If you do it with passion … will get a lot in return.
How has the way that you cook changed as your career has progressed?
I stepped into a professional kitchen for the first time at the age of 13, and have experienced all kinds of environments since, through a journey around the world. For most of my career, I have been cooking Italian food, which is often seen as casual or approachable, but for the last six years, I have shifted my focus to fine dining. My flavours began to change with some light Asian influence. I believe that my style will continue to evolve over the years.
Where and how do you find inspiration for your work?
Anywhere, really. It could be from a flavour that triggered a forgotten memory or from the scenery during vacation. It is a very demanding and time-consuming lifestyle, and it takes a lot from you, but if you do it with passion, you will get a lot in return.
Did you grow up eating mushrooms?
I was blessed to grow up in a land with a great variety of products, including mushrooms. I fondly remember going mushroom hunting with a neighbour when I was about 10 years old and returning home with bag full of galletti (chanterelles) ready to jump into the pan.
Do you see mushrooms as a humble ingredient?
It can be. This depends on the variety and type. From where I come from, we always look at mushrooms as a precious ingredient, it is easily accessible, but very much celebrated.
If you could pick only one mushroom for cooking and eating in the future, which would it be and why?
Well that’s easy! Fresh Porcini mushrooms (Ceps) for sure. To me, they taste like home.
What’s the secret to getting the most flavour out of a mushroom?
It depends a lot what are you using it for. Generally speaking, pan-searing mushrooms is the most ideal to get the best caramelised taste. However, if we are looking at the flavour of mushrooms in its purest form, I like to apply the method called cryo-filtering – to retrieve a clear consommé, or to dehydrate mushrooms into chips – and enjoy crispy mushrooms that retain their original, raw flavour.
When you’re cooking mushrooms at home for yourself or friends, how do you like to prepare them?
Sautéed in olive oil with some salted anchovies, capers, green olives (with pit), parsley, and a splash of Pinot grigio wine. Also perfect with dried stockfish, like what Grandma used to make.
Can you describe a memorable experience involving Krug?
It would have to be our wedding anniversary, which we celebrated with a Krug pairing menu by Julian Roye.
What is the dish you have paired with Krug Grande Cuvée?
Memorie di Sottobosco, Life on a Bark
Main ingredients: Chanterelles, Porcini, Mount blanc mushrooms, Blue foot mushrooms, Glutinous rice bark, King oyster mushrooms
Could you please explain the inspiration behind the dish?
Memorie di Sottobosco translates to memories of undergrowth. Sottobosco in Italian means everything that grows from the forest floor to the height of the short bushes. I often enjoy re-creating small sceneries in my dishes. My approach to the ‘Life on a Bark’ puts the focal point on the mushrooms. In this case, we used the Porcini to create rice porcini bark together with some chanterelles for the paste of the Porcini Mount Blanc (inspired by the plating of the classic French dessert). My experience in France inspired the addition of the Blue foot mushrooms, as I tasted them for the first time during my training in Paris. Last but not least, I would add a touch our beloved Singapore mushrooms with locally grown King oyster mushroom chips: a translation of east meets west.
Why does it pair so well with Krug Grande Cuvée?
The flavourful umami of the Porcini, paired with the crunch of the rice bark is the perfect match for the strong but elegant complexity of Krug Grande Cuvée.