The Leaders of Enogastronomy

Moreno Cedroni puts the future on the table: cooking beyond cooking in new menu

Bianca Tecchiati
copertina Moreno Cedroni 2023 07 07 15 00 21

"This is my game, I like it and I would like it to last a very long time." Not only what Moreno Cedroni brings to haute cuisine makes him a pioneer and inspirer of research, but the same experience at La Madonnina goes beyond food, redrawing the boundaries of tasting. The new menu Smoke Signals.

The Restaurant 

Next year will be one hundred. Or rather sixty, the years of Moreno Cedroni, plus forty, the years of the Madonnina del Pescatore. And if we were experts in numerology we would surely find enigmatic readings also in 24-4-24, the precise date of the forty years of the restaurant opened in 1984 on the beach in Marzocca. "The important thing is to get there in shape," the chef from Ancona wisely tells us when we point it out, "After 39 years the hardest thing is to maintain, or rather, maintaining. Outstanding performance is also easy, bringing forward new performance is the most complicated thing, I always think that the places I opened have to “shine””

Moreno Cedroni Lido Vannucchi 2 2023 07 07 14 58 06
@Lido Vannucchi
Madonnina del pescatore 2023

And there is no doubt that they do, when one considers that the Madonnina room is from 2001, there is a rate of modernity that it is unthinkable to consider it over twenty years old for maintaining such a current aesthetic. The gold paneling, the resin of the carmine red floor, the cedar tables, since four years without tablecloths, overlooking the maritime garden. Where during dinner one glimpses peeking out from the foliage a few toques resting on the stooped heads of some boys intent on the fleeting harvesting of herbs for a final touch to a dish.

Madonnina del pescatore 2023 1

The founding concept of Cedroni's success lies in having an awareness of when and how to renew. Taking a quick excursus, in 1996 came his first Michelin star, which he repeated ten years later; meanwhile, in 2003 he became president of the Jeunes Restaurateurs d'Europe, Clandestino had been open for three years, Aniko had recently taken off and started making canned food, the highlight of his study on the immortality of food.

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Four years ago the creation of the Tunnel, a Wunderkammer on a total black background, because as Bacone said we must study nature by observing things through an experimental and inductive scientific method. Here shines the green fluorescence of plankton in the graduated cylinders, where its reaction to boiling is being tested. A scientific cabinet, as they were called in the 500s, a few dozen meters from the restaurant, which allows direct observations of maturations to be carried out. Fish and birds rest in the cells, inside, a minimal percentage of ozone slows bacterial growth, allowing the dry-aging period to be lengthened. Some turbot are resting hanging from one of the cells, usually maturing for periods of 5 to 7 days, just to intensify the flavor, without treading too hard. The pigeons are wrapped in beeswax, which protects, reduces weight loss and releases a pleasant aroma.

Madonnina del pescatore the tunnel 1
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For the new menu Luca and Moreno...Smoke Signals creative process was well-established. The chef and Luca Abbadir lock themselves in the kitchen for three weeks with the staff and indulge in the wildest creation, from which comes out, in addition to the Madonnina's list of dishes, that of Clandestino, this year Eros and Sushi. Then for twenty days they move on to the study and refinement of taste.

The Tunnel Lido Vannucchi
@Lido Vannucchi

"From the very beginning humans have communicated with smoke signals," Cedroni says, "and we too wanted to communicate the message about our research, which we do in the kitchen and in the tunnel, through the smoke channel. With scents produced by grilling and barbecuing. Along with various expressions of smoking in mild and balanced ways."

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The dishes

The first snack is the unlocking of a memory of Cedroni, who through casual vicissitudes in his twenties found the right environments to open La Madonnina, right in the building next to the house where he was born. The sea right in the front was at the time a treasure chest of clams, razor clams, and starfish, and as a child he enjoyed hanging them on the clothesline/drying rack with unfailing scolding from his mother when the clothes then smelled of fish. That's where the idea of Stella Marina came from, a dough placed in a mold, dipped in boiling oil to create a crispy waffle, to which scents of smoke from the grill burned parsley powder are added. Underneath, a traditional sauce, overflowing with clams wallowing in the tomato sauce, with just a hint of spiciness. A margarita accompanies the waffle, then mezcal in which the agave has inherent light smoky notes.

Moreno Cedroni stella marina 01

King Crab stuffed Fish. Pan brioche dough is used to forge a fish-shaped waffle, with a design of Japanese evocation, stuffed with king crab and shrimp, celery, shallots and red tomato vinegar. To be dipped in a sauce of yuzu, soy and basil oil to refresh and mediate a defined and elegant sweetness of childish awesomeness. And moving forward in the Japanese mood, in accompaniment comes an IWA 5 sake, produced by Richard Geoffroy, former chef de cave of Dom Pérignon and a great sake aficionado since '91, who selected five strains of koji to make an elegantly fruity drink from which tones of pear and banana stand out.

Moreno Cedroni pesce ripieno

Tuna belly and diaphragm crouton, traces of caviar and black truffle. Beef diaphragm cooked shabu shabu and tuna belly dry-aged 90 days in rock salt sanctioned the suavity of the meeting between meat and fish on a crouton, bound by a thread of burrata of Andria, caviar and black truffle.

Moreno Cedroni crostino ventresca

A forerunner of seafood charcuterie, Cedroni assembled the basic idea by thinking of translating the processing of South Tyrol meats, such as bresaola, onto fish, "I started from a homemade experimentation," he tells us, "building a smoker from an ice cream freezer to which the engine was damaged, but the important thing was that they kept the gaskets.  And exactly 20 years ago he opened Aniko, the world's first fish delicatessen, launching a trend that still stands as a novelty today. "My first passion was for tuna bresaola," he recalls, "but it is clear that I did not invent anything new, I simply applied to fish a process already established for meat. Man has always salted meat and fish for preservation, but in my case the purpose was the discovery of new flavors. Two days soaking in a brine with spices and a month drying in a curing cell."

Moreno Cedroni salumi pesce 2

Some fillets are sprinkled with salt, sugar, and white pepper, others dipped in brine, dry-aged, and lightly smoked. Also studying what is happening abroad, in Spain Ángel León began making sausages and salamis "the embutidos"; in Australia Josh Niland applies meat maturations to fish, whole, gutted, placed in cells at 2°with 75/80% humidity. "Studying this technique with my food technologist, we arrived at 26 days of wholesomeness of the fish, which had, however, lost 30% moisture, in other words "soul," so we calibrated on 10 to 15 days of dry-aging, which compacts the flesh, intensifies the flavor and losing a maximum of 15 percent moisture."

Madonnina del pescatore the tunnel 2

Sausage tasting has benefited from a technological upgrade for some time now: previously the slices were displayed against the light to appreciate the grain, and now instead an overhead projector welcomes the copious parade of portions and serves as a backlit tray.

Moreno Cedroni salumi pesce 1

The tuna is accompanied by fermented purple cabbage powder; the grouper and amberjack coppa di testa; the twenty-day dry-aged umbrina and tuna bresaola are to be accompanied by a lemon oil. Chilean sea bass lard (or Patagonian toothfish), one of the world's most protected fish, comes from the deep waters, around 0°, of the subantarctic area, where the fish develops a lot of fat and feeds on crustaceans that give it scents of coconut. "I first ate it at Nobu's in London," the chef says, "about twenty-five years ago and it knocked me off my seat, so I wanted to look into it further. It's worth giving it a taste although it comes from very far away." The mortadella is swordfish, cuttlefish and sea fennel, with mustard sauce; the amberjack belly is porchetta; the seabream sausage is to be paired with paprika oregano and white pepper, while the tuna belly makes use of mustard berries to counteract the fat.

Moreno Cedroni salumi pesce 5

Recollection of a trip to Vietnam, eat-and-drink oyster cooked at Green Egg with the shell closed to retain its aromas and iodine notes, a marine savoriness rounded by a purple cabbage sauce, which at times gives some pleasant spicy sensations because of the chili, refreshed by parsley oil and Pink Lady apple. In the glass, an Alsatian Pinot Grigio, Gruss 2022, with the acidity and sweet aromaticity typical of the area. 

Moreno Cedroni ostrica in vietnam

The bread is made with a blend of semi-whole grain flours from the Marche region, Molino Mariani and Costa del Sol, with a measured acidity, given by a leavening process that includes the first four hours at room temperature, then spends twenty-five in the refrigerator. It is baked in a cast-iron cocotte, which remains half-baked closed and the rest open, so as to create a crust with a thick crispness and let the flours release scents of chamomile and wildflowers. Piedmont-style breadsticks, hand-pulled, with Tumminia flour, made from ancient Sicilian stone-ground wheat.

Moreno Cedroni pane

Amberjack ceviche, sweet potato and sweet and sour onion, leche de tigre with traces of honey. A Peruvian marinade, but shorter than how they do it in Peru, preserving some of the crispness of the fish, accompanied by mashed sweet potato, with chunks of potato, celery, onion, formic acid, petals coming from the sea garden. The leche de tigre, a kind of consommé with dashi, spices and chili from South America. A crisp acidity but without rudeness. Served on a plate and with a spoon, both made of beeswax, a reminder that they are insects more than ever to be preserved. A pineapple and honey bee is to be crumbled over the amberjack. The wine comes from the Loire, from the Vouvray area, a Chenin Blanc, Le Haut-Lieu Sec from Domaine Huet 2021, not overly full-bodied, with hints of chamomile from the Triple A association, a manifesto stating that to make a great wine every producer needs 3 basic skills that can be summed up in the 3 "A's": Artisans, Farmers, Artists.

Moreno Cedroni ceviche ricciola

What looks like a tentacle of an octopus is a carrot, soaked in water and food lime for two hours, then cooked for two hours in sugar syrup. Mopping up the carrot also dissolves the dish's garnish, which is of an arugula and sorrel sauce. Mussel mayonnaise with double panko breadcrumbs, sprinkled with fermented purple carrot. The garnish is of scrumptious Galician barnacles.

Moreno Cedroni carota percebes

The cannelloni dough is a mixture of scallop and potato starch, which has the texture of a tough puff pastry, first steamed and then made a pass in a pan, here the smoke signal is in the cream of pumpkin, first baked and then smoked, sesame mayonnaise, cashew sauce, wasabi, ponzu sauce. A kaleidoscope of layers of sweetness that the smoky, sour and spicy notes tickle toward their direction. From Collio comes Borgo del Tiglio's Sauvignon 2021, discreet, not brash but elegant, it makes nine months in barrique, well integrated into the wine, for this winery among Italy's best at working with wood.

Moreno Cedroni cannellone capasanta

Pastificio Gentile's Penne rigate, an off-menu “intermezzo”, stir-fried with sea urchin butter, an urchin sauce glittered by a powder of dried scallops, wild herbs, and cuttlefish cooked Green Egg style. The cuttlefish roasts in an open grill, the herbs instead closed, to encourage the smoke to soak into their congenital bitterness, then seep into the sweetness of the urchin, taming it, even with an unusual slight crunchiness arose from the cooking. On a stone rests a star of freeze-dried sea urchin, to be crumbled like cacio cheese on maccheroni.

Moreno Cedroni penne seppie

For Verrigni conchiglie pasta, two ingredients are transformed into similar and opposite vibrations, which then create a unique sensation on the palate. On one side are the cocochas, the lower part of the cod's chin, greasy and collagenous; on the other hand, Sichuan pepper, mentholated and metallic. The two joined by a sauce of parsnips and chickpeas cooked in the pressure cooker, with lovage and crusco bell pepper, make the difference. The smoky note is taken care by the smoked butter.

Moreno Cedroni conchiglie cocochas

The Chilean seabass is first barbecued then pan-fried, accompanied by a sorrel sauce, cubes of daikon cooked in coconut milk, topping it off with mixed-salad and sea garden flowers seasoned with salmoriglio. The nuance of the embers entwines among the acidic and pungent ones of the vegetable elements, with a slightly exotic accent. A Verdicchio of Matelica, Gatti's Villa Marina, 2021, originating from a cross valley below the Sibillini Mountains, to Cerreto d'Esi, for the wine pairing.

Moreno Cedroni moro oceanico

After three years of experimenting with pigeon, between maturations with koji and beeswax, it is now time for quail. It spends about ten days in the lab to mature, then is fried whole and placed in a holding chamber so that the temperature reached by frying is propagated inside. It is sliced, passed through the grill, served with a creamy Jerusalem artichoke and rose, hazelnuts cooked in a pressure cooker, a cream of champignon and Chartreuse, and rose petals. After 3-4 minutes, the second serving of the bird, with the back bone, lacquered with soy and savoy cabbage and the leg with soy and honey, and again the creamy Jerusalem artichoke. Also from Marche region comes Bucci, most famous for its Villa Bucci white, but the reds are also appreciable, as with the Pongelli. We are in Ostra Vetere, about 20 km from Senigallia, a 2019 Rosso Piceno, Sangiovese and Montepulciano.

Moreno Cedroni quaglia

The desserts parade opens up with a ganache made of Belizean Tulakalum chocolate, four-spice, apricot powder and yogurt that draws an outline of Corto Maltese on the plate. To be cleaned with fingers.

Moreno Cedroni corto maltese

On the surface it looks like sea urchin, but it is a clementine’s granita, maldon salt, cocoa grue topping two cooked creams, one chocolate with hints of passion fruit and one cooked urchin cream. An oblaat tartlet, a very thin starch layer resembling paper, holds an almond ice cream, with Cassis, purple potato noodles, and lemon zest.

Moreno Cedroni cioccolato ricci

In an amphora that looks like the discovery of an underwater treasure, rests a violet toffee, peat whiskey jellies, sake granita, granadilla, pea shoots, seaweed powder, and red port ice cream with Zibibbo raisins reminiscent of Malaga ice cream. To pair with the desserts a Kylix Montecappone 2020, a Verdicchio noble mold that is dried on the vine. 

Moreno Cedroni anfora dolce

No conventional small pastries have been offered at Madonnina del Pescatore since 2007, so after Tropic of Cancer, Risk and Alice in Wonderland, for the past couple of years there has been Sweet Tribute, a tribute to five great chefs. It starts with Virgilio Martinez, as of a few weeks ago No. 1 for the World's 50 Best Restaurants, a mix of herbs from the sea garden, processed in liquid nitrogen, blended and put in a syrup of sugar water and pisco, to recall huacatay, the Peruvian wild mint. We fly to Spain to Ángel León's Aponiente, one of the first chefs to market marine plankton for food use; he even created a farm out of it next to the restaurant, yogurt powder and white chocolate ganache. Nadia Santini, her most famous dish is tortello zucca & amaretto, then Amaretto di Saronno, mandarin mousse, fermented pumpkin, milk chocolate ganache. A tribute to Noma with orange, fermented porcini, and dark chocolate. Chef Paul Pairet's Ultraviolet, the restaurant in secret location in Shanghai, where diners are escorted by van and at each dinner the visual of the room changes, the colors and projections in the video wall, is evoked by the change in the texture of the jelly, which becomes crunchy, the flavor is that of sakura green tea, freeze-dried raspberry, pepper.

Moreno Cedroni sweet tribute


Photo credits (cover): @Lido Vannucchi - Other photos: @Lorenzo Noccioli


Madonnina del Pescatore

Via, Lungomare Italia, 11, 60019 Senigallia AN

Tel: 071 698267

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