Coffee on Lake Como with Robert Moretti, Executive Director and Chef who, together with his longtime friend, Matteo Corridori, manages the five-star hotel MUSA: a visionary hospitality and catering concept in the name of sustainability. And of femininity.
Water buses are finally back on Lake Como. The engines roar, the sails unfold, the waves dance, happy. They have remained motionless for too long, Covid has hit them too. The SS340 is invaded by a cheerful snake of tourists: the hoods are lowered, the horns of the motorcycles sound, the bells of the bicycles whistle. The cafes are crowded, the waiters out of breath. Luckily, masks are no longer seen. And never mind if the heat is already August, nobody wants to miss the lake festival.
The appointment with Robert Moretti , Executive Director and Chef of the Musa hotel , is at ten. The property is located in Sala Comacina, a small village in the shadow of the more glamorous Cernobbio and Menaggio. To get to the building I walk along a hidden road which, from the state road, plunges into the lake. A pleasant smell of fresh plaster mixed with freshly cut grass greets me. “We have been open for a week” - says Robert as he takes me to the terrace overlooking the lake. "Is It real?" A young customer whispers to her partner. “Let's go down there” , he says, pointing to the sofas on the edge of the terrace, from where you can contemplate the island of Comacina and Bellagio.
"The season has resumed at full speed, until August the hotel is fully booked " - he tells me with an Englishman who started speaking at a very young age when, having finished the hotel school, he flew to England for his first job. with Matteo. From London to Dubai at Niko Romito's BVLGARI , and then back to London at the famous three-star restaurant Hélène Darroze at the Connaught . His is a journey that lasted over six years, shared almost everything with his longtime friend, Matteo Corridori. A journey that allowed both of them to refine techniques, discover kitchens, experiment with combinations.
Then, a few months ago, back in Sala Comacina, the town where he was born and raised. His house is a minute's walk from the hotel. Back in Comacina, again with Matteo. What Robert and Matteo are doing here, you understand only if you read the story with the lens of destiny. Their, at one point, crossed with that of the Gray family: "During Covid, through mutual acquaintances we were contacted to discuss the project, where MUSA now stands, it had been bought by a new owner who had a nice project and was looking for someone who could handle it. I speak immediately with Matteo, we meet Claire, we like her vision, she likes our restaurant proposal. Let's go ".
Robert, Matteo, Claire. England, Australia, Como. The lake has calmed down, the vaporettos look for shade, the waves relax and listen to this strange story with curiosity. “MUSA is much more than a hotel, it is an idea of hospitality: that of accessible luxury. A hospitality without formalisms, which does not reject, but envelops. A balanced luxury, without excesses, that doesn't care about fashions. Above all sustainable , far from the standards of the many tourist hotels that shore up the lake ". An idea that Claire had thirty-seven years ago when she was a very young employee in a travel agency, and which she pursued with determination and sacrifice throughout her life until she became a successful entrepreneur. “Thirty years ago this industry was male. She managed to make her way and did it in her own way, revolutionizing the sector and realizing the dream she had as a child: opening a hotel on Lake Como ". In MUSA - Robert explains to me - each room is named after a woman who changed the world, room number one is called Joan of Arc ”. It's not a casuality.
Claire's feminine touch can be perceived everywhere, with her obsessive attention to detail and a style that is always in perfect balance not only seduces, but inspires. Inspire gentle manners, responsible behavior, sustainable choices. “In the room we leave a note for guests in which we invite them to wash the towels only on the third day to reduce waste. In the coming months we will complete the photovoltaic system and the installation of the electric columns, we have already started the calculation of the hotel's emissions with the aim of zeroing them . Every detail has been designed to make the customer feel part of a movement that wants to build a better future for everyone ”.
A touch that, seasoned with the freshness and ideas of Robert and Matteo, has given life to a unique synthesis that is expressed in the hotel restaurant, ROTEO . “It means Robert plus Matteo, and at the same time it refers to the idea of movement, change. Our cuisine reflects the values of the hotel. Sustainability is at the center , not only in the choice of products, but also in the management of people. We will stay open even in winter, even though we know it will be difficult. We want to give the thirty-four guys who work here the opportunity to build a project, without forcing them to start over each time ”. Robert is direct, he doesn't use too many adjectives. It's like his cooking style, which he defines as 'contemporary Mediterranean'. “With our cuisine we want to speak to the heart. We don't want to intimidate the customer, make them feel embarrassed with engineering plates that require instructions ”. He shows me the wine list, instead of vines and technical definitions you read titles that explain and accompany: from the category "Zesty" and easy to drink to the Red Carpet for the most solemn occasions. "Even the wine list has been redesigned to put the less experienced customer at ease".
I leave for Milan, on the radio a famous rapper presents his new single. The sound, he says, is perfect for the mood of this post-Covid summer, then who knows. The album will certainly not be there, today no one listens to them anymore, they are too long, he says. Maybe it's true, in this time when emotions have the duration of a refrain and the tracks you don't like are skipped with a skip , no one listens to albums anymore. But I like albums. I like the patient ones, the deep ones, the ones where every trace counts, the ones that trace after trace teach you something.
You continue to compose your album, Robert, Matteo, Claire. Don't worry about the singles, don't worry about the summer. Play your music. Play it in winter, play it every day. Play it for yourself, play it for us.