Strengthening the Italian connect

In transit

Strengthening the Italian connect

Hailing from Calabria, chef Luigi Ferraro enjoys discovering new things to experiment with and changing the recipe according to his taste.

With simplicity and creativity as the hallmarks of his cooking, he is hosting ‘Capri to Calabria’, a delightful southern Italian food festival at Shangri-La Hotel, Bengaluru. The award-winning chef has planned a delicious spread of both contemporary and rustic Italian cuisine for the guests to enjoy.

     A resident of New Delhi, he discovered his love for this country after just a short stay. He says, “I’ve been in India for about a year and it’s been so wonderful. I love everything about the country and the food culture here is just marvellous. There’s so much to learn and explore.”

    “When it comes to Indian cuisine, I love ‘samosas’,” he adds. Over the years, he has travelled around the globe and worked in many places which, he says, has helped broaden his way of thinking about food.

     “I discovered my love for cooking by watching my mother and grandmother. I studied at the Hotel School of Castrovillari and worked in restaurants and hotels to gain experience. After my high school diploma, I had my first international experience in Egypt. That made me discover other traditions and realise how important it is to work in international kitchens,” he adds. This was followed by terms at London, Germany, Bangkok, New York, Georgetown, Russia, Paris, Moscow and now India.

Being the kind of person who is fascinated by things around him, Luigi blends cultures into his preparations with a unique touch. He also impresses one with his style of plating. It is simple and elegant but also extravagant and sophisticated. He says, “As part of the food festival, I’ve introduced a few dishes that are celebrated in Calabria. We love our pasta, cheese, meats and seafood. There’s a mix of everything and it’s great to see that many are enjoying it.”

     At the festival, one can enjoy antipasti like ‘forest mushrooms tortino with burrata sauce’, primi piatti like ‘fagottini with burrata and lobster, green peas and amalfi lemon’, secondi piatti like ‘sea bass with saffron potatoes, amalfi lemon and black olives’ and dolci like ‘tiramisu parfait’ and ‘citrus tart cream and nuts’.

Even though there are many takers for Italian cuisine in the city, the excess flour and cheese in these preparations are deemed as  unhealthy by some.

“Yes, they aren’t the best option for everyday consumption but then again, isn’t everything else we eat regularly not good for us? But there are certain alternatives that are being added in recipes today to cater to the health conscious. However,  changing the recipe means that the dish is not authentic anymore. Having said that, it is good that many are aware of what they want to have,” Luigi says.The ‘Capri to Calabria’ festival is on until March 24 at Shangri-La Hotel, Bengaluru.

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