The Search for Authentic Pasta

All about "cucina povera" and other Italian classics with chef Hanse
Culinary World Jun 19, 2020 Giovanni Giorgi
Tyler

Tyler Hanse is a young chef specializing in traditional Italian-style fresh pasta in Berlin and he is eager to make a difference in the local restaurant scene with his Bardele project. Initiated in the restaurant world at the age of 15, Tyler spent his early years in the kitchen of renowned restaurants in Denmark, Italy, and the US. After obtaining his degree in Gastronomic Sciences in Italy, he moved to Berlin to pursue his talent and passion for fresh pasta and classic Italian cuisine.

How did you come up with Bardele?

I launched Bardele with a fellow-chef and friend Paolo Bertocchi in 2019 while working in the kitchen of Arabica Cafe in Kreuzberg, Berlin. We were looking at all the Italian places in Berlin and realized that not many of them were actually doing classic fresh pasta dishes. It’s very hard to find a proper state-of-the-art carbonara here, for example. Not to mention carbonara with salmon, tomato slices…it was a real mess sometimes. So we thought about opening a restaurant just focusing on classic fresh pasta and combining great ingredients (local, when possible) with the best making techniques. In the beginning, we were doing a lot of tests with dough, we milled our own flour at home using a small mill, we bought some durum wheat from a farmer in central Germany to make it fresh and we were good to go. We started out with some pop-up events, where we got pretty great feedback and all our events were sold-out.

What is the added value of Bardele?

I think people are refreshed to be eating some authentic Italian food recalling the tradition of “cucina povera” and that is not too fancy. The main idea behind our first events at Bardele was serving small portions of different types of handmade pasta to share amongst people. However, the clientele in Berlin is still not 100% ready for this, especially when compared to other big cities like Copenhagen, Paris, New York, or Milan. I think that people in Berlin are still not very used to having a plate of pasta that is 100 grams instead of 250 grams. And it was not always easy to attract people, especially because there are always a lot of new things happening in Berlin.

Anything special you are focusing on right now?

On June 23rd, I will be cooking with the Bon Bock residency for culinary exchange team at Café Bravo in KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin. The menu will include a spring vegetable salad, ricotta cavatelli with braised oxtail, slow-roasted leeks with Taleggio fondue, strawberries, and zabaione.

Tyler

Photo via Bardele by Yoni Nimrod

What would be your tip for young people approaching the restaurant world?

I think it would be to develop a solid base. And not to be too eager to want to do crazy things when you are starting out. It is important to find a good work environment and spend some time there at the beginning. Before developing a concept or a style, you must learn the basics of this job. These include cooking but also knowing how to clean, dealing with orders, and other operations that are not secondary.

What are the most important things when it comes to your daily job?

To have the best ingredients, as well as not spending too much time in looking for them, so that I can focus on running the restaurant. At the same time, it is important for me to provide farmers with fair prices.

What are the ingredients you have the hardest time finding here in Berlin?

I am not thrilled with the variety of products that are available in Berlin. And there is also a lower demand in the city when it comes to good specialty products to use in restaurants, compared to other big cities. It was hard for me to find really good quality chicken for a good price when I arrived here, for example. Also, another product that I struggle finding in Berlin is herbs, surprisingly. Most of them are available only in summer, which makes sense because it is their main season. However, they are so easy to grow but not so easy to find. Last winter I only had oregano and parsley on my list.

What’s your favorite type of pasta?

Gnocchi, indeed.

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