Tell us about your background. What made you want to become a chef?
I started working as a Commis Chef when I began studying at university. After my degree and a three-level sommelier course, I decided to cross the line and enter into a Michelin-starred kitchen as a full-time CDP (working on starters and desserts). This was a great first experience and I started learning how techniques and tasting skills combined could lead to the dish that you were aiming to create.
In this restaurant, we used to prepare many different jus by extraction from ingredients we had on the menu (like quail, pigeon, venison, lamb, vegetables). This led to a deeper understanding of how my skills and personal tastes can drive customers’ experiences.
Where have you trained and worked? And where has been your favourite place to work?
I have had several experiences in my working life, many of them in Michelin-starred restaurants and 5-star hotels. My favourite one was working at a restaurant in the North of Italy, close to a pleasant lake. It is a family-run restaurant and hotel called Locanda San Lorenzo in Veneto. I learned to respect the traditions, the old classics twisted in a modern way and the ingredients. Another great experience I had was at Ducasse (l'Anadana, Tuscany) where I learned processes to make great food with really high standards.
What is your favourite dish to prepare at the moment and why?
My favourite dishes to prepare are the ones I enjoy eating with my friends or my family. A nice glass of wine, some fresh homemade wood-oven baked bread. Often my French colleague tries to tease me, in a playful way, telling me that I sometimes cook like he would do at home for his wife and sons. Well, it means I am cooking with love for the people I love!
How has the changing dietary needs of customers influenced your preparation in the kitchen?
I have to deal with a lot of dietary restrictions where I work currently. I’m working in a private residence where every member of the family follows a specific diet, which involves carb-free menus, dairy-free, raw food, sugar-free desserts and so on.
It was very challenging at first but after a while you start to realise that you can do whatever you want and the combination of ingredients can lead to different taste experiences. It's a sort of ‘meditation exercise’ where you are allowed to be free from your past, what you think you know, your ego and your ideas.
Are there any cooking gadgets you can’t live without?
I am trying to work in a sustainable and affordable way so that I’m able to cook with tools I find in every workplace.
However I like a Vitamix blender, a Thermomix, a Pacojet and a sous vide roner.
You’ve taken part in Chef Sessions Live. How did you find the day?
It was a very interesting experience; I have seen how other chefs’ work. Once I was there tasting all the CHEF® products many new insights pop up in my world and I would love to have much more time and ingredients to try them all. I have appreciated CHEF Black Garlic Paste and CHEF Lemon Paste that could serve fusion style kitchen and CHEF Red and Port Wine Reduction Paste as well for a more classic approach.
If you have a story to share and would like to feature in our ‘Day in the Life of a Chef’ series, please get in touch.