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MAY 2019

LUCA ROSATI

POTS TO LENS

BEL COELHO

BRAZILIAN CUISINE

OLIVIER NASTI

HUNT FOR PERFECTION

MATTEO RIZZO IL DESCO

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2019 WINNER OF THE INDEPENDENT PUBLISHERS WORLD BOOK AWARDS “A passion for the finer things in life a desire to live within the greatest expression of pleasure LAVAZZA COFFEE AND GASTRONOMY” A CULINARY HOMAGE TO COFFEE 39 of the world’s cutting-edge chefs and one sommelier a collective of 35 Michelin stars from 6 continents, 23 countries from Curitiba in Brazil to Sydney, Australia ORDER YOUR COPY AT http://wgmagazines.com/coffee-absolute-gastronomy


WITH THE WORLD’S CUTTING EDGE CHEFS by FLAVEL MONTEIRO


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From the first photographer of Rolling Stone Magazine with JIMI HENDRIX 1968 - 1970 Baron Wolman saw the music. His iconic music photography included shots on-stage with Jimi Hendrix, backstage with the Rolling Stones, and in front of the stage with Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin. Grace Slick and the Grateful Dead performed for the camera in his studio. Baron Wolman was Rolling Stone’s first staff photographer. From 1967 through the early seventies, his pictures have appeared in virtually every issue.

To order a copy, please contact Baron Wolman - baron@baronwolman.com WG May 2019 -

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Good taste isn’t expensive

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E X P E R I E N C E U N R I VA L L E D QUALITY Soaring above Amsterdam’s rooftops, step into a calm and composed realm of fine dining at Ciel Bleu Restaurant. Situated on the 23rd floor of Hotel Okura Amsterdam, Ciel Bleu holds two Michelin stars for its international cuisine led by chefs Onno Kokmeijer and Arjan Speelman. Attentive, amiable staff are on hand to welcome and guide you through the seasonal menus showcasing the creations of Ciel Bleu’s world-class chefs, alongside exclusive vintages from the award-winning wine list. For a rare glimpse into the workings of a two Michelin-starred team, reserve the Chef’s Table overlooking the heart of the kitchen. Visit www.okura.nl/cielbleu for more information and reservations.

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MADRID

BARCELONA


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Simple & Delicious

WHOLEFOOD RECIPES Available as hardcopy from thehealthychef.com E-Book versions available from iTunes, Amazon & Google Play

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@teresacutter_healthychef

4 Collins Street, Surry Hills, Sydney, Australia hello@thehealthychef.com


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Culinary Arts can give new life to children... we make it our mission to identify talented, underprivileged children with culinary ambitions and provide opportunities that otherwise would have been beyond their reach‌

Grant MacPherson

WO’GOA Foundation Ambassador An inspirer, innovator and perfectionist - Grant encompasses all the qualities that deserving children can glean from a role model!

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The Pearl - WG 2019Sydney, Australia Martin Benn May - Sepia,

partnered with SKD ACADEMY the culinary institute in the Philippines


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CONTENTS

MAY 2019

24

FROM POTS TO A CAMERA LENS

36 48

THE FACE OF BRAZILIAN CUISINE

58

WORLD’S BEST FEMALE CHEF

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AMERICAN EXPRESS ICON AWARD

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FRENCH TECHNIQUES AND ASIAN FLAVORS

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ALESSANDRO MICELI

84

EVGENY VIKENTEV

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IL DESCO

100

SOKOL NDREKO

106

HIDDEN AT DN

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ON THE HUNT FOR PERFECTION


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COFFEE ABSOLUTE GASTRONOMY PHOTO © VICTORIA SHASHIRIN

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Editor Feature Editor

Fabian deCastro Maria Lourdes Doug Singer

Contributors

Elisabete Ferreira Michael Hepworth

Photography

Victoria Shashirin

FJMdesign WGkonnect Photography Consultant Creative Design Studio

‘ Identifying underprivileged children with culinary ambitions...

Publisher IZZY Publishing Pvt. Ltd. WG™ is an online digital publication published by: Izzy Publishing Pvt. Ltd. Unit 14, Agnelo Colony, Kerant, Caranzalem, 403002 Goa, India Tel: +91(832) 2463234 Fax: +91(832) 2464201 sales@wgmagazines.com

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©IZZY Publishing Pvt. Ltd. All rights reserved. Editorial material and opinions expressed in WG™ digital publication do not necessarily reflect the views of IZZY Publishing Pvt. Ltd. WG™ and IZZY Publishing Pvt. Ltd. cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies or errors and do not accept responsibility for the advertising content. All contents are strictly copyright and all rights are reserved. Production in whole or part is prohibited without prior permission from IZZY Publishing Pvt. Ltd. ©2019 WG™ All rights reserved.

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Cover Image Credit: BACCALA, YOGURT, NERO DI SEPPIA LUCA ROSATI PHOTO © LUCA ROSATI


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Creativity is the fundamental element behind Luca Rosati’s style both as a photographer and chef as he is inspired by the perfect imperfections. He loves the colors, shapes and the forms of ingredients; and very often, the forms of the ingredients influence the idea behind his dishes.

It’s the new face of Brazilian cuisine – Bel Coelho who launched Clandestino, a restaurant which opens only for a week each month. Her creative Brazilian cuisine is inspired by regional food, Brazilian culture and native ingredients. This is one of the reasons people started looking at her work. On the hunt for perfection with Olivier Nasti who is a great believer in discipline, precision and high standards, combined with skill and technique. Scale the culinary heights in the hunt for perfection by sampling the classic yet avant-garde Alsatian cuisine of Chef Olivier Nasti at Restaurant Ikarus in May 2019. Daniela Soto-Innes - chef-partner at modern Mexican restaurant Cosme in Manhattan - has been voted elit™ Vodka World’s Best Female Chef 2019 and US-based Spanish chef and humanitarian José Andrés has been awarded the American Express Icon Award 2019 ahead of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants in Singapore on 25 June. With her French techniques and Asian flavors, Niyati Rao is amazed and inspired each day, which gives rise to new beliefs that she keeps in mind for a better future. She always believed that food is an extremely powerful medium of communication, it is she having a dialogue with a person through her food. Alessandro Miceli’s cuisine is all about balance as adding different elements - some crunch, or sweet elements to add different texture to each dish and makes sure never to use products that will cover the flavor of the main ingredient on the dish.

To understand Evgeny Vikentev, you must understand his upbringing and now inspired by Berlin’s free artistic spirit.

Matteo Rizzo’s cuisine is based on heart and tradition that takes Italian gastronomic culture and transports it through time, rendering it modern.

From helping in his uncle’s bar at age 13, to studying literature and then a move to Europe and work in the construction industry in Athens. In 2015, Sokol was awarded Best Sommelier in Italy in the Best Italian Wine Awards and in 2017 awarded Maitre of the Year by Le Guide de L’Espresso. Hidden at DN with Julio Li, he proved wrong to all those who doubted him and works now at one of the best Spanish restaurants in Asia who has been recommended on the first edition of the prestigious Michelin Guide Taipei 2018. Bon Appétit

FdeCastro

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LUCA ROSATI

LUCA ROSATI FROM POTS AND PAN TO THE CAMERA LENS

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PHOTO © LUCA ROSATI

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LUCA ROSATI

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REVISITED A TRADITIONAL RECIPE - GAMBERI, MANGO, FEGATO SEASONED KING PRAWNS CRUDO, MANGO PURÉE, LIVER COCOA SAUCE, FORAGED GREENS


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“Photography came in the course of the years, during his travels, especially during his travels to Japan. He approached food photography and was fascinated by the beauty and perfection of the dishes and the chefs who made them� Born in Siena, Italy and lives in the medieval town of San Gimignano in the heart of beautiful Tuscany. A father of two beautiful girls, a chef and a professional photographer. After finishing high school, Luca did his selected service in the army as a sharpshooter which was a fantastic experience for him at the time. It was at the time to thank his army mates that dove him to the kitchen for the very first time and returned to the family business knowing that it will not be forever. Luca considers himself as very creative, dynamic and curious person who loves traveling and discovering new cultures, especially the traditions in their cuisine. Passionate about music and a drummer boy since the age of 16. Photography came in the course of the years, during his travels, especially during his travels to Japan. He approached food photography and was fascinated by the beauty and perfection of the dishes and the chefs who made them. 15 years ago, he wanted to change his life and follow his dream, entered a professional kitchen in Florence for the first time as driven by curiosity, passion and determination to succeed. This is where he met with Francesco, his first real chef and mentor, and today they are great friends. It was Francesco teachings that made him grow and believe in being a chef. His vision was very classic, but essential to learn the basics of this profession. After that Luca moved in a Michelin star restaurant in Certaldo Alto, Florence. This is where he met Sara, chef and owner of the restaurant. She pushed him over the limits to bring out creativity and passion in haute dining. It is from this experience that he learnt the vision of modern cuisine, the interest in rare ingredients, composition and the art of plating; and till this day he uses most of the techniques he learnt from her.

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LUCA ROSATI

He then moved to a small tavern with 20 seats in the Chianti area. This was his first experience as the only chef in a kitchen, a small menu, attention to detail, local sourced ingredients and everything made from scratch was the key to success. During the 3 years his skills grew, and his style gradually became one which makes Luca unique - a combination of tradition and innovation. He then went on to get a year’s experience in the US and then returned back in 2012 to work as an Executive Chef in a boutique hotel in Chianti. This is where he had the chance to show his cuisine and his style both in the menus and in cooking class and cooking shows promoted by the restaurant.

His passion for cooking and photography… “I believe that every chef loves to immortalize his works with photography, the progresses or to capture a dish that needs to be remembered. The love of beauty and perfection in the kitchen brought me from the pots to the lens of the camera. I found my way over the years by studying, working, and trying repeatedly. I learned from my mistakes to become every day better at was I was doing. Progress and positive results have constantly motivated me to continue working. I started my career as a chef using complex ingredients and several combinations of flavors. Today, looking back to 10-15 years ago, as a chef I’m very different. I now use no more than 3-4 ingredients for a perfect combination of taste, flavors and presentation. As a photographer, minimal and clean looking for a pristine and refined composition” says Luca.

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PICCIONE DRIED PLUM CONFIT LEG, MARINATED AND ROASTED PIGEON BREAST, WISKEY SAUCE, MUSTARD SEEDS

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“my old recipe for this tartare. very rich. i love the presentation on the wood plate. it is so natural�

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WG catches up with Luca Rosati… Your culinary philosophy and the creative approach behind food photography… My cooking philosophy is very simple, I call it essential. I like to create unique dishes with fresh, seasonal ingredients. For me, it is important that every ingredient is recognizable both at look and taste to form a perfect balance of flavor, taste and texture. In regard of the aesthetic side, the dish must be beautiful, clean and not with many decorations. I like cleanliness and minimalism. That is why in my dishes and photography I don’t like to use many props. How do you choose your theme for each dish? First, an idea, a color, an ingredient, and the smell. Then I decide the recipe I will prepare with each element. After that, I taste the ingredients one by one. When I’m sure of taste and textures, I start the cooking process. When I work like a photographer and stylist, especially for ceramics brands, I start from the colors and the forms of the ceramics being photographed. My dish must respect the spirit of the ceramic and the process of production of the craftsman. PIEMONTESE, CILIEGE, SENAPE, INCENSO VACCHETTA PIEMONTESE INCENSE SMOCKED BEEF TARTARE, CHERRIES, CRISPY IBERICO PORK BELLY, HOMEMADE SENAPE, TARRAGON LEMON DRESSING, SARAWAK PEPPER AND SHIITAKE DUST

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LUCA ROSATI

CIOCCOLATO, FINOCCHI, KUMQUAT, GRISSINI, CANNELLA

“I am inspired by the perfect imperfections. I really love the colors, shapes and the forms of my ingredients” Your photographs leave a trace, an emotion, boldness and taste… Creativity is the fundamental element behind my style both as a photographer and chef. The technique and good ingredients are at the service of creativity to help me produce a dish that can stand out of the crowd. Your greatest influence in the kitchen both with food and photography…

CALAMARO, MELANZANA, ZENZERO, TEA © BENJAMIN SCHMUCK PHOTO

I am inspired by the perfect imperfections. I really love the colors, shapes and the forms of my ingredients. Very often, the forms of the ingredients influence the idea behind the dish. I believe in the theory that a chef as a food artist you must try to make something static into a work of art. Therefore, the idea of food transforming food from a necessity into art is probably my major influence as a chef photographer. Your earliest food memory and flavors from your childhood… The first memory is probably Nutella. No joke! It has always been a living memory. I love Nutella, I can hardly find a better snack rather than fresh toasted bread with Nutella spread. The flavors of my childhood are many. One of the most remarkable is Spaghetti alla Carbonara. My mum, born and raised in Rome had a spectacular way to cook it. Then living in Tuscany, there were recipes that as a child were the snack after school, that even today after many years I prepare it for myself and my daughters. Also “pane, vino e zucchero” bread, sugar and red wine, “l’uovo sbattuto” beaten egg fresh egg yolk with sugar and masala. And of course, the classical Sunday oven roasted backed baby chicken with backed potatoes.

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SANGIOVESE, CACAO, PINOLI, FOIS-GRAS


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MARSALA, LATTE, FICHI D’INDIA

ANANAS, PANNA ACIDA, LIQUIRIZIA

CACAO, FOIS-GRAS, PAPAYA

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A TASTY AND FRESH SUMMER DESSERT - AGRUMI, CETRIOLO, RICOTTA WHIPPED RICOTTA MOUSSE TOPPED WITH LEMON BURNT ZEST, CANDY LEMON AND CUCUMBER CUBES,PISTACHIO, LIME FLAVORED MERINGUE


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What keeps you motivated?

“Curiosity and the Creativity. The constant desire to evolve and to constantly grow” I speak both as a chef and as a professional photographer. I want to create something unique that is recognizable as mine. Both as and chef and as a photographer I had a good response both nationally and internationally, by participating in various contests where I could show my work. I get motivated, in addition to the profession, by my family, my wife, and my daughters. They are the ones who believe in me every day. What do you do to stay on top of the new cooking trends? Technology today allows us to see things that were much more difficult 20 years ago. I’m an internet fanatic. I document myself a lot and I am constantly monitoring current trends to initiate new ones. I also read lots of articles and food magazines to understand who the new faces of world cuisine are, and what the audience want to see. You should never stay behind. I like reading old cookbooks and new chef publications to monitor changes and come up with new ideas to develop my works. Social media is also very important these days, it is an amazing window to expose your work and get seen. In the past years how has cuisine changed around the world? In the early 2000’s molecular cuisine changed everything in a professional kitchens. After that the media, master chef, Facebook, Instagram and blogs have made haute cuisine interesting for everyone and it has become a lifestyle. Today, every restaurateur knows the techniques that 15 years ago were the prerogative of very few chefs.

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BEL COELHO

BEL COELHO

THE FACE OF BRAZILIAN CUISINE

From Sao Paulo, Brazil, Bel discovered her vocation at an early age, at 17 she started her internship in a French restaurant in Sao Paulo, with Laurent Suaudeau, then did another internship in Fasano and then went to the Culinary Institute of America from where she graduated in 1999. Getting back to Brazil, she worked with Alex Atala for a while and then went to Europe. She felt that she needed to learn more, to learn different techniques and cuisines, for the next 2 years she worked at El Celler de Can Roca after which she returned to Sao Paulo to open her own restaurant. Bel then launched Clandestino, a restaurant which opens only for a week each month, with tasting menus, and I do catering business the rest of the month. Her work is based on her research on native products and Brazilian culture. She also has a very deep research on Afro-Brazilian culture and food and another on Brazilian Biomes - which is the different ecosystems they have in Brazil, such as the Amazon, Atlantic forest, the countryside, Savana and she creates her menus inspired by the native Brazilian products, Brazilian culture, and the influences of different nationalities such as the Africans, the Portuguese and of course the native people who were there before Brazil was founded by the Portuguese.

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BEL COELHO

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SORBET DE CAJU, MEL DE JATAÍ, COMPOTA DE CAJU E FAROFA DE CASTANHA PHOTO © ANTONIO RODRIGUES


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Her passion for cooking… “Well, I think I had a good base, a good start, by graduating from a nice school, from a nice Culinary College, and then I think I’ve chosen the right chefs to work with. But what really made a difference in my style of cuisine and in the way I cook nowadays, the turning point, was when I looked at my culture and my ingredients, when I really started researching Brazilian food, native products and native techniques. I had the opportunity to travel the whole Brazil and Brazil is very big and that really changed my way of cooking. I had a chance to go to people’s houses and cook with them. Not only restaurants, but also producers, farmers, this really changed my way of cooking” says Bel. Bel Coelho has a creative Brazilian cuisine, inspired by regional food, Brazilian culture and native ingredients. This is one of her marks and she feels this is one of the reasons people started looking at her work. Also her style of cooking changed and got better somehow, because she really found her purpose in cooking, her purpose in this field, which is valuing Brazilian culture. WG catches up with Bel Coelho… Your cuisine is inspired by a combination of regional food, Brazilian culture and native ingredients… I think I have a repertoire, I have my own conscious and my own food repertoire which I can access whenever I’m creating a dish. Sometimes it’s based on a traditional regional dish, sometimes it’s inspired by a native fruit, or even Brazilian History, or Brazilian influences, it really depends, each dish that I make or menu that I create will depend on my research, the research I’m doing at the time. It’s kind of difficult to explain the creative process of a dish, the flavor construction. But the fact is that I do it nowadays very spontaneously, not instinctively, but spontaneously based on my repertoire. Sometimes I try to be more daring and then I just taste it! And see if it tastes good, if the result is good, if it’s balanced. It’s a combination of things, to find balance and achieve the success of a final dish. Summarizing, it’s based on my own repertoire, my technique history, my work history, everything that I’ve learned and mostly Brazilian culture and ingredients. The balance, I only achieve it when I taste it. Sometimes it doesn’t work out and sometimes it does. What I imagine in my head, I make it - sometimes it works like I thought it would, sometimes it doesn’t - but the thing is I get inspired by different aspects of my life.

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BEL COELHO

“Iuse a lot of Brazilian ingredients, Brazilian culture as an inspiration” Your experiences which helped you become a chef… All the restaurants where I’ve worked with Laurent Suaudeau, Pallard, Cellerd de Can Roca, Alex Atala and all the other restaurants where I’ve worked as a chef, all of them had some influences in my life, in my professional and personal life, and somehow they all taught me something - techniques, ways of working, processes. It’s not easy to explain from which restaurant or from which phase of my life it comes from, but of course everything had its importance. El Celler de Can Roca and Alex Atala had maybe more influences in my techniques and ways of creating, but the turning point in my career was to travel Brazil, all the regions, biomes, ecosystems and forests, getting to know the regional cultures, having the chance to plant native fruits with local producers, harvesting coffee beans, all this was really important to my current style of cuisine. Your culinary philosophy… PHOTO © ANTONIO RODRIGUES

My culinary philosophy nowadays - well of course I make creative Brazilian food, I use a lot of Brazilian ingredients, Brazilian culture as an inspiration, but also I use organic ingredients, products that come from Agroflorestas (ecofarms), because I don’t believe in food that is grown with pesticides, it’s worse in terms of health and of flavor. Besides that, there’s a whole political issue related to this subject. We are harming our environment and this is making Brazil poor in terms of biodiversity and in terms of culture. We’re killing our biodiversity, our culture, our people, what’s left of our tradicional indigenous people, Afro-Brazilian descendants and their cultures, the Quilombola communities’ culture - people from the forest. So we’re killing the environment, the biodiversity and the culture related to the use of these native products. It’s a tragedy in terms of health, environment and social issues. It’s a social tragedy.

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PHOTO © ROGERIO VOLTAN

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BEL COELHO

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PHOTO © LUCAS TERRIBILI


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Produce, Creativity or Technique… The three things are very important for you to be a chef, to be a cook that creates dishes, but the most important thing in my opinion and the most difficult thing to have, to create in life is the products. I really value the producers. But the three stages are very important in my work. Ingredient that inspire you, ingredients you like working with… Right now I have just created a menu based solely on native fruits, coming from the different biomes and ecosystems in Brazil (Atlantic Forest, Amazon, Savana, Caatinga - the desert countryside). I have to visit all the producers who I know are still producing these fruits, because they’re not commercial - we don’t value enough our own fruits. These are the ingredients that are inspiring me the most right now. The ingredients I most like to work with are native fruits, native fish, plants that are not traditionally used in food (the ones you can’t find in supermarkets and in the grocery store)… they’re native plants that grow in the forests and you don’t see people selling them. And also the nuts, all the Brazilian native nuts are very interesting and very rich nutrition wise.

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BEL COELHO

Your greatest influence in the kitchen… Alice Waters, and women in general. I really admire all the Brazilian female chefs, such as Helena, Paula, Manu, many more. I try not to look at Europe as an influence, not anymore. Portugal a little bit because I am half Portuguese half Brazilian, and a little Italian. There was a time when I looked at the European culture and techniques, nowadays I try not to. Your earliest food memory, flavors from your childhood… Rice, black beans and fried eggs, with a soft egg yolk. It has to be soft, very important, it changes the whole thing. And very crispy farofa (manioc flower) - these are the things I can’t live without.

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SOBREMESA ZONA DA MATA PHOTO © ANTONIO RODRIGUES

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BEL COELHO

OVOS MOLES, SORVETE DE GEMA, BANANA OURO, MELAÇO DE CANA E CARAMELO DE COCO E GENGIBRE PHOTO Š SERGIO COIMBRA

What keeps you motivated? My activism, fighting for the democratization of the agricultural production, for the biodiversity and against pesticides. Fighting the abuse of pesticides now happening in Brazil. This is probably my biggest motivation. What really matters to me is not my cooking anymore, it does matter for my life and my sustenance but what I create is not as important as trying to get to the point in which and Brazilians have access to clean, good and true food. Healthy food. As long as we have people starving and people eating unhealthy, industrialized and processed food, a lot of poisoned food, I will fight for the contrary.

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Being a chef is perceived as a glamorous profession, your advice to chefs entering the kitchen for the first time… Do not think about glamour. Not necessarily you’re gonna be known, and you can still be successful. Not all cooks and chefs will be famous and glamorous, it doesn’t mean success actually. I’m sure there are lots of “glamorous” chefs that are unhappy, who don’t have a personal life.

“Success is very relative” So just think about doing good work, learning techniques, going after what you like, what really motivates you to cook. It can’t be about glamour.

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OLIVIER NASTI

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OLIVIER NASTI PHOTO © HELGE KIRCHBERGER PHOTOGRAPHY / RED BULL HANGAR-7

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OLIVIER NASTI

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ON THE HUNT FOR PERFECTION Olivier Nasti was born and grew up in Morvillars in northeast France. Even as a youngster, he was keen to earn a living by delivering newspapers, working in a bakery, and selling stolen fruit from the surrounding orchards and trout caught in the local pond. He attended Morvillars College before embarking on an apprenticeship at Château Servin (2*) in Belfort in 1984 where he nurtured his passion for cooking. Between then and 2000, he continued training at the Sheraton in Luxembourg, with Jean-Yves Schillinger in Colmar, with Olivier Roellinger in Cancale and with the Haeberlin family at the Auberge de l’Ill, the famous Michelin-starred restaurant in Alsace. In 1993 he took over a wine bar in Eguisheim and finally, in 2000, he acquired Le Chambard in Kaysersberg where he now heads Le Chambard’s kitchens and, in particular, his 2-star Michelin restaurant.

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OLIVIER NASTI

ECKART WITZIGMANN AND OLIVIER NASTI

Olivier Nasti is a great believer in discipline, precision and high standards, combined with skill and technique. It is these qualities, gained through long, hard work that led him to being chosen as the Best Craftsman of France [Meilleur Ouvrier de France] in 2007. Receiving the famous blue-white-red collar fulfilled a dream he had held since being an apprentice. It is a distinction that expresses his desire to progress and perform even better, while at the same time continuing to pass on his knowledge by training young apprentices, sharing his culinary secrets in his books and acting as a judge at competitions. In the charming medieval fortified village of Kaysersberg, the hotel restaurant and spa Le Chambard gained its first Michelin star in 2001, adding a second in 2014. In November 2016, the magazine Le Chef recognised Olivier Nasti as one of the top 100 best chefs in the world and, in September 2017, the restaurant joined the association of Grandes Tables du Monde. Updated in April 2018, Le Chambard has a warm and refined atmosphere. Its dining room is dominated by an ancient beam, local wood blends into the walls, and hand-crafted furniture cradles the guests. Chef Olivier Nasti takes his guests on a nature-led journey of delicious culinary inventiveness. His new “Expression� menu is highly personal and pays close attention to textures, cooking methods, sauces and decoctions to create a perfect balance that reflects the Alsatian tradition with determinedly modern touches.

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MARTIN KLEIN AND OLIVIER NASTI


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Olivier Nasti hunts all year round, following the seasonality of the game that is available by stalking in the mountains, taking only game selected for its flesh that he uses in his kitchen.

“I’ve always worked with wild game in my restaurant. It’s a tradition here in Alsace and I’m a huge fan of this particular meat. It’s lean and has lots of potential. I work with the entire animal, but with finesse and a light touch. Haunch of venison is delicious as carpaccio served with a wood sorrel mayonnaise. I also prepare a foie gras and black truffle pie with shoulder of venison, a recipe inspired by the final of the Best Craftsman of France competition. I serve it with a purée made with a Christine Ferber baerewaecka, a nod to Alsace, as well as mushrooms, spinach and a light sauce.” Naturally, guests at Le Chambard can also enjoy a varied selection of Alsatian wines, including a fleshy, well-structured red Pinot Noir with a delicate red colour and a taste of its terroir that pairs perfectly with red meats and wild game.

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Drawing his inspiration from the rich diversity of surrounding areas, Olivier Nasti works with the best local farmers and wine growers to ensure that each creation reflects the true soul of Alsace: intrepid, bold and adventurous like the man himself. In a tough profession, with a punishing schedule, he recharges his batteries “by climbing the peaks at Orbey, near Kaysersberg which look amazing in the snow!� Scale the culinary heights in the hunt for perfection by sampling the classic yet avant-garde Alsatian cuisine of Chef Olivier Nasti at Restaurant Ikarus in May 2019.

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DANIELA SOTO-INNES

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DANIELA SOTO-INNES WORLD’S BEST FEMALE CHEF

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DANIELA SOTO-INNES

Daniela Soto-Innes - chef-partner at modern Mexican restaurant Cosme in Manhattan - has been voted elit™ Vodka World’s Best Female Chef 2019 ahead of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards in Singapore on 25 June. The Best Female Chef series, now in its ninth year, has celebrated 21 women across 15 countries and continues to encourage debate around gender issues in the food world. The award is voted for by The World’s 50 Best Restaurants’ global panel which includes over 500 female chefs, food experts and writers, who comprise 50% of the total voting Academy. Accepting the accolade, Soto-Innes said: “I’m grateful to receive this award as it gives me the platform to inspire both my generation and younger generations of leaders to come. My main passion doesn’t come from cooking alone, but through making teams and allowing everyone around me to excel and reach their full potential by learning their unique way of expressing themselves.” Originally from Mexico City, Soto-Innes moved to the US at the age of 12, intending to pursue her love of swimming and sports. But with the influence of her family’s three generations of food-loving matriarchs, she gravitated towards a career in food. Aged just 15, she got her first restaurant job in Houston, Texas. After formal training at Le Cordon Bleu in Austin, SotoInnes joined the opening team at Brennan’s of Houston. She then moved to progressive American restaurant Triniti and Chris Shepherd’s charcuterie-heavy Underbelly, both in Houston, before returning to Mexico. Back in her native Mexico City, the young chef staged at Pujol before joining

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Gerardo Vazquez Lugo at traditional Mexican restaurant Nicos. Soto-Innes then returned to Pujol to work full-time alongside its celebrated chef-owner, Enrique Olvera. When Olvera opened Cosme in New York in 2014, he made Soto-Innes chef de cuisine. Within a year of Cosme’s opening, she won a StarChefs Rising Stars Award in 2015 and the James Beard Award for Rising Star Chef the following year. Cosme debuted in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list in 2017 at No.40, serving a fresh interpretation of Mexican cuisine. The same year, she partnered with Olvera on a second concept, Atla, also in New York, where they serve a menu of light, progressive Mexican food in a laid-back dining room. She is now a partner at Cosme, as well as Atla. The duo plans to open two further restaurants in LA called Damian and Ditroit in late 2019. Soto-Innes says that her cooking is not only driven by ingredients and the environment but also by the people who surround her. Soto-Innes follows in the footsteps of a series of worldrenowned female chefs in holding the prestigious title, including Clare Smyth, Ana Roš, Dominique Crenn, Hélène Darroze, Helena Rizzo, Nadia Santini, Elena Arzak, and Anne-Sophie Pic. Soto-Innes will formally receive her prize at The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2019 awards ceremony at the Sands Theatre within the iconic Marina Bay Sands in Singapore on 25 June. This star-studded evening will see the unveiling of the list of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2019.

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JOSÉ ANDRÉS

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JOSÉ ANDRÉS

AMERICAN EXPRESS ICON AWARD US-based Spanish chef and humanitarian José Andrés has been awarded the American Express Icon Award 2019. This prestigious honor is part of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants and celebrates an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the restaurant industry worthy of international recognition and who has used the platform that his profile as a chef provides to raise awareness and drive change. The award reflects his overall career as a pioneering chef and restaurateur as well as his more recent humanitarian work, both of which have brought him to the status of a global culinary icon. Jose Andrés says: “I’m very humbled to receive this award, to make sure that I will give voice to those who are voiceless. I will try to make sure that we bring hope, one plate of food at a time.” Born in Asturias, northern Spain, Chef Andrés is the man credited with bringing both authentic tapas and innovative contemporary Spanish cuisine to the US. After spending two years with Ferran Adrià at legendary modernist restaurant El Bulli, in 1991 he packed his bags for the States with just $50 in his pocket.

Today, his ThinkFoodGroup includes more than 30 restaurants, including the two Michelin-starred minibar by José Andrés in Washington, DC, which serves some of the most avant-garde cuisine in the world. His array of restaurants ranges from experimental tasting-menu-only counter dining experiences to authentic regional cuisines and fast-casual concepts, which are focused on impeccably sourced ingredients served simply, often in a small-plate or tapas style. Twice awarded Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World, Andrés’ humanitarian work has received widespread recognition. In 2016 he was awarded a National Humanities Medal at the White House by President Obama, and in 2018 he was named Humanitarian of the Year by the James Beard Foundation for the role of his non-profit organization, World Central Kitchen, in providing nearly 4 million meals to the people of Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. His book recounting his experience in Puerto Rico, We Fed An Island, is a New York Times bestseller. He has recently broadened his restaurant reach with a new location of Jaleo, his first restaurant, at Disney Springs at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, as well as the 35,000-square foot Mercado Little Spain in New York’s Hudson Yards development, which combines a variety of Spanish restaurants, bars and food and retail kiosks under one roof. Described as “a veritable love letter to Spain”, the project, inspired by the mercados central to social life in Spain, was developed with creative collaboration from brothers Ferran and Albert Adrià, with whom he worked at El Bulli at the start of his career.

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WITH THE WORLD’S CUTTING EDGE CHEFS by FLAVEL MONTEIRO

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NIYATI RAO

B NIYATI RAO FRENCH TECHNIQUES ASIAN FLAVORS

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orn and brought up in the dream city of Mumbai, India, Niyati had the opportunity to travel and to be exposed to different cultures of the world, she was always a very curious child and would have a natural inclination towards art(painting), literature ,history about places as that is something her mind understood effortlessly, wherein she would perceive things differently and that posed a serious challenge as she was never academically blessed during her school days, that made her face a very tough time as she was a nail that stuck out. Growing up her escape was always painting and mainly cooking elaborate family meals with her mother who is a brilliant cook, that’s is where she learnt the most and felt at peace, safe to say she found her calling that drove her to work really hard to secure acceptance into the best hotel management institutes in India at IHM Mumbai. It was in her last year of studying that she was chosen by the Taj Group of hotels for a 2 year culinary management training program, it was her first experience in the real world of the culinary wonderland. During this time she programmed to forget about everything else in the world, as she submitted into a more beautiful but competitive world of chefs. At the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai, she had the fortune to work at the most prestigious French fine dining restaurant ‘The Zodiac Grill’ and then became the chef at ‘Wasabi-by Morimoto’, something she wanted since the very first day. Niyati then got the opportunity to work with Hemant Oberoi as a sous chef. Now her bags are packed as she heads out to the culinary capital of the world, Spain, a training at Azurmendi by Aneko Axta, the three Michelin starred restaurant.


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“I was fixated to the idea of learning and practicing how to cook for others to express myself ” Niyati comes from a family of gastronomes where everything revolves around food. She adds “I remember an incident when I was a little girl, a cold December morning at the Tsukiji market in Tokyo and I was walking around the bustling market with my father, we went to a quaint sushi restaurant that was flooded with people and my father insisted on making me try the fatty tuna (o-toro) nigiri along with everything that was best in season. Seeing the skillful work of the chef, serving each of his customers with utmost love, respect and pride with which he was also handling the food and the ingredients really astounded me, keeping in mind his attention to detail for ingredients in terms of seasonality. I was fixated to the idea of learning and practicing how to cook for others to express myself the same way so many people who I knew or who I observed did. I realized that it was an art form, an ability that had the power to make people happy. Since then I knew this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.” She was in love, she found her passion, and nothing else mattered more. After that she was engulfed in the world of food, ingredients, cooking. She saw the same things in a very different light. She would borrow cookbooks from the library and steal some from her mother’s collection, read culinary encyclopedias written by the masters of the gourmet world, would research on ingredients and cooking techniques in different places, explore and try more food of my own country being so diverse, flavorful and vibrant. She realized how strong the language of food is from the humble warmth of a meal made by a mother to an incredible gourmet experience presented by an expert chef, all of this has touched lives in some way. Something in her changed for the better, it was the fact that she understood the deep ingrained truth that food is sacred, it is more than just nourishment and finally she entered the kitchen and never looked back.

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NIYATI RAO

WG catches up with Niyati Rao… Your experience at The Zodiac Grill and at Wasabi… At The Zodiac Grill, I was taught precision in terms of cooking methods and procedures with utmost care and concern, yet lending a free hand to young chef like myself to experiment, hone my talent, but making sure my basics were strong. it was a perfect balance that I learnt wherein one side is held to the roots, foundation, the traditional techniques or old school methods of preps and the other side held on to the future trends, plating styles, newly found ingredients and flavor origins those were taking place in the international culinary markets. I had the freedom to innovate using premium ingredients. I was pushed to break the limitations in my mind and try anything in terms of new flavor combinations, recipes in spite of considerable time, energy and resources. It was a “ask and you shall receive” or “go crazy” approach that plays a big hand in moulding me as the chef I am today. The trust on my abilities as a young chef, is what makes me confident and fearless. My style of cuisine has traces of The Zodiac Grill’s philosophy of a French fine dine with a modern spins on old classics with revised flavors and ingredients, wherein one keeps the essence of an old dish alive but enhances it with new textures and better formulas to make it more magnificent that it was, along with new styles of plating. After working at The Zodiac Grill, I was assigned to Wasabi by Morimoto as one of the chefs. It was dream come true, something that I truly desired, yearned and worked for so long. Wasabi was and still is one of a kind, it is not just the adulation and pride I feel for but an honest eye opening experience. At Wasabi the Japanese chef played an integral role in shaping my working style, strict and ran the kitchen in a rigorous and meticulous manner, this taught me discipline, perseverance and equality among team members as I was the only female chef. But not once did I face discrimination upon my gender, I experienced the same behavior, training, trust, workload as any other member, which was so important for me and for which I will be ever grateful. My style of cuisine is influenced with Wasabi’s core values of extreme freshness and seasonality. When the produce would arrive, I would be a child in a candy store, curious and excited. I still credit my smallest habits of handling ingredients to the chefs at Wasabi, whether it was storing or choosing methods of preparation to deliver the best possible results.

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NIYATI RAO

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“My dishes are inspired by my life, memories, stories and people” Your culinary philosophy… Each day in my world I am amazed and inspired, which gives rise to new beliefs that I keep in mind for a better future. I have always believed that food is an extremely powerful medium of communication, it is me having a dialogue with a person through my food that would mentally, physically and emotionally nourish him/her. That is how impactful any meal no matter how simple or how fancy it is should be. Food should be an overall experience not just something cooked, put on a plate which lacks passion, it should mean something which comes with love. Respect for the simplest ingredient is necessary to let it play its role . My dishes are inspired by my life, memories, stories and people. They have a meaning as they relate to each person to trigger their past or events they might familiarize themselves with when they come across it, I remember a certain time, place, person. For example a bedtime story my mother would read me and I would think about how to put that across on a plate. Produce, creativity or technique… For me all three factors are of equal importance. They go hand in hand, with even one of these missing one can never expect good results. It’s of no use to know all the techniques and use them creatively to assemble a dish if the produce is lacking in quality. Good produce is the base of a good dish, even if it is with simple ingredients, it will contribute greatly when applied with correct technique and vision, having said that without proper knowledge of methods and technique, I have seen the best produce getting wasted, with absolutely no chance of innovation. How each ingredient would behave and which method would highlight the potential of the element is the knowledge that is necessary. A good dish is distinguished from a great dish with the amount of creative effort put into it, the vision and meaning put into it, the portrayal which I like to give through my dishes is largely based on my creative outlook.

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“I am still and will always be trying to be a good chef and creating art and making people happy with my food” Your greatest influence in the kitchen… I have to say with the risk of sounding very cliché. Pure love I feel for my art and learning. Chefs who have gone through a tumultuous journey to reach where they are and have changed the way people look at food around the world, this influences me every day to work harder and do things the right way. And the same time I try to influence myself one day at a time with a positive outlook regarding innovation of new dishes as well as spreading knowledge with one another to make it a place of growth through healthy competition. Your earliest food memory, flavors from your childhood… The first food memory that I can recollect is of getting a bucketful of mud crabs at home with my parents and catching them as they were running around in our kitchen, to make my mamma’s signature crab curry, which she only made once a year during monsoon. I absolutely cannot live without my heavily coconut based seafood curries, and a variety of meats and rice dishes, and my grandmothers vegetarian cuisine which is so robust, balanced yet light for one’s system. Pickles that my family makes have special place in my heart, it’s the taste of home, and anywhere I go I will always carry a jar of mango pickle. What keeps you motivated? For me it is only the beginning there is so much to do, a long way to go, thinking about the adventures that lie ahead of me makes me work towards the future with the same spirit I have always had, fulfilling the goals will not only help me but will have some contribution with my efforts in this world pushes me in my lowest times. My desire to work with my mentors, learning from them and channeling their outlook towards food. I am still and will always be trying to be a good chef and creating art and making people happy with my food and that will always enable me to go forward.

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NIYATI RAO

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As a young bright chef, your advice to chefs to are entering the kitchen for the first time… Make a decision of entering the industry with a strong mind and no possibility of change in heart. Your willpower will be tested, it will be tough physically, mentally and emotionally, long hours, high pressure environment, cut throat competition and insane workload. It takes a lifetime of practice and mindboggling hard work, sheer honesty with your work, dedication to see things through the end, imagination and creativity of a child, thirst to learn, sacrifices as you will never live life like a normal person again and most importantly discipline in whatever you do, after all this is the degree of love. It’s a beautiful world of food, the purest in every sense, it grants you the ability so impactful that you get to touch lives, brings you closer to nature and gives you the best sleep having a feeling of exhilaration like a rush that leaves you going back every morning. It’s magical if you are bold enough to venture. There will be failures and disappointments, your dishes might not work out all the times but it’s good to make those mistakes as you learn from them, it is absolutely alright. Keep your mind working and keep yourself well-nourished you will need it. There is a long way to go and “STAY HUNGRY STAY FOOLISH.”

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ALESSANDRO MICELI

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lessandro began cooking at the 14 in order to support his family. He did not want to be dependent on them and from day one, cooking was all about supporting the family. It was his duty to take care of his brother after school, while his mother was still at work. His earliest memory is standing on a wooden stool in front of the stove making tomato sauce for his picky brother. His mother told him to go study, and everyone pushed him to go into hospitality. He started off in the waiter’s section before being pulled aside by the principle and was told that the class was full. This led him to go to the chefs classes. To Alessandro’s surprise he found it very easy. As he had experience cooking at home and he excelled. Working was immediate as his main drive was to support and not be a burden on his family. He found the most exclusive restaurant in his town and went knocking on their door, he was offered to work 6 months for free, in a restaurant 13 kilometres out of town. Worked to the bone but his efforts paid off and was told to work in the pasta section of the kitchen and he ended up making more money than his father. From then on it was working under only the best chefs and restaurants.

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His influence to food is due to his hard work in Italy and a strong identity, as he sees the world becoming more global where one can find Italian delicacies like truffle and burrata everywhere. Alessandro incorporates a lot of Italian products with little contamination in his cuisine. He finds this globalization positive yet negative and feels that as an Italian he is losing this identity. He tries to keep his Italian identity close. Some small things may come into the dishes from different parts of the world but only as extra elements as he always keeps his dishes strongly Italian, but not opposed to adding a foreign element, for example: Izzo on Scallops.


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ALESSANDRO MICELI

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“The one and only ingredient that makes a difference in his life is olive oil” As the executive chef of Roberto’s Dubai, Alessandro’s greatest influencers and mentors are his guests. They give him the motivation to continue and to stay creative. “You need to see the culture and dining personality of the culture you are living in. Don’t forget you are not at home; some people just want simple Italian products and you need to be ready for that”. His cuisine is all about balance as adding different elements, he uses some crunch, or sweet elements to add different texture to each dish and makes sure never to use products that will cover the flavor of the main ingredient on the dish. He was taught to cook with 4 elements – fire (spice), water, earth, and air – to transfer emotion to the guests. “You are not feeding – you are creating emotion– which becomes a strong memory for them. This is Ideal for the guest to experience the dish so well that they can close their eyes and taste it” adds Alessandro. The one and only ingredient that makes a difference in his life is Maestro - olive oil. Its oil first, then tomato, and basil. Every single chef will want to bring the olive oil from their home towns or regions, for his he likes to have oils from different regions. Olive oil is the maestro, a good oil will make any salad amazing and considers it a healthy and a protective medicine. However, he finds that lobster is overrated, “People give it too much importance. A simple fresh pasta with tomato is much better – a healing product even. For the money you spend it’s not worth it. You can serve tomato to everybody but not everyone loves lobsters. They eat it to feel important, this is a limitation. More expensive does not mean better.”

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ALESSANDRO MICELI

“Put all your ingredients in one hand, the less items you use, the better your product” For him produce is the most important as you can create anything but the end creation will not taste as good if the product isn’t top quality. His teacher once told Him, “Put all your ingredients in one hand, the less items you use, the better your product” for example, there are few elements in a pizza, or bruschetta and they universally liked and less is more“. His motivation comes from three elements – the guests, the company, and the staff. If the company believes in you, and gives you creative freedom to turn profit, this is motivating. Guests give him compliments and critique, when they are happy, and he is happy. When his staff works together well, then they are a well-oiled machine in the kitchen. “Always stay on top of all 3 elements, if one doesn’t work you have a problem, remember this is not a machine job, nobody’s perfect as we are human”. Staying on top of cooking trends, Alessandro adds “You need to follow the trends but not lose your identity. I have moved around a lot and I try to learn what is new on the market. I tend to go back to the past though, it makes me feel better. Identity is very important. Nowadays people use delivery often. Families and schools should educate our kids on cooking their homeland dishes. The vegan and vegetarian trends are growing big, chefs need to stay on top of what the public likes and are expected to be ready to serve them as well. I have noticed that people tend to follow trends, not for health benefits but because they are trends”. The biggest issue Alessandro noticed worldwide, is that people are less in touch with their motherland, which in turn makes them strangers to their home cooked meals, passed down from generation. This is a positive and negative issue, on one hand people are growing and experiencing other cultures, on the other hand they are losing their own identity in the process. His advice to young chefs entering the kitchen for the first time… “Determination, hard work, humility. Don’t be a snob, talk to people. Everyone wants to cook a new trend. No one wants to cook a simple dish, like a simple lasagna. This job is very hard. Have humility until the last day. If you love your job the best is yet to come. Your approach is important. Any job is down to the approach. We worked to feed our families, now we work for glory.”

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EVGENY VIKENTEV

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T

o understand Evgeny (Jenya) Vikentev, you must understand his upbringing. Born into communist Leningrad in 1988, at 3 years old the Soviet Union collapsed and the city’s historic name of St Petersburg was returned. This period of adaptation and political change coincided with economic deterioration for the country and food rationing was introduced with humanitarian aid.

EVGENY VIKENTEV

Growing up, his family made do with very limited ingredients, a situation that did not change until the beginning of the new millennia. This meant that from an early age he developed an innate sense of season, respect for nature and treasured the availability of local produce. Against this dramatic backdrop of modern politics and historic architecture, it is unsurprising Jenya became greatly influenced by the arts decide to carve out a career in an industry that afforded him his own creativity. With an innate sense of season and immense respect for nature, he enrolled in culinary college, graduating in 2008. He spent the following five years practicing his craft and honing his skill in the kitchens of some of St Petersburg’s most popular restaurants, including the modernist, EM. He started to understand the progression of gastronomy as a culinary art, exploring the ways culture and social economics all play a part on what is on a plate and how that is presented. Jenya began to take part in annual chef congresses in Moscow and St Petersburg, where he participated as a young chef. Always interested with what was happening gastronomically on the international stage, he spent two summers interning overseas; the first at Michelin starred Il Vescovado in Noli on Italy’s Ligurian Coast and the second under Albert Adria at 41 Degrees in Barcelona.

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EVGENY VIKENTEV

“My philosophy is to give emotions to people, it’s not just about eating because you’re hungry” By 2014, he was beginning to acquire his own culinary style – one that was not typically Russian, but one that was mirroring more what was happening on the global platform. His approach to food was firstly to maximize taste and flavor, but then to present with a more visually artistic sense. That year he joined the team at Wine Rack St Petersburg as Head Chef. The following year, he opened his own restaurant Hamlet & Jacks. His reputation began to grow with his experience and as he became more confident in his own creative style, Jenya swiftly became one of Russia’s most exciting chefs. By the end of 2017, his endless passion and creativity were looking for new outlets. On an earlier visit, he had been inspired by Berlin’s free artistic spirit. With a loose concept of a new restaurant, he started exploring the cities galleries, architecture, street scene and the differing sub cultures in each district and slowly the structure of a new venture began to take hold. In November 2018, he opened Cell on Uhlandstrasse in Charlottenburg. WG catches up with Evgeny Vikentev… Your cuisine is inspired by a combination of fresh and quality ingredients, creative with the finest produce, creating a composition of flavors… It takes a lot of work and a million trials. I could choose the easy way to do something, but first of all it’s not art - it’s just handcraft. And also because I feel the most powerful feelings when I try create unusual combination and they’re a success. It’s like an explosion in my head. My philosophy is to give emotions to people, it’s not just about eating because you’re hungry. How can I give emotions to my guests if I haven’t first felt them myself, everything I create comes from the heart.

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EVGENY VIKENTEV

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PUMPKIN, CHILI, ROSE, BASIL


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You honed your culinary skills with some of the best chefs Giuseppe Richebono and Albert Adrià…

“I make dishes based on ingredients from different parts of my country. Here I have built somewhat of a contemporary Russian gastronomic museum”

Both of those chefs has their own individual style that is completely different and difficult to compare. During my time working as an intern I learned so much about technique and how to master certain skills. I was also able to take a lot of inspiration away from both of these international restaurants for what is possible in my own kitchen. It was eye opening. I think for any progressive chef it is a necessity to work in other chef’s kitchens from time to time - the biggest thing I learnt to do was to expand my mind. Your culinary philosophy, the process of creating a new dish… In Saint-Petersburg, my home town at Hamlet + Jacks I make dishes based on ingredients from different parts of my country. Here I have built somewhat of a contemporary Russian gastronomic “museum”. My culinary philosophy there is to introduce my country’s flavors, combine using old and new techniques for creating totally new dishes. At Cell I’ve taken this a step further. Here I use local ingredients as a base of the dish, but marry it with ingredients from around the world, using a lot of techniques and not typical in European cuisines. I do not abide by one particular cuisine or techniques from one specific area - my focus is on the produce and my aim is to maximize the flavors of it to the best of my ability.

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“I’m a very big fan of art that is a part of my life and most probably one of the biggest influence in my mind” Ingredient inspire you, your favorite ingredient… It is one of the most difficult questions. I really don’t know what my favorite ingredient is. It’s like asking a musician what his favorite note is. I love all of them, expensive or humble. In Cell we use only wild fish, free range animals, and open ground grown vegetables - and to me these are the best products in the world, and I’m happy to have a chance to make matches between them. As far as tricky ingredients go - it’s a journey. Special cooking techniques or equipment you particular enjoy using… Technique it’s just a way to your goal. If you understand what kind of result do you want in the end of your dish yours chosen approach is just the best method to introduce ingredient in this concretely situation. I love charcoal and enjoy working with the centrifuge. Idea of the dish decides what technique I use... not me. Produce, Creativity or Technique… Creativity is necessary for me in dish. Techniques are ways between ingredient and your desired result. The skill to using proper cooking methods is a base for all normal chefs, but unconventional thinking is the thing which makes good chef to grand chef. I truly feel in my element when I am able to create something unusual, new and fun. Your greatest influence in the kitchen… I’m a very big fan of art that is a part of my life and most probably one of the biggest influence in my mind. Traveling too is a very important thing for me - researching new flavors, ingredients and culture. The ambience of the cities where I work often have a strong impact as well.

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CHAR, RUTABAGA, LARDO, MUSTARD


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VENISON, PUMPKIN, BLACK CABBAGE, TANGERINE

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EVGENY VIKENTEV

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MORE THAN HONEY


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“Making people happy, being able to create something new and interesting. I love the process of producing things” Your earliest food memory, flavors from your childhood… Food made by my grandmother and my parents. Typical Russian dishes – pelmeni, borshcht, Russian style crepes. I have very fond memories of eating all of these dishes back home with my family. What keeps you motivated? Making people happy, being able to create something new and interesting. I love the process of producing things. I may be the only Russian chef who has set up a fine dining restaurant outside of his country and for this reason a lot of my guests will judge me on their perception of what Russian food is and what is can mean to be a Russian chef. It is my duty to represent myself and the skills of our great chefs as best I can. In the past years how has cuisine changed around the world? Nowadays food plays just a big a part in the world as every other aspect of culture - art, politics, music etc. It is more important and more highly regarded than ever before I believe. Italian cuisine now is one of the most popular cuisines in the world, often a bestseller in the big gastronomical market. It’s deceptively simple and very understandable. Most probably classical type of Italian cuisine is a good start to visit restaurants or for cooking beginning. I have huge respect for Massimo Bottura, not only for his food but his social work for example.

EGG, CURRY, JERUSALEM ARTICHOKE, OYSTER MUSHROOMS

Being a chef is perceived as a glamorous profession, your advice to chefs entering the kitchen for the first time… Honestly I’ve never thought being a chef is a glamorous profession. It’s a very hard, intense and interesting profession only for strong spirited people. My main advice is to be ready for it, and make sure you understand why you want to be a chef. This will keep you going.

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MATTEO RIZZO

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atteo Rizzo’s culinary inspiration was born from his father Elia opening Il Desco in 1981 and in 1985 it was awarded a first Michelin Star. Growing up inside Il Desco kitchen, Matteo fell in love with cooking, observing his father during the creation of dishes that were a perfect match between tradition and technique. He always envied how naturally his father would approach things. In the kitchen, every ingredient that passed through his hands would acquire a particular flavour and colour, it was amazing for Matteo to watch him touch, taste, smell his creations.

MATTEO RIZZO IL DESCO

As a child, Matteo would go to the kitchens, where everyone would be busy preparing something or other. “I do not know what I found so fascinating, but it was the first place I would go and greet my father as soon as I got home from school. My wish to continue the family tradition was gradually manifesting itself” says Matteo. When he left school, he had a thirst to see the world, to talk another languages, a hunger for independence and a desire to feel at home in every city drove him to look beyond Verona for that part of him that was missing. Rome, Los Angeles, London, Las Vegas. A few years to gain confidence, knowledge, technique, philosophy, language, tenacity and here he is at home again. He brought home the experiences and influences, a new enthusiasm to the tables of Il Desco and into the hearts of his guests. Today, at the helm of Il Desco, he reflects on his experiences and past in his dishes, on his travels and passion. At the same time, he preserves the traditions and culinary patrimony of his region that has always guided the restaurant, teachings he inherited from his father.

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MATTEO RIZZO

“Il Desco - Simplicity, quality ingredients, a return to tradition, and attention to our clientele, in a location of art and design” ELIA AND MATTEO RIZZO

WG catches up with the chef and owner of Il Desco - Matteo Rizzo... Your passion for Italian produce, a perfect culinary approach that blends tradition and innovation – a perfect harmony… I think today people are tired about an “extreme” cuisine, there is the necessity of a return to a simply kind of cuisine in a modern way, respecting our past and our territory. Our cuisine is based on heart and tradition that takes Italian gastronomic culture and transports it through time, rendering it modern. Your culinary philosophy… Intrigue, true intrigue, the type that makes you linger for a minute in silence, isn’t born from a dish’s technical and technological prowess; rather it arises from the exact opposite, like magic, from “minimalism” and from the ease of the dish’s preparation. An honest cuisine that doesn’t seek to shock, but rather strives to revive simplicity which is becoming rarer and rarer to find. Each and every ingredient used, whether modern or traditional, contributes to composing a philosophy of authenticity: an emphasis on abundance and quality, with constant care and attention to the client, but above all a continuous journey of exploration, transformation, and the use of the best ingredients. Our day to day work is based on spontaneity, linearity, and the rule of “never more than three” (the perfect number of combined ingredients).

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IL DESCO


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BUTTER AND ANCHOVIE RAVIOLI, TOMATO BROTH AND BASIL

EGGS ‘IN COCOTTE’

HEN AND MACKEREL ‘SALAD’ WITH HEN AND SMOKED BLACK TEA CONSOMMÉ

FOIE GRAS BON BON

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MATTEO RIZZO

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“The first awards of Il Desco arrived when I was a child and I was proud of my father” Ingredient that inspires you, your favourite ingredients… I’m in love with sweetbreads, but I like offal ingredients anytime. Pasta, rice and vinegar are the favourite ones. I can’t master chestnuts in my dishes because is the unique thing I don’t eat. Produce, Creativity or Technique… I think the success of a restaurant is a match of these three elements, there is no technique without creativity, and there is no creativity without produce. The first Michelin star… The first awards of Il Desco arrived when I was a child and I was proud of my father. Now my personal challenge is to continue to preserve and innovate the heritage of my father from my own point of view. How Cuisine has changed around the world? I think today people are tired about an “extreme” cuisine, there is the necessity of a return to a simply kind of cuisine in a modern way, respecting our past and our territory. Cuisine is changing day by day, we have to stay updated but to preserve our philosophy, beyond temporary trends. Being a chef is perceived as a glamorous profession, your advice to chefs entering the kitchen for the first time… You need a strong motivation and a strict discipline to be a chef. Study, research, experiment, travel, observe and listen to your clients. If you do not know how the world is around you, you cannot offer to your clients what they need and what they ask for. Be responsible for who works with you. Find your own dimension of Cuisine and work for improving it day by day, every day. I suggest to travel and to discover other kinds of cultures, cuisines, habits. Think outside the box, go out from your own point of view, you need to explore what the world can offer. You need to taste other ideas and learn from who has more expertise with humbleness, and then find your own way, being patient and determined. PEANUT ICE-CREAM, SALTED CARAMEL, YOGURT AND WILD BERRIES

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SOKOL NDREKO

SOKOL NDREKO

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SOKOL NDREKO

B

orn in Albania in 1978, Sokol Ndreko’s journey into a career in wine was far from traditional: from helping in his uncle’s bar at age 13, to studying literature and then a move to Europe and work in the construction industry in Athens.

However, it was a longing to be close to his identical twin, that first brought Sokol to Italy in 2001 and would go on to change the trajectory of his career. Working alongside his brother in a small, family-owned restaurant in Milan, he quickly gained experience in both front and back of house, adapting to the needs of the business . The pair continued to work atogether, moving to Osteria del Mare in Forte dei Marmi in 2003. Here Sokol began to understand the importance of the synergy between front and back of house in providing the ultimate dining experience, and he decided to specialise in wine and train as a sommelier. By 2008, he had risen to the position of Head Sommelier with complete authority to purchase wine for the restaurant; the first sommelier to be entrusted with the budget. With a cellar eventually comprising around 1000 bottles, he found himself opening and tasting around 100 per service, allowing him to learn quickly and develop his palate as a sommelier. In 2012, Sokol joined the hotel team at Principe Forte dei Marmi as Maitre Sommelier and, with a shared objective, they began to establish a destination restaurant in its own right. It was at this point Sokol began to change the way he considered wine; focussing more on tradition and researching smaller wineries and producers more in keeping with the dishes of the new restaurant. In 2015, Sokol was awarded Best Sommelier in Italy in the Best Italian Wine Awards and in 2017 awarded Maitre of the Year by Le Guide de L’Espresso. WG catches up with Sokol Ndreko…

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“Our palates have evolved to be much more adventurous than before, with unexpected ingredient combinations” Training your palate, your sense of smell and sense of memory… how did you find your way to become one of the most sought-after sommeliers? In the years I worked at Osteria del Mare, we opened around 100 bottles of wine every night. At the time, there was only one sommelier looking after the wine, and as you can imagine, the wines were not given enough attention. I initially started to study to become a sommelier because I wanted to get a better position in the restaurant, but after I finished studying, I became fascinated by the culture and became driven by the curiosity of the world of wine. I began intensively researching to get all the information I could about wine and service. Sommelier competitions at the Tuscan Wine School also had a significant influence in training my palate. They were really important for me, to test my knowledge and consolidate it. I continue to develop my technique of tasting through analyzing the detailed components of wine. In the same way, I focus my attention on the food served from the kitchen, in order to understand the sensations deriving from each ingredient and the way they are prepared. Every award and recognition is a stimulus and at the same time, a great responsibility. I’m at a wonderful stage of my professional experience, and now we are focused to always do better. How is the art of food and wine pairing evolving? Nowadays, our palates have evolved to be much more adventurous than before, with unexpected ingredient combinations becoming the new norm. As a modern sommelier, this presents us with exciting new challenges and a whole world of creative opportunities, not just with wine but also cocktails and beers, for example.

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SOKOL NDREKO

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The importance and skills required to properly pair food and wine… Pairing food and wine is not simple. The pairing of wine is meant to take the senses on a journey through taste, so it’s not easy to combine the flavors. It’s an innate reaction. Although you can be taught a lot, dedication, passion, love and humility are fundamental.

“The combination of the food and wine is as important as the plate itself. Together, they can create a palate sensation, with the wine acting as an ingredient of the food helping to create balance” Appearance, Aroma, Bouquet, Taste, Aftertaste and Overall Impression are some of the factors considered for a good wine… It is essential to gain a detailed understanding of the ingredients that make up a dish in order to choose the best combination, so collaborating with chef Valentino Cassanelli of Lux Lucis very important. The barman also plays an important part to create something unique, so it’s all about team work. Tell us about your experience and how it helped and influenced you as a sommelier? My experience has enabled me to understand the importance of creating synergy between front and back of house in providing the ultimate dining experience. At Lux Lucis, we give a personal experience to guests, to provoke memories and hidden emotions. What does it take to become a qualified Sommelier? To become a sommelier, everything stems from the concept of hospitality. You can achieve results through study, practice and putting as much passion as possible into it. It’s important to always be curious, to be able to develop as a sommelier. What keeps you motivated? Continuous improvement is the basis of our work, which pushes us beyond our limits everyday, keeping us motivated as a team. What was the feeling to be awarded the Best sommelier in Italy in 2015? When I received the news, I was incredibly moved and felt honored. It was a very exciting experience!

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JULIO LI

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A JULIO LI

HIDDEN AT DN

t a young age Julio was inspired by his parents, whiles patiently watching them cook the family meal. Due to sickness and recovering at home, Julio took the opportunity to start practicing and realized that cooking gave him joy and made him happy, and he decided to go down the culinary path. His passion was been driven by the feeling of freshness and curiosity, which has pushed him to investigate and understand a lot of different things, it is something similar to a never ending thirst, and you simply need more and more. After finishing culinary school, Julia went on to work in several restaurants, learning the basics and got the opportunity to work with Daniel Negreira at Hidden by DN. This is where he learnt all the essentials from Daniel Negreira. “To believe in myself and to prove wrong all those who were doubting me. It’s a blessing that all those endless working hours and efforts today I can enjoy working side by side with Chef Daniel who is running one of the best Spanish restaurants in Asia who has been recommended on the first edition of the prestigious Michelin Guide Taipei 2018 as the only Spanish restaurant to have this recognition in Taiwan. I have known Chef Daniel for almost 6 years. Although he looks fierce, he is a very good and an interesting chef. For me, he is more like my friend and like my brother, we have a good understanding and trust. We will work together or help each other considering only and as ultimate goal how to improve our kitchen� says Julio.

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JULIO LI

“I got the chance to work with many international chefs that also opened my eyes to a whole new dimension of cooking” WG speaks with Julio Li… Working alongside Daniel Negreira at Hidden by DN, how has it helped you to be a chef? The self-confidence Chef Daniel has infused in me which has helped me develop my skills way beyond I could ever imagine. Learning the meaning of dedication, sacrifice and effort, during the pre-opening stage of Marina by DN and Hidden by DN, we both could spend countless days and sleepless nights together to make sure our project was completely ready to open. He taught me how to push myself, that’s the most important lesson for me. Techniques and cooking which of course I learnt a lot from him, but as he always tells me, the most important ingredient or technique is passion and love for what you do, that’s the key to a successful recipe.

THE BEEF BBQ

Who would you say is your mentor? Before I was the sous chef with Chef Daniel, my mentor would be Borja Ordoño of Dos Pebrots, Barcelona, he taught me many things, especially in terms of operation and about how to properly organize a team, gastronomically speaking he taught me how to choose the right ingredients and how to showcase their natural properties, I truly admire his craft and leadership. Chef Daniel Negreira, of course is the second one, I don’t think I really need to extend myself too much, he is the biggest influence so far in my career, also through him I got the chance to work with many international chefs that also opened my eyes to a whole new dimension of cooking.

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HUMMUS RE INVENTED


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ANANAS, PANNA ACIDA, LIQUIRIZIA

CHICKEN, PINES SMOKE, BLACKBERRIES

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JULIO LI

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SPANISH PAELLA 2.0


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Your cuisine and how to achieve a balance on the plate… I always work based on the principle that I share with Chef Daniel, complex simplicity, we try to respect the ingredient at its best season, applying those techniques that will improve it without covering or damaging any of the natural properties and adding a touch of complexity when it comes to presentation or plating. We look for clean and easily recognizable flavors but with elaborated look. Take us through the process of making dish… We visit the fresh markets and harbors as often as we can, that’s the first step, to choose the right ingredients, the second step to discuss with the entire team at Hidden by DN about how to get the best of it. The third step is to test our ideas and present it to the service team to also add their touch, their opinion about potential problems or conflicts with the guest’s expectations, their opinion is as valuable to us as they can see things from a different angle. The fourth step will be to present it to some of our guests/friends to get a real feedback and if everything goes well it becomes part of the menu. Ingredients that inspire you and how do you choose the ingredients… I’m obsessed with insects and it’s potential. Since the first time I saw René Redzepi from Noma using ants on one of his dishes I got intrigued about these kind of ingredient. I traveled to many countries along South East Asia and I could realize how for them insects are just one more part of the diet. No matter what falls in my hands, I will taste it, scorpions, spiders, etc.

A DIFFERENT “ONION SOUP”

The system of our menu at Hidden by DN is based almost on daily products, so we barely have fixed items at it. That allow us to work with the latest wonders that nature can offer, so as Chef Daniel says, almost every day is Christmas, and we get new toys all the time. I particularly enjoy visiting the harbor and chatting with the local fishermen about the new seasonal items while waiting for the boats to return with their daily catch, it’s a moment of excitement watching them unloading the baskets, that’s when I hear Chef Daniel saying “Julio, go for that one” then the fight with other restaurant owners begins to collect only the best for our restaurant. I like Taiwanese vegetables, because Taiwan’s climate is different all the year round and we do have 28 seasons when it comes to vegetables in here. Of course, every season’s vegetables are very different and unique, so we can make good use of the best vegetables of the season on our menus. PATA NEGRA

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JULIO LI

PEAR, TEA, GUAVA, ANISE

Products, Creativity, Technique… None of the above, but a solid teamwork spirit. To me, the kitchen is not a war that you can win by yourself, but with the right team you can conquer the entire world and achieve anything you wish for. Your greatest influence in the kitchen… Besides obviously Chef Daniel, I think the greatest influence could be the seasonal ingredients, the more I work based on this system the more I get to understand nature’s wisdom. What keeps you motivated?

BERRIES

PHOTO © BENJAMIN SCHMUCK

The curiosity, that’s the beauty of this job, to find new ingredients, to meet new chefs, to master new techniques, it’s an endless game. How has cuisines around the world changed over the past few years? I think we are going back to the basics, after a few years on which innovation was everything, now we are trying to rediscover the simple things, a trend that perfectly matches with our cooking philosophy, complex simplicity. Being a chef is considered a fascinating career, your advice to chefs entering the kitchen for the first time… To become a chef sounds easy and fancy, but it’s not, it requires years of efforts and sacrifices on an endless quest for perfection without any guarantee of success, so to those who are thinking of this culinary path, before you do ask yourselves this simple question: “Are you willing to dedicate your entire life to it?”

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PAVLOVA


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SWEET MOMENTS

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COFFEE ABSOLUTE GASTRONOMY BY FLAVEL MONTEIRO IS A CELEBRATION OF COFFEE AND FINE CUISINE. FROM CURITIBA IN BRAZIL TO SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA. INSPIRED BY THE GENIUS OF 40 OF THE WORLD’S CUTTING-EDGE CULINARY PROFESSIONALS.

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