Fabrizia Meroi, who was awarded her first Michelin Star in 2002, received, in a ceremony in Milan, her Michelin Italy Chef Woman Award, which was created by Veuve Clicquot within the Atelier des Grandes Dames project. The project materialised in Italy in 2016 with the aim of “celebrating female talent in haute cuisine” represented by 17 great Italian chefs, including Martina Caruso, Antonia Klugmann, Isa Mazzocchi, Marianna Vitale, Katia Maccari, and Iside de Cesare. It is no surprise that Veuve Clicquot decided to focus on women and their “added value”. The champagne company is named after Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin, known as the “Grande Dame of Champagne”, who, at the age of 27 after the death of her husband (vueve meaning widow in French), Mr Clicquot, took on his wine business – challenging banks, competitors and prejudices – and became one of the first great modern businesswoman.
Last year Veuve Clicquot asked Michelin to identify the best female chef of the year, who for 2017 was Caterina Ceraudo of Dattilo di Strongoli (Crotone). Michelin’s inspectors this year chose Meroi stating that: “The years of training in Friuli, Veneto, and Carinthia have built her gastronomic knowledge. The flavors of these lands and the products of each season characterize her menus. She works with simplicity and precision, giving a suggestive local gastronomic experience with a decided feminine touch both in flavors and combinations.”
Meroi’s restaurant, the Laite in Sappada (Belluno), is a mountain delight, a cozy nest made of products picked out of the door, of scents that descend from the peaks of the Dolomites, that she runs with her husband, Roberto Brovedani, who is in charge of the wine list – “love on a restaurant”, as they say. “We will continue to work in the same way we do today, with our few sets. – commented Meroi – Of course, it is an incentive to improve”, adding “I believe that in the future there will be more balance, there will be more opportunities for everyone, regardless of gender. What matters, in life, is to express yourself: this is what I wish for anyone and what I want to continue to do personally.”