A passionate dreamer, with the true Sicilian fighting spirit, able and willing to step forward. Growing up among the odours of the kitchen of her father Michele Caruso, then self-taught chef of the Signum, and among the hotel guests seeking the best place to relax away from the world, she felt at age 14 that her future was there among the stoves. She then decided to enter catering school, and to work alongside her father in the kitchen during the summer season.
After college, her first work experience was in Rome, on a Gambero Rosso course, with several internships. After the Gambero came Antonello Colonna with Open Colonna, then Pipero at the Rex, and from the Aeolian Islands to Campania, at the court of Gennaro Esposito. Her summer experiences were also important, first with the famous Jamie Oliver in London, and then Pedro Miguel Schiaffino in Lima, Peru. Age 23, with her brother Luca, their close, loving bond making them like two sides of the same coin, they took over the reins at Signum, she in the kitchen, he in the front of house and managing the hotel.
From this point, her career took off: in 2019, the triumphal entry in the Guida Rossa, which she gained with the Michelin star, and the same year receiving the Italian Emerging Cook prize from the Gambero Rosso, and the female Cook of the year award from Identità Golose. The name of Martina Caruso is spreading from Salina, throughout Italy and abroad. In 2019, she received the highly prestigious Michelin Best Female Chef prize for 2019, supported by Veuve Clicquot, whose Atelier des Grandes Dames project supports female Italian cooks. The grounds given for the prize offer a colour photograph of the chef:
“A well-structured cuisine, but at the same time fresh and delicate, with original ideas which promote the flavours and scents of local products. Martina Caruso is receiving the Michelin Female Chef prize 2019 for her strong intention and ability to advance and represent her radiant island, through her great technical skills and the female touch of a passionate and determined young woman”.
The latest mark of recognition comes from the Forbes Italia magazine, which included her among the 100 successful women of 2020. A starry, successful career, in which study, balance and energy are the essential ingredients. Her dishes value all the shades and colours of the islands and the sea around them. As a great supporter of small Sicilian producers, her mission is to develop and promote the island heritage through her cooking.