When you have great raw materials, you don’t need to alter the ingredients. You just need to know how to enhance them.
– Chef Roberto Toro
How would you describe your culinary philosophy?
My philosophy and art of cooking are influenced by my childhood memories and the time I spent in the kitchen with my mother and other family members. When I create dishes, I like to bring back the colours, scents, and tastes of my early years while also showcasing my strong connection with the enogastronomic culture of southern Italy. This culture is known for its use of authentic raw materials and its focus on creating moments of conviviality.
Whom would you like to share your dream dinner with and why?
I would like to treat my wife to a dream dinner as a way of expressing my gratitude for her unwavering support throughout my career. Achieving the Michelin Star milestone was made possible, in part, thanks to her. She is the mother of my children and deserves to be celebrated.
How would you define your cooking style?
Contemporary with a nod to tradition as my main inspiration, I revisit different culinary expressions to include many personal and modern interpretations to rediscover Sicilian cuisine through its simplicity. The menu of our Michelin-starred restaurant, Otto Geleng, reflects my personal history with Sicily, including many interpretations of time-honoured favourites.
What was the most memorable meal you either cooked or ate?
One of the most memorable meals I have ever eaten is spaghetti al pomodoro. It is a simple yet complete dish that encompasses all the elements of the Mediterranean diet. Growing up in a family of farmers, everything we ate was homegrown, from the tomatoes to the bread. We enjoyed fresh and nutritious food throughout the year, and I have vivid memories of the times when my mother would prepare the bread dough at home daily, as well as the process of making tomato sauce in August. Every summer, my family and I would gather on the terrace to participate in its preparation, followed by a delicious homemade pasta with fresh tomato and basil. These moments were unforgettable and filled with warmth and closeness.
How does the location of your restaurant inspire your cooking?
As I take a moment to appreciate the stunning view of the Ionian coast in Sicily, I feel incredibly inspired when it comes to cooking. Our Literary terrace offers a breath-taking view, and when I shift my gaze, I can see the magnificent Etna Volcano, which is a true treasure trove of resources. From delectable porcini mushrooms to exquisite wines, Etna provides us with unparalleled raw materials. This stunning view of the sea and mountains constantly motivates me to aim higher. In Sicily, the quality of vegetables, seafood, and meat is exceptional, and it's up to us to bring out their unique flavours. Our sun-drenched region offers rare ingredients that cannot be found anywhere else in the world, and it is our responsibility to showcase them.
What makes you a Krug Lover?
What motivates me the most in the kitchen is my desire to experiment with new culinary combinations and achieve excellence. With the assistance of our sommelier, Veronica Bonelli, I enjoy pairing my dishes with Krug as it brings out the flavour in an exceptional way.
Why do you love Krug?
When I create recipes for Krug Grande Cuvée, I have the freedom to experiment with unexpected pairings and showcase the Champagne’s versatility. Even with simple ingredients like onion and lemon, Krug Grande Cuvée or Krug Rosé elevate the flavours to new heights. I appreciate how the House celebrates the unique qualities of different terroirs and offers opportunities to learn about local traditions and flavours.