Italian food is a crowd favourite. It’s one of the most versatile cuisines in existence and can be cooked in a multitude of ways. Here we spoke with one of Italy’s best addition to it’s ever growing food lovers; Chef Mauro Ferrari. He’s in Chennai for the coming year and will be staying with Hyatt Regency Hotel, working at Focaccia (this restaurant is part of Hyatt Regency Chennai.)
He’s more than just a chef! He’s a sommelier and loves wine, an entrepreneur, and brand ambassador, with so much more new insight to share about food and his passion for the same!
Here, he shares the details of his first love; Milan, the Italian cuisine, and everything in between that come with his 32 years of food experience!
- Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family
I was born in Sorrano, Italy and started work in 1982 spanning across Italy, France, Switzerland, and Spain. I opened 2 restaurants in Italy as well; one in Milan and the other in Tuscany region. I have two boys of eighteen years of age who are studying in hotel school and they too want to be chefs. My family also loves everything I cook! When I’m not at work, I like to cook spaghetti with pesto sauce, and read philosophy books.
- What do you like about India? And Chennai in particular?
I came to Chennai as this is my next stop after Oman. And I love the city! I love seafood and staying in a coastal city like Chennai, I can get really good seafood. It helps in my cooking as well. I like to use only fresh ingredients because without it the food doesn’t come out good. I really like Mumbai, Delhi, and Calcutta. And I absolutely love the food here! But sometimes it’s very spicy for me. Panner tikka and chicken tikka is amazing but the biryani is the best. I think it’s very important to try out different food and compare it.
- What is your favourite cuisine? How do you feel about fusion?
I love Italian food more than anything else! But Japanese and Chinese is also my favourite. But I prefer only original, authentic recipe. I do not like fusion very much. I think one should follow the original recipe. Change is ok but try to make the original before you want to change it. The authenticity is lost and you don’t know what you’ll miss. I like to keep the food I serve to be authentic.
- So you offer only authentic Italian food at II Grande Pranzo?
Yes, only the authentic one. This is such a big hit with everyone and I’m getting lots of positive feedback. I’m happy that everyone loves the food. We have a different menu every week and because it’s the only Saturday brunch in Chennai, we have lots of people coming in and loving the food. We have different salads, chicken and vegetarian, Caprese salad, and a very different style of the classic Italian pizza. We even make the pasta fresh and with many different sauces like bolognese.
There are desserts such as the classic panna cotta that everyone loves, and the tiramisu.
- What do you think makes Italian food so different?
It is very very fresh. I feel that if you do not use fresh ingredients the food will not be good. I had some difficulty getting fresh materials for the food here in Chennai, but I have found some very good places. The best part about Italian food is that it is so simple with only four-fold ingredients. We use so many different herbs and seasonings and that makes it different. Tomatoes and parmesan are used in almost every Italian meal and you can cook the same food with so many different versions because each place in Italy will make it with a different style. In India, the original flavour is not there in the Italian food and I want to get that original flavour in the food I serve here.
He’s here at Focaccia and from 15th July its a new menu at Focaccia. After seeing what he has to offer, you definitely don’t wanna miss that!