. The day I went on stage and was given the jacket with the Star, stitched at heart height, is one I will remember for the rest of my life”.
Since 2019, Raffaele has also been in charge of the Contreras family’s Caribbean hotel, taking care of the whole cuisine as Corporate Chef.
Ristorante Al Lago, Torno
* Michelin Star
No variations can be made in case of food allergies, intolerances and special dietary regimes.
The Alba White Truffle slice is not included in the fee as it usually follows the daily quotation of the Truffle Exchange.