Masterchef S02 ep3 : Pietro Leeman, Joia Restaurant , [Milian]

Interview with Pietro Leeman

A student of Gualtieri Marchese and disciple of the legendary Freddy Girardet, Swiss-Italian born Pietro Leeman also spent a number of years in Japan which informs his "vegetarian" haute cuisine.


Leeman: Joy it is only vegetarian restaurant in Europe and I have myself … idea on what food
should be and can be.

Leeman: In some way my cuisine, it’s a form of expression because I have ideas that can come
from … not only from the food I visit … and they think of another idea and so on this I make my

Leeman: I am vegetarian so it doesn’t eat meat and the food should be something that make us …
not just for the body but as well for the mind and for the spirit so if I don’t eat meat and fish, I feel
more near the spirit world. In some way the vegetarian cuisine it’s a cuisine for the life and a
cuisine with meat it is a cuisine where we need to kill someone.

Leeman: My challenge it is always that we can eat healthy but as well we can eat very well at the
same time. My dish has always a concept an idea that make it very strong for instance a dish that
… another one makes stone rolls, we get a … roll on the plate and make the plate rolling so the
guest play with me.

Jewellery Theatre Carravaggio

Leeman: In Italy is normal way of doing the problem that we are eating food very good but also
very rich for instance the best spaghetti with a lot of protein inside, and also the wheat flour we eat
everywhere on the pastry, on the sauces everywhere so the meat at the end … we have it too much
wheat protein and also the egg for instance in … where we make wholemeal patties and Steiner
cuisine so he said that we should eat two egg per week to be healthy. But normally every day I
think we eat three or four eggs because the eggs are everywhere and these bits in the breakfast and
in the … in patisserie after in the pasta, everywhere and that’s not correct as well. And so I am
changing side there, all my … taking out egg and wheat and the protein.

Leeman: I have a big … and I love my guests so that means that when I cook for my guests that
when they go outside they must feel light and my concerns can be light as well.

Leeman: In the natural we have everything like taste, emotions, ideas, … everything so I just did
the natural and I make the recipes but with a lot of ideas so for myself it is much more important
the idea that I have so in the concept in the composition in the meaning in the constants that not
are very difficult key or a physical way to cook.

Leeman: A cuisine that change too much the ingredients that’s a risk of the guests because then the
guest doesn’t know how he’s eating and not only we have the natural but we are the natural so if
we cook and we live outside the natural we will be sick and not happy that’s for sure.

Jewellery Theatre Carravaggio

Leeman: The food we can tell the people something without barriers so if you read a book, we
think and we say this is good, I agree … so to cook for me was a necessity to communicate to say
something to the guest and what I communicate it is my philosophy so the fact to be vegetarian to
be of the nature, to respect the nature.

Leeman: I worked … many top level restaurants but that made that to me the basis of techniques
for the meals that now in my mind have many, many ingredients, many ways to cook and so when
I invent a dish I know exactly what gives this taste if I fry it for instance I fry pumpkin a boil a
pumpkin I choose a pumpkin that is from … from Japan, every taste is in my mind so I take only
six Parisians and I make the recipes and that’s how the painter that he know the things. What I do
now since 15 years, it is to develop my culture so I go to art exhibition, I study philosophy I study
religions, I speak with spiritual masters, also with cooks and … it’s very important but I try to
make that my mind it’s open 360 degrees so I create in a free way.

Leeman: When we are artists in something we will be artists in everything and anyway, but we
must have unity and try to be, to understand what we really are and that’s the most difficult
feelings we leave a moment where so many things happen so the people tell to us you must do this,
and the other ones say to us we must do another thing and so it is difficult to keep our centre and to
understand which direction to go.

Jewellery Theatre Elements

Leeman: Every time when I do another dish I say that’s the best dish that I made and then my life
change and I go I found another mountain and I see the other side and I find another world and
then everything change again.

Leeman: It is not necessary to do something very strange and very … but it is very important to be
in contact with everything not in a superior way because sometimes my guests say to me after
myself I would like to have this or I would like very much this style of cuisine and I heard him and
that make me a reflection that make me invent something.

Leeman: If I do normal cuisine it’s much more easier to … full but is not the most important
because the guests in some way become like a friend we speak about the same things, we speak
about art or what they are doing in their life and that’s very important also what we eat so what I
cook it is very important in what we are becoming so we are what we are eating in some way.

Jewellery Theatre Fairytales

Leeman: We have a problem with the European community in the sense that they try to make all
… very industrial so the production and that stopped the quality way but in fact like in Italy and in
France, in Switzerland as well where I am coming from there are many, many small producers that
they do very, very good products and they still are there because the people that … they want to
eat good quality so this product they will have always … so now in Italy it is fantastic where I can
find everything very high quality, the cheese, it’s incredible even better than 20 years ago.

Leeman: I open in ’89 so in all this year I never lose my way so always I was insisting on a pure
style of cuisine without meat, with spirit and the natural and always the same so my friend like …
they feel what I do in a pure way because I didn’t change my way, always in the same direction
and that make me also very happy because that means that I can go much more far away in what I
am doing.

OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Pietro leeman, Joia Restaurant, [Milian]