Renowned Italian Maestro, Chef Adriano Baldassarre, recently visited the capital, to curate a new menu for Perbacco at The Lodhi, New Delhi.
Known for his successful career with a number of fine-dining restaurants across Europe and India, Chef Adriano's own restaurant Tordomatto in Rome was awarded a Michelin Star in 2007, making him one of the youngest chefs to win the prestigious recognition.
The new menu introduced by him offers an inventive approach to contemporary Italian dining infused with traditional flavours. Here's what he had to say about it:
Only in your 40s and a Michelin star to your credit, what motivates you? Is it the love for food or ambition?
Adriano Baldassarre: Food is my passion and that's what led me to pursue my ambition. You can win one Michelin Star, or two or three - it doesn't change your cooking. But once you achieve that, you are more conscious that you have a bigger responsibility and have to put in a particular approach into every detail of the dining experience, not just the food.
Italian food is very popular across the globe with every country adding its own twist, are you a Puritan who believes that the cuisine should stay true to its origin or do you enjoy experimentation?
Adriano Baldassarre: I am open to innovation, but greatly respect the traditions of the cuisine and the ingredients that one must use. My belief is - when you're taking your cuisine out into the world, you must translate it purely; you shouldn't dilute it with experimentation. When you try to alter tradition too much, it doesn't work in the long run as you are not being true to the origin and authenticity of the cuisine.
Your love affair with India brings you back time and again, what's your take on Indian cuisine?
Adriano Baldassarre: Having worked in Mumbai and Delhi, I have a fair understanding of Indian cuisine. After my experience here, I have developed a richer flavour portfolio and a bag that has allowed me to expand the ability to use and combine more ingredients among them.
I think Indian cuisine is gaining immense popularity internationally. 10 years back, people probably didn't know much about the food, but now they understand it's much more than just tandoori or spicy. Every day, more and more people around the world are getting to know about the cuisine.
Personally, I love the food here.
Tell us about the new menu and why it's perfect for the new season?
Adriano Baldassarre: With this menu, we have brought forth an array of authentic flavours from Italy in an ingenious manner. The new selection celebrates the season's finest ingredients and produces, creating a melange that is wholesome as well as robust and hearty.
What is your favourite dish on the menu?
Adriano Baldassarre: Mushroom, Thyme, Almond and Black Garlic