The very chic and elegant Osteria Trani in Lugano Switzerland
                   I had the great pleasure of interviewing Francesco, the very cool and young capo of one of my favorite Swiss restaurants located in Lugano, Switzerland. It is on the very funky steps from the Cathedral that wind down the little mountain and is very charming and quaint. The restaurant itself is inside a very old brick domed archway, with a garden in the back that is private and a little terrace right on the stairs that seat 30 outside and about 65 inside. You will love it trust me. Image may contain: 1 person, sitting, table, kitchen and indoor                                                                                
                                                      Via Cattedrale 12,  091 9 22 05 05                                                                     

  The capo, Francesco, is very entertaining, very energetic, and very young to own such a respected and lovely restaurant. "When I am little I used to come here with my grandfather and my father like maybe 30 years now and in 2011 I bought the restaurant. I love it. Here I have only 4 people working including me. Two chefs, one young and crazy and very innovative in his exotic and modern approach to the Mediterranean flavor of the menu, and one older and traditional who creates that way," he says. "The kitchen is totally Mediterranean and we specialize in fish that is brought every morning from the biggest and most important fish mercato in all of Europe-Milan."

    "The menu is seasonal and as I said, we specialize in fish and meat. The starters are tartar in various ways and at any one time I could have up to 5 different ones on the menu. My chefs select from the 10 tartars that they see as important to the menu and depending on the fish that we have that day, we propose it."
                                                       Tartare di verdure del momento 
             Tartare di salmone selvaggio dell’Alaska con crema di avocado e mandorle tostate 
                                       Tartare di tonno rosso, sesamo bianco, limone e soja 
                             Tartare di manzo tagliato al coltello, basilico, cipollina e prezzemolo
                                        Il tataki di tonno, croccante al sesamo e riduzione di soja 
                                Capesante scottate su crema di spinacino allo zenzero e pane al nero di seppia 
                                                    Il filetto di salmone alla griglia, salsa all’aneto 
                      Il polpo alla brace con crema di mozzarella affumicata, pomodoro secco e friarielli
"Along with the tartar starters and the Pesce that we have fresh everyday, we have some of the best meat that is, of course, fresh everyday and my traditional chef makes recipes from the Genoa section of Italy, which is rather rare here in Lugano," says Francesco. 
   "My love and passion is wine and although Switzerland has some very good wines, most of the world needs to physically come to Switzerland to actually taste it. 
They don't export the wine simply since it is smaller vineyards that only make a certain amount per year and Switzerland wants the wine to be accessible to the restaurants here,"says Francesco.  Which of course is the reason that you must come to Trani since you must taste the wine!

"Since the internationals usually come from the northern section of Switzerland, from the German side, they tend to stay a couple of days and become regular guests. They, the tourists, love the Swiss wines and a couple of my guests ask if they can have the very expensive wines with just a glass. I say yes, if they are great guests! Or, for instance, a fellow asked if he could have just one glass or two from a 900.00 euro bottle of Swiss wine. I said that yes he could if he wanted to do that, yet each glass is 250.00 euros. He decided to buy the bottle!" laughs Francesco and with me saying that I would do that, too.
"On my wine list now I have at least 100 red Swiss wines and at least 200 Italian. I have many Swiss white wines, and the Italian whites, I have a couple South African, French, and believe it or not, I have some very good wines from Napa Valley. Every time that I am finished with a wine, I say to myself that I should make the wine list shorter, since I carry about 500 wines with me, yet every time I just buy more wine!" he says laughing. 
"Every month I offer a vineyard with all of the wines that they have to offer by the glass. Some glasses of wine are as little as 6.00 euros and some are 25.00 euros. And I offer Swiss wines by the glass everyday, too. It gives people a chance to taste the wine."
                                                       Hotel Federale in Lugano right opposite the Central Train Station+
                           Is it fun to work with family?
 Roland, "Both... Sometimes you want to say something but you can't say it. And we all have to agree on something. It isn't as if I am the owner and everyone is working for me. If I want to put in new furniture in the lobby I can't just order it for instance. That is where me and my wife went to Milan on Saturday to pick out modern designs for the lobby. When someone has an idea we all have to agree with it even if sometimes you don't want to. My dad and mom still come everyday to the hotel about 10 am and everyday we eat lunch and dinner with each other. They're involved a little now. Mostly it is me and Thomas is the head cucina in the kitchen. Everyday is different. I know that when I come to work in the morning that I have to work but since every guest is different I enjoy that about  the job."
     Emme: Do you have a chance to sit down and chat with each of the people or it is just hi how is everyone at check in and check out and that is it?
     Roland laughing, "If they're nice I chat with them! Just joking. I try. It depends on the guest. You know some like to talk and tell you stories and some invite you to dinner and some just hi and by." 
      Emme: And the most challenging thing about the job that you do?
      Roland, "Hmm... Probably the exchange rate. People always compare hotels and 3 stars to me when they come and they say I only paid such and such for a 3 star in Florence but you have to compare that to the big rooms we have and the buffet service at breakfast and the exchange rate is 50 swiss 
to 40 euros. They always complain about the exchange rate as if I am the one responsible for it."
      Emme: And I heard that the Swiss government is a little different?
       Roland, "There is basically 7 people that make up the government's ruling sector. Every year each one of these takes a turn and rules for one year.\But the cool thing is that every person while they don't vote for these 7 they can if they receive 150,000 signatures submit a proposal into parliament to vote on a new law. It can be any person and it can be any law. The really ridiculous laws they of course won't vote in but they can propose any one."
      Emme laughing hysterically: Seriously? Any person and any law?
      Roland, "Yes any of these."
     Emme: Could I say that from now on every tree must be trimmed and that all the grass must be mowed and kept tidy?
     Roland, "Well you could propose that but you have to submit a budget and who is financing the tree and grass proposal and who pays for it. For instance
if I want solar panels on all houses and every roof top I would have to show the budget for that and how much energy we would save and show that the state has to pay for it. "
     Emme laughing hysterically putting her head on the table: O My God. That is hilarious. Can you imagine it would be a solar city.
                  daughters are 1/2 Japanese and 1/2 Swiss. Roland met his lovely wife when he went to Japan for 7 years and at the 4th year they worked together at the Hotel. 
As I interviewed Roland his wife joined us...
       Emme: Hi It is very nice to meet you. Roland told me how you met each other. Is it love at first sight?
      Roland and Ai laughing. Roland, "For me it was definitely love at first sight. For her I think it took a little longer."
      Ai, "Aaa I got to know him. When we came to Switzerland it was difficult for me because I didn't speak Italian."
      Emme: How long have you been in Switzerland? 
      Ai, "About 17 years."
      Emme laughing: I am sure that you speak Italian now right?
      Ai, "Not really. I am very lazy when it comes to languages. I speak a little English and I speak Japanese with my girls."
      Roland. "The girls laugh at me when I talk Japanese. I can speak Japanese the way that she speaks Italian. Very badly. The girls talk English with me."
      Emme: You're kidding right?
      Roland, "Nope. We all speak different languages."
      Ai, "To me it is difficult since when I came to Switzerland they weren't used to Asian people and everyone stared at me in Lugano. The other places were okay but Lugano was really difficult. Geneva is used to International people and so is Zurich but the others are more closed."
      Emme: Wow. At America everyone is all mixed races and I guess that aspect of it never occurred to me. I guess I thought everyone would be that way.
      Roland, "We have the UN at Geneva and everywhere that you walk in that city you see international people but here at Lugano there is mostly Swiss
or Italian and German and a little French. Now it is better."
      The oldest girl joins us (her name is Manami) and I ask her if she feels more Swiss or more Japanese and she says, "Swiss. I talk Japanese to my mom but Swiss."
     Roland, "That's good!"
       Emme: And at school is it a mixture? Does anyone ever make you feel uncomfortable?
       She laughs, "One time a kid asked me if I was Chinese! I said that I am Asian. I have a German and a French and Italians in my class though"
Emme: And I hear that one of you is 18, 17, and 16. Does anyone have a car yet? (They all have beautiful names: Manami, Lena and Julie)
       Roland, "No and they're not getting one!" He starts in on a "DAD" talk... and as he points up toward the central town he says, "We live 5 minutes from the train station and there isn't any reason why they should have a car. They can take the public bus the way everyone else takes the public bus. They all have bus passes for one year and they take it everywhere. They don't need a car."
      The girl laughs and says, "A scooter would be nice."
      Emme: O You all have scooters?
      Roland, "No they don't have scooters and they're not getting scooters!"
                         Um...Okay... Does it sound familiar American families! 
                                Here is the charming Hotel Federale at Lugano Switzerland  
                                                         via Paolo Regazzoni  8          (41-0-91-910-0808)
                       The family of Galliker-Hinrichs run the boutique hotel with a friendly and courteous manner and the staff is all kind and helpful.

  It has a little fitness room with whirlpools and saunas and a lovely dining room open at lunch and dinner and of course the complimentary breakfast with  all the tables numbered with your room in the morning as if you're a guest at a wedding and they do a seating chart! It is very gracious and sweet.
I had a chance to interview the Cucina who's name is Thomas and happens to be one of the two brothers that manage the Federale the other is Roland.
They're as different as night and day in looks but in mannerisms they're very funny and informative and totally smart.

    Had the utmost pleasure of interviewing the great famous Capo of 40 years, the longest running Capo in Lugano at the same restaurant and location by the way, named Guido Sassi, his head chef the young 3 year master of Cafe Sass, Andrea and my waiter interpreter named Edward. Why do we need a interpreter? "I wanted to be a chef. My father is the most famous chef in all of Switzerland and had such great clients and personal friends who came to dine with him such as Walt Disney himself and Winston Churchill. He said to me that the life of a restaurant owner is too hard. I went to college to be a mechanic with engineering although my heart was with the food. Later he opened his famous restaurant in Lugano named Olympia. It is a present to me as he always wanted to be a chef the way his father is, my father said. I started with love in that restaurant and the last 15 years I have owned Cafe Sass, my baby," says Guido. 
The reservation line and beautiful representation of the Cafe Sass can be seen on the website. Here is one of the many creations that, "The recipes are all mine and traditional and it is my menu, yet I brought on board Andrea 3 years now and he is the master of the modern approach to my vision."
                 Some of the very fun team of Cafe Sass, where the service is very friendly and yet of the highest professionalism. They are kind and attentive and very experienced at serving the guests with the utmost respect.
              The restaurant is about 125 meters from the Lake Lugano and it is as of the month of November and December right in the middle of the Christmas Markets, if you wish to visit. I hear that they are beautiful and full of lively people having fun, although it is a big treat to visit during the winter as the Locals are abundant and you can really get to know the Swiss culture and people. At the Cafe Sass, a Michelin entry forever, you will find the utmost professional service with the great dry humor of the Capo, Guido. "As I was learning the art of my father´s professionalism in every aspect of a restaurant from starting as a dishwasher to graduating to chef in the kitchen, I was always too busy to learn languages!" he says as his Chef Andrea laughs loudly translating, "He speaks and understands Italian and always with the tourists visiting he asks us to translate!"