Story: Eating with the chef

Cuisine inspired by original flavours

At the Locanda Orico in the heart of Bellinzona, chef Lorenzo Albrici conveys his passion for cooking through his elaborate dishes packed with genuine flavours.

The chef from Ticino, Lorenzo Albrici, who inherited his love of cooking from his grandparents as a young boy, set off over the Gotthard Pass to gain wide-ranging work experience in the sector. At the age of 30, driven by a desire to set up on his own, he returned home and opened his restaurant in 1998, boosted by his professional expertise.


Lorenzo Albrici, Chef at the Locanda Orico restaurant

Lorenzo Albrici, Chef at the Locanda Orico restaurant
I spent a lot of time in hotel kitchens as a child.

1 Michelin star and 16 Gault&Millau points. These are important recognitions for the Locanda Orico restaurant and considerable achievements in the career of a chef such as Albrici, who has been working in this trade for over 40 years with as much passion as ever.

This led to his love of cooking, which began at an early age thanks to his paternal grandparents. Fascinated by this world, he was often to be found in the kitchens of his family’s hotels, tasting delicacies, breathing in the aromas and listening to the stories told by the chefs of the time. His best memory? “When I used to go to the winery with my grandfather to get the wine”. But also the salad dressing made by his grandparents: “I’ll never forget the rather greasy bottle they used”. And like all great chefs, Albrici also has a closely guarded secret recipe for his “grandmother’s vinegar!” that he still uses today.

His career began in Ticino with an apprenticeship and at the age of 18 he decided to leave. St Moritz, hotel kitchens in major cities and then the opportunity at Girardet’s Crissier restaurant where he worked for several years.
When he turned 30, with an enviable professional background that had given him the chance to get to know lots of people, countries and cultures, he returned to Ticino and decided to set up on his own. He therefore opened his first restaurant over twenty years ago: a small venue on Via Orico, from which it takes its name, and the Michelin star arrived just two years later!

A major achievement, although in his eyes the most important stars are his customers.
In fact the chef really cares about his guests and it’s extremely important for him to know how they found their visit. “I like to greet all my customers in person”.

And that’s exactly what he does when he has the chance. He comes out of the kitchen to talk to them and get to know them, meaning that he is also able to recognise them on their next visit.

But what is his cuisine based on?
“We have some very interesting products on a national level and in Ticino too”. According to Albrici, it’s essential to find the right balance and to evaluate which products to purchase and from where. “You always have to make sure that they are up to the standard of the dish you want to create”. For example, if the game isn’t local then I’d rather focus on something else. And what about saffron? “A trusted smallholder from Bellinzona supplies me with it!”

People visit the restaurant to eat what they don’t eat at home.

This is why Albrici and his team take great care to evaluate every dish on their menu, which changes every season. Creation is a complex and sometimes long process. “We discuss, imagine, design and do lots of trials”. Contrasting ideas, colours and flavours ultimately give rise to light, fresh and top-quality dishes like Brittle shells filled with wild biberries foam. At times feedback from one of his most loyal customers is what helps him the most.

Locanda Orico (Chef Albrici) , Bellinzona

But his favourite dish will always be “pasta with tomato. Just delicious!”

“I’ve been doing this job for 40 years. It’s a very difficult profession and requires passion”.

Castelgrande in Bellinzona
Pro tip
On Wednesday and Saturday the historical centre of Bellinzona is brought to life by colourful stalls. The city market is the perfect opportunity to buy local produce and meet local producers.
In good company: there have been 8 Michelin-starred chefs in Ticino since 2021, but the only one not associated with a hotel is Lorenzo Albrici.
The Locanda Orico restaurant is at the foot of Castelgrande hill, where the ancient city fortifications that once wound their way to the River Ticino can still be seen today.