Fabrizio Schenardi, executive chef of Four Seasons Resort Orlando, travels to his home country, Italy, several times a year for inspiration for his modern Italian restaurant, Ravello. He recently spent time eating his way around Piedmont. Here, he shares his top restaurant picks for rustic Piedmontese cooking and the ultimate Italian cooking school.

1. Bistrot del Castello, Rivoli, Torino
This restaurant is in a very old part of town and feels like you’re eating at someone’s house rather than a restaurant. They cook real, authentic food from the area. Don’t miss their homemade pasta, particularly the tajarin, the Piedmontese version of tagliatelle.”

2. Chalet sul Lago Moncenisio, Torino
“This beautiful place on the border of France and Italy is surrounded by mountains and has a stunning view of a picturesque lake. Chalet sul Lago Moncenisio is a hotel as well as a restaurant. French skiers and some Italians stay there—it’s far enough away from the touristy ski resorts, but not too far away. The restaurant serves food from Piedmont and Val di Susa. The food is definitely more rustic—cheese, salumi, jam, marmalade, and pastries like crostata di frutta (pie filled with pastry cream topped with pieces of fresh fruit). It’s basic but incredibly flavorful food.”

3. Ristorante Pigna D’oro , Pino Torinese, Torino
“Located on top of a hill, Ristorante Pigna D’oro overlooks the whole area of Torino and on the other side Pino Torinese. The restaurant is in a historic building that used to be a stabling inn in the late nineteenth century. People used to stop here to feed and rest their horses. The restaurant offers traditional food from Piedmont, a good wine list, and a great view. This is one of the first places I started working in the latter part of the 1980’s. They don’t have a set menu, but the owner will explain the fresh food. The menu changes with the season—don’t miss the asparagus in May and June.”

4. Ristorante Ponte Barra, Torino
“This is an old-school restaurant that I would say is almost frozen in time—it’s almost exactly the same as when I went with my family when I was little. It’s extremely affordable and the traditional Piedmontese food is like mamma used to cook. Some of their specialties are: bollito misto, a type of stew, agnolotti, a type of pasta typical of the Piedmont region of Italy, bue brasato al Barolo (ox braised in Barolo wine), and tagliolini al cinghiale, or tagliolini with wild boar. The food is as traditional as possible for the region.”

5. Ristorante Del Cambio, Torino
“One of the oldest restaurants in Torino (open since 1757) Ristorante Del Cambio is an institution—a very expensive one, but worth the experience. Politicians, royal family members, actors, and gourmands from all over the world have eaten here. The restaurant recently changed ownership, but it’s still a very impressive restaurant in the heart of Torino. The tartufo is fantastic.”

6. IFSE Italian Food Style Education, Piobesi Torinese, Torino
“If you want to learn how to cook real Piedmontese food (and have some time to spare), you must take a class at IFSE. This is a school filled with professional chefs and fantastic teachers. It’s located inside of a castle and has a state-of-the-art facility and kitchen. For two to three days, or even a week, you will find yourself completely immersed in food and wine. They teach you everything there is to know about wine, truffles, and Piedmontese cuisine. It’s not just your ordinary cooking school. It is truly the best way to learn about the food. Plus, they take you to restaurants as part of the learning experience. The best.”

Photo by Fabrizio Schenardi