'The markets give a sense of real India'

'The markets give a sense of real India'

Vittorio Greco and wife Barbara, who hail from Tuscany, Italy, have lived as expatriates in Australia but their stay in India has been a different joyride altogether.

Vittorio, who works with ITC Gardenia as the Italian Master Chef, says that his personal and culinary journey in the City has been interesting and he has been learning something new every day.

He had worked with Indians during his nine-year-stay in Australia and says it was nice to come to India. Though, it’s his first time in India, he wasn’t surprised.

“I was ready to experiment and try something new and different. The initial idea
was to spend a few weeks here and see how it goes. It has been more than two years now,” he says with a smile.

Vittorio says that he has been lucky since working with the ITC group has been easy and the transition was smooth. “I have a lot of friends at work. The energy is amazing with a lot of youngsters working here, which makes it more interesting.”

He points out that people at work are always motivated and ready to learn new things.

“I feel younger when I’m around them and I love it.” Being an expatriate, he has received assistance whenever required. “I never had any issues,” he says. He and Barbara agree that it hasn’t been hard to gel with the people and the culture.

“My philosophy is simple: I’m too old to judge. In India, there is a way to go about things and I’ve learnt to work around that. One needs to be patient here, and I am patient.

When it’s not your country, you have to adjust and adapt. Keep things simple and everything will work,” says the culinary expert.

“There’s nothing that can beat the weather,” say the couple adding that  one gets to appreciate the City more when one is elsewhere in India. “I went to Kolkata for work and that’s when I stopped complaining even about the traffic of Bengaluru. Nowadays, I have to travel to Chennai frequently, and it makes me feel better about this city,” adds Vittorio.
Not being able to drive around was one of the biggest adjustments the couple had to make. Another concern for them is that this city does not have many pet-friendly places. “We have a dog and we don’t find the City dog-friendly.”

Vittorio, who has been to Delhi and Goa, says, “I like to explore the City and we have been to places of historical interest like the Tipu’s Palace and parks and gardens like Lalbagh and Cubbon Park.” The couple loves riding in autorickshaws and going to Commercial Street, Russel Market and Johnson Market. “The markets give a sense of real India. I love going to vegetable markets,” says Vittorio.

Safety hasn’t been a concern for them. “One also has to know how to go about things. If you’re going to places like Commercial Street, its always best to not wear fancy things like gold. Keep it simple and you won’t have any problems,” he says.

Vittorio says that he has seen a lot of change in the City from the time he has been here.

“I used to live in HSR Layout earlier and now I stay in the central part of the City. Recently, when I went back to HSR area and I found things different and it’s fascinating,” he says.

Being in the food business, Vittorio loves experimenting with Indian food. “You just can’t stop experimenting with cuisine. Every day is a new day.” He says that during his stay in Australia, though he had been to many Indian restaurants, he found the food “very different” from what he saw here. “Indian food there was twisted according to their palate.”

“For us Italians, there is no difference between vegetarian and non-vegetarian cuisine. A nice salad is just another dish,” he says.

The couple finds the festivals here very interesting. “My favourite is ‘Deepavali’. I try to keep up with all the festivals. But, I have to say that the Indian calendar just doesn’t have enough dates for the festivals here. Our holidays and festivals are mostly fixed days,” Vittorio sums up laughing.

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