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He has become one of the best innovators in the pastry sector in Italy! In this interview, we asked to Sal De Riso to explain what does it mean to be one of the most successful master pastry chefs, and how he manages to suit all tastes by combining his pastries with the typical Amalfi Coast products.

by Vittoria Samaria

Salvatore De Riso, better known as Sal De Riso, was born on November 28, 1966. He begins his talented career at the age of 21 collecting prizes and awards that raise his homeland’s prestige all over the world. In 1989, he opened his first pastry shop in the beautiful city of Minori. Later on, in 1994, he was admitted into the prestigious Italian Master Pastry Chefs Academy (the Italian AMPI), of which he is currently president.

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Sal De Riso - Torta Ricotta e Pere

Among the many awards won there are: the longest babà in the world (319.5 meters) in 1997, the pyramid-shaped chocolate cake with 500 kg of chocolate for the anniversary of Alfred Hitchcock’s birth in 1999, and the largest Delizia of Solidarity in the world (108 meters long) in the same year. In 2001, he was awarded the gold medal and a plaque to the municipality of Minor for the best Chestnut Cake, another gold medal in 2003 for the best chocolate and the best typical Italian dessert, and in 2006 is ranked the best pastry chef. 2007 was the year of the “Ampolla d'Oro” Award for the promotion of Italian extra virgin olive oil. From 2015 onwards he won five times the title for the best “Panettone Milanese” and was also the most awarded pastry chef in Italy in 2010/2011. Then, in 2016 his most important awards: WPS — World Pastry Stars, in Milan

Sal de Riso has become one of the best innovators in the pastry sector. In this interview, we asked him to explain what does it mean to be one of the most successful Italian master pastry chefs, and how he manages to suit all tastes by combining his pastries with the typical Amalfi Coast products. 

The neurologist, nobel prize in medicine, Rita Levi Montalcini said that: “The choice of a young person depends on his inclination, but also on the luck of meeting a great teacher”. What does it mean to be a Master for you?

I always say that everyone is a teacher in their own home. Over the years I have always studied, and I still do it today, to innovate the traditional Campania pastry, without ever forget it. I have always tried to combine local products with my desserts: my goal is to delight tourists’ palates and also those of all the people who live on the Amalfi Coast.
Then one becomes a master over the years, after much experience and also after many successes. Of course, there is a lot behind this title: research, dedication, and certainly a great team that works with the heart.

You said working with the heart is important. You created sweets dedicated to your family, which one of those do you keep in your heart?

I have made desserts for many VIPs, but the one I keep in my heart is the one dedicated to Pope Giovanni Paolo II in 2000, for the Jubilee cake competition, which I still make nowadays. On that occasion, I presented the Oro Puro cake —  made with mandarin, Annurca apple, and chocolate — which made me meet the Pope in St. Peter's Square in Rome.

This dessert, however, is also linked to another great emotion. I was able to have a few words with the Pope and I confided to him an important secret: the evening before my departure for Rome, my wife told me she was expecting our first child, Anastasia. This is an unforgettable memory.

But if Sal De Riso wasn't born on the Amalfi Coast, would he be the same pastry chef we know?

I think this territory has given a lot to me. I have taken the best from it, speaking not only of landscape and therefore of beauty, but especially of its local products. I have a lot of extraordinary elements available, and I feel blessed to be able to use all these good ingredients in my desserts.

Speaking of the Amalfi Coast typical ingredients, the conductor Antonella Clerici said that it is enough to give you an ingredient to let you play a symphony… what is the ingredient you keep in your heart?

Antonella is very loving to me and thanks to her and her TV shows I entered many people’s houses, not only in Italy but all over the world, showing and inspiring so many people with my desserts specialties. 

There are many ingredients I keep in my heart, one very important to me is certainly the Amalfi Coast PGI lemon. I started using this extraordinary citrus fruit — that frames the Amalfi Coast —  in 1988 when I made lemon profiteroles. Later I used it for many other specialties including desserts dedicated to my children and my wife and also for the creation of ricotta and pear cake, which has become one of the most imitated desserts in Italy.

We want to thank this great pastry chef for the time he dedicated to us. We also want to thank him to be here, in the stunning location of the Amalfi Coast, where he invites all of you to come and enjoy the natural beauty and — of course — his delicious desserts.


The entrance of the pastry shop in Minori

Sal De Riso at work

  • Pasticceria Sal De Riso - Minori

    tel: +39 089877941
    Via Roma, 80 - 84010 Minori, Costa di Amalfi
    From Monday to Sunday / 07:00 - 01:00


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