What do you do and how did you get into the industry?
I am an Italian Chef renowned for authentic Italian cuisine, and my risottos especially. My career started out of necessity, actually – my dear mother was not the greatest cook (I love you dearly, mama!), and I was the one who chose to prepare our family meals! I went to culinary school and started as a Commis de Cuisine after graduating and worked my way up.
Share with us an interesting story from behind the scenes.
Well, there was once when I was in the culinary team who cooked for the Raduno Degli Alpini (a gathering of army veterans in Italy). Part of the agenda was to showcase one of the old war trucks just for nostalgia’s sake. Right before that, we noticed one of our fellow chef was missing – we simply could not find him anywhere! We just relaxed as it was a celebratory event and prepared the food as usual. When the war truck was driven onto the stage, we found our dear chef… He was sitting on top of the truck with a bottle of wine and a glass in his hands! Just casually drinking and smiling before he lay down and slept like a baby. We had to carry him off the truck after that!
What’s the best/ worst part of your job?
The best part is definitely the freedom of creativity that I have, to create new combinations of authentic flavours. I dislike monotony in the kitchen very much, so I appreciate that I am able to express myself through my cooking.
The worst part would probably be that as a chef, I strive to deliver really authentic Italian flavours in my cooking, but at the same time I have to try to please the guests. It is not possible to make everybody happy, there have even been times where the guest asked me to modify the dish to suit their preferred flavours, even though that would make the dish not originally Italian anymore. Over the years, I have decided to just concentrate on producing the highest quality, authentic Italian dishes.
What’s your favourite meal/ drink in Favola?
Personally, I love my own risotto! The Porcini Mushroom Risotto with a pan-seared escalope of foie gras, together with a glass (or two) of Pinot Grigio Castello Banfi S. Angelo. Lovely.
The perfect day off would be…
…if I were back at my family home in Sardinia. We have a nice outdoor space around our house where I love to ride our horses.
Here in Kuala Lumpur, I enjoy meeting with friends over dinner – we like to take turns hosting dinner gatherings at each of our houses. Besides that, sometimes I run at the gym, or go on a long drive, like to Melaka. I love driving.
A day in the life of a chef is…
Very interesting! – part crazy, happy, full of discovery and communication.
What’s something you’d like guests to know about Favola?
Be assured that our food is indeed authentically Italian, coming from me! As I am new here (since August 2015), we are revamping the existing Favola menu with many new dishes. The new menu will be available in October, featuring a few Sardinian dishes (I was raised in Sardinia and my cooking is heavily influenced by that) such as Sardinian Mixed Seafood ‘Pingiadedda’ and Fregula, and Sardinian Malloreddus Pasta. I am also very honoured to present the Italian Tiramisu 1956 with indeed a recipe from 1956. It was shared with me by Chef Mauro Ernesto, one of the first chefs in Italy to be awarded a Michelin star. I was very lucky to have him as my mentor for several amazing years.
What’s your favourite (s) food and wine pairing?
A good glass of red wine with salami, and pane carasau (a traditional flatbread from Sardinia).
What’s your view on the KL food scene?
There are lots of choices! Such a diverse variety of cuisine to choose from and explore just in one city. For me I love yong tau foo, roti canai, and mee kari!
What’s in store for you in the upcoming months?
The next few months are very exciting for me and the Favola team! As mentioned, we will be revamping the menu to add many new dishes for each section (appetisers, mains, desserts).
We will also be launching the Mozza Bar menu in October – a selection of antipasti dishes for the curious Italian cuisine seekers!
In November, look forward to the Advanced Artisan Pasta Class at Favola – I am very excited for this one. The classes will start from 10am – 12.30pm on Saturdays and includes a demonstration of making fresh pasta dough, followed by a ‘hands-on’ session for the students.
During the class we will cut, chop and cook our wonderful gourmet sauces using the best products available on the market and the finest imported products. Once the hard work is done, it’ s time to pop some bottles of wine and cook our various pastas “al dente” ready to be served at the chef’s table. Complimentary Prosecco and fine canapés will be served throughout as well.