The Due Torri Hotel executive chef is the conductor who guides his team in a symphony of traditional and innovative flavours with pauses for improvisation. In an international, hotel like the Due Torri, in fact, guests frequently have special requests to make. Let’s find out more about his work from the man himself.
1. Do you remember your first day working at the Due Torri Hotel?
I had already worked at the Due Torri Hotel restaurant a few years before, but I regard May 2 2019 as the day I really started. That was when I came in as the executive chef. It was a very stimulating moment for me because I had just enjoyed an experience in an important restaurant in Verona, in an environment that I was familiar with. I had now learned new skills and I had the opportunity straightaway to develop teamwork in the kitchen and design the menu with much more knowledge under my belt.
2. What was the most bizarre or unusual culinary request you’ve ever had to meet?
To tell the truth, bizarre requests are our daily bread! It’s because the market today, and our market in particular, demands personalisation, attention to detail, speed and quick-wittedness.
I always say that a menu is a like a bespoke suit. Depending on the events scheduled at the hotel, it’s normal every day to receive a dozen or so requests for variations to the dishes on the menu or for light lunches, say.
We are able to provide tasty food for every kind of diet. Take the distinctive fruitarian and raw foodism diets, for example. In both cases we serve interesting dishes thanks to our vast selection of fruit and vegetables. Like a large house, our hotel is equipped to meet all our clients’ desires.
3. In your opinion, which dish captures the soul of the Due Torri, and why?
One of the ingredients I’m most fond of is the Mediterranean red prawn which we have delivered from Porto Santo Spirito in Puglia. It’s the centrepiece of one of our crudité platters.
Generally speaking, attractive plating – often inspired by the Bauhaus school and contemporary art – is a characteristic of our food, precisely because our hotel has a close connection with the world of art.
As for the terrace menu, the most popular dishes are the raw Friesian beef, the tartare of amberjack and the guinea fowl cooked at low temperature, classics that stay on the menu over long periods of time.
I don’t generally like changing the menu too often. The ideal thing for me is for clients to go home with a fond memory of one of our dishes and sit down at the restaurant the next time they come longing to eat it again.
4. You must travel sometimes yourself. What is the first thing you notice when you eat in a hotel restaurant elsewhere?
Personally, I’m sorry to say that I don’t have a great deal of time to travel and try new restaurants. But when I do get away, I can’t help paying attention to the atmosphere: the places I enjoy are the ones in which you can sit back and enjoy the meal without adopting the approach of a restaurant critic.
5. Catering professionals do a very challenging, tough job that often requires a great deal of physical and mental effort. What’s your typical day and how do you cope with the busiest moments?
A cook’s life is a mirror of that of others. We work the most precisely when everyone else are enjoying themselves and chilling. This is why the work of a cook is possible only if it is driven by great passion and dedication to the world of food. Remember that we sometimes find ourselves working up to 14 hours a day in the high season.
Here in the hotel, for example, the alarm clock goes off at five in the morning for the cooks who prepare the breakfasts. They work through until 10.30am, when they clear the buffet and start prepping for lunch. Then it’s time to contact suppliers and put orders in, while in the meantime it’s necessary check the kitchen to see if there’s any maintenance work to be done.
At midday we start receiving the first orders from the terrace. At lunchtime we have a light menu, which we go on serving until dinnertime. In the afternoon, we go on prepping and providing back-up for aperitifs. Occasionally we also have to meet requests for room service. Prepping and plating for dinner starts at 6.30pm during the opera season at the Arena di Verona and at 7pm on normal days, and goes on until 10.30pm.
6. What could you never do without in your kitchen? A flavour, an ingredient, a specific utensil …
One utensil I could never do without is the Bimby, which is commonly used in domestic kitchens but is also a big help in professional ones too. It’s a kitchen robot with which it’s possible to get through a lot of work and, what’s even more interesting, its precise portion control function makes it possible to avoid wasting food.