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In search of perfection

What chef Manuel Astuto leaves on his plate

Laurin head chef Manuel Astuto

Early morning TV

Every morning, Manuel used to set his alarm for 7 am so he could watch the cooking shows on TV. While his friends were playing football, he was writing down recipes. At the age of twelve, he asked his parents for a pasta maker. This boy was clearly destined to be a chef. ”It was a decision for life.“

Breakfast for the Dalai Lama

Manuel Astuto is highly disciplined, and he expects the same from his team. His staff of twelve share in all his experiments and rarely bat an eyelid even when he changes the menu at the last minute. There are no days off, and no holidays in the Laurin kitchen. Chuck Berry used to get hungry at night; the Dalai Lama took breakfast at 4am, and two food tasters suddenly appeared in the kitchen. “You have to really want this,“ admits Manuel Astuto.

A meal to remember

When Manuel Astuto took over the Laurin kitchen in 2010, he was just 26 and not sure he would succeed. To combat his doubts, he worked nonstop for months on end and pushed his team to the limits. Even today, he is driven by a desire to leave a lasting impression with his guests. ”For a chef, there is no higher honour.“

In 2015, a guest was so taken by Manuel’s risotto that he invited the chef from Bolzano to cook it for his daughter’s wedding in the USA. Manuel agreed – and the door to Hollywood swung open. Now whenever movie stars feel like eating risotto, they fly Manuel and sous-chef Michael Rabensteiner in.

The logic of an empty plate

Back in Bolzano, the work goes on. The team is perfectly tuned, the menu is clear. Manuel Astuto loves to reconfigure classic dishes. He refines down-to-earth food with the latest insights to create South Tyrolean dishes with a Sicilian flair. Whenever he invents a new recipe, he makes a sketch too. ”I’m not interested in pure aesthetics,” he says, “I want to bring logic to a dish“. That includes making everything on the plate edible. Manuel compares this to the opera, saying you always notice if a singer leaves a note out.



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Parkhotel Laurin
Bolzano,South Tyrol, ItalyVia Laurin 4Tel.: +39 0471 311 000 / Fax: +39 0471 311148

Opening hours

7 am – 10.30 am
From October to May
Park Restaurant
From Monday to Saturday
from 12 pm to 2.30 pm & from 7 pm to 10.30 pm
Sunday from 7 pm to 10.30 pm
Open 24 / 7. Check in from 3 pm, check out by 12 pm

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