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Chef Takeshi Iwai, courtesy of AALTO Restaurant.
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Takeshi Iwai

Chef at AALTO Restaurant

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To learn more about his favorite spots in Milan, Whitewall spoke with Takeshi Iwai, Executive Chef at AALTO Restaurant.

BEST-KEPT SECRET IN MILAN
I do not know if they are secret, but they are certainly restaurants that I always come back to with pleasure. The Ratanà restaurant, to taste the Milanese and Lombard cuisine revisited by chef Cesare Battisti; Spazio Niko Romito Milano, to taste the contemporary Italian cuisine of chef Niko Romito; and Hazama, when I want to rediscover the flavors and scents of my Japan.

BEST OFF-THE-BEATEN-PATH PLACE TO SEE ART
One corner of Milan that I particularly love is Leonardo's La Vigna. I like the idea that hidden in the center of Milan, at the bottom of the garden of the Casa degli Atellani, relives the vineyard that Ludovico Sforza donated to Leonardo da Vinci. The artist personally took care of it while he was busy painting The Last Supper in the refectory of the nearby basilica of Santa Maria delle Grazie. I recognize myself in his love for nature and art, both are sources of inspiration for my cuisine.

FAVORITE SPOT IN THE CITY TO FIND INSPIRATION 
Nature is always a great source of inspiration for me. When I can, I leave town to immerse myself in the countryside. I often return to Gaggiano, where I worked as chef of the farm restaurant Ada and Augusto before starting my journey at the AALTO restaurant together with Claudio Liu. It is a small town on the outskirts of Milan, crossed by the Naviglio Grande, within the protected natural area of the Parco Agricolo Sud Milano. Here I personally collect many of the herbs, flowers, and natural ingredients that I use in my dishes.

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