ALESSANDRO BORGHESE
Milanese from San Francisco, 38 years old, chef

«I've been coming to Milan for business for many, many years»

by ANDREA SCARPA - Photo by ANDREA COLZANI

I LIKE MILAN
Milan likes me and I like the Milanesi, it eventually became like a marriage, as the one with my wife who’s from Milan and who I’ve been married to for 20 years. In the end she took me here… so I decided to open a shop of fresh pasta for my friends in Milan. I’m a Milanese myself now…
I’ve settled in, I began to work and to enjoy the ‘Milano da bere’, as they say. Does it still exist? Yes, there is one for every generation, people and habits change,… but there is always a ‘Milano da bere’.

SMALL AND TIDY
I come from a big and chaotic city, Milan is smaller and neater and so it’s easier to live in. The Milanesi are more serious, more organized, more disciplined… a bit closed, as well. But in the end if you get to know them, the Milanesi have fun as well. I am from Rome, I’m more outgoing, therefore for me it is easier to strike up a conversation with the Milanesi that so often seem a bit harsh, more serious but in the end they aren’t so.

EVEN THE CHEF RUNS
I was already more like a Milanese than like a Romano in my job, so here I feel at ease. Then I became more like a Milanese in regards to my habits, for example if I’m not working I go away for the weekend as the city empties. I was more disorganized before, I became much more disciplined, I manage and organize my time better, because here people run. And also the chef runs.

THE MILANESI AT THE TABLE
They expect a lot, they love good food, they know what they want. In Milan food is good, varied, Milan is a cosmopolitan city where you can eat high-level Thai, Japanese, Italian regional cuisines, there is an exceptional gastronomic ferment.

SACRIFICE BUT NOT ONLY…
In Milan people work sacrifying a lot , they value money and work, they know where to spend, how they want to have fun and so they separate the two things: when it comes to work they work, but the Milanesi know how to enjoy themselves.

YOU CAN DO IT
This city inspires ideas and motivates you to do something, to innovate, to bring up new things. It allows you to develop your ideas and thoughts much more easily. If you have an idea here in Milan and you have a good network of people, if you are a serious person, humble, who knows how to work, you can make your dream come true. The pace of life is a bit tighter but if you work you also get more. So it is all balanced.

I MUST SAY…
I was fine in Rome, but in Milan – I must say – in Milan you work, you feel well. Life is good.
THE BIG RUSH
People don’t socialize much during certain moments of the day in Milan. Everyone also runs on escalators instead of waiting to climb safely. Because in Milan people run…

MILAN’S SECRETS
One of the things I noticed is that Milan is full of secret gardens, secret hidden courtyards. At first I noticed it myself, walking along certain streets… looking in at the courtyards I said to my wife: “But… what’s in here?” and my wife told me “Look, here in Milan beauty is inside”.

TRUE FRIENDS
I must say that here in Milan I made some lasting friendships, I can dial a 02 phone number, Milan’s area code, and someone in the middle of the night would come to save me.
MOVE TO ANOTHER CITY
At the beginning I was skeptical but, after a few years, Milan has grown on me, I don’t know if I’d move, I don’t think so. If I had to move I’d go to a city like London, New York, but I wouldn’t go back…

ROMANTIC DAWN
I love Milan at dawn, at the first lights of the morning. I often go to the fish market at 4 am for the auction. Milan is quiet, is waking up at dawn… it is beautiful, very beautiful. Romantic as well.