Leonardo Marongiu, the chef at Hub Restaurant in Macomer is the one to welcome us. The restaurant has only been open four years, but it has already received several mentions and awards.
His experience as an executive, at Gualtiero Marchesi’s school Alma, alongside great masters like Bottura and Cannavacciuolo, was fundamental, but his strength was not forgetting where he came from, that land that he carries inside him and that he has returned to, after years of working in five-star hotels all over the country.
The council houses of Cuglieri are the backdrop to Leonardo’s story. He soon learned to known what hardship and hard work mean when trying to get ahead, when you are the child of immigrants. With a Sicilian mother and Sardinian father, he moved to Brianza first of all, then Ravenna, and then Parma, the city that he calls “his second home”, that gave him so much professional satisfaction.
“I wanted to grow old in Sardinia, though, creating something that nobody had every dreamed of creating here. Hub is my dream turned into reality”, he tells us proudly. Connected with the social cooperative Progetto H, it is a part of this unusual setting, amidst abandoned pavilions of an old livestock trading market. We can call it a kind of hybrid: at lunchtime, high-quality food, but cooked more rapidly, at dinner, it is a gastronomic restaurant, where Marongiu unfurls his art, without flaunting his virtuosities too much.
“Great craftsmanship, new techniques applied to Sardinian products, and all based on a sustainable philosophy that looks to the wealth of the local land: meat, cheese, and a multitude of free-growing herbs that personalise the dishes, embellished with oriental spices, such as cumin and cardamom”, is how he talk about the food he makes.
The use of good water also makes the difference. That is why he says he has chosen Acqua Alma, “excellent in a cold marinade, where controlling bacterial load is essential and the quality of the water affects taste greatly,” he adds, “On the other hand, if you use good saffron why not use good water”.
The chef’s philosophy, choosing quality along the entire supply chain, is contained in just a few short words.