MEET THE CHEF
Have you always wanted to ask your favorite chef what they love to eat when they’re at home? Or perhaps what they think the next big food or dining trend will be? Look no further than this exclusive series of chef interviews by JustLuxe.
Chef Fulvio Pierangelini is of Roman origin, and has been called a 'food whisperer' due to his uncanny way of pulling magic from the simplest ingredients. By combining familiar ingredients, like seafood and vegetables, he shows the world that Michelin-starred food need not be fussy or difficult. More recently he has joined with Rocco Forte Hotels to direct operations at the Jardin de Russie (Rome) and L’Incontro (Florence) restaurants, transforming them into popular places for locals and visitors to visit. He's also considered to be the mastermind behind Gambero Rosso in Livorno, which was thought to be Italy's most popular restaurant when it closed in 2009.
Restaurant: Il Gambero Rosso in San Vincenzo
Location: Livorno, Italy
Type of Cuisine: Italian
Accolades: Widely known as the 'Food Whisperer'
JustLuxe: At what point in your life did you decide to become a chef? What influenced you to do so?
Pierangelini: I am not a Chef, I am a cook. Being a cook is to me a constant demonstration, a behaviour in every action of life be that in practice, with ingredients and a pan in the hand, or in intellectual, ethical or moral terms. The need to cook means the need to translate emotions, intuitions and reflections.
Cooking to me is a necessity.
JustLuxe: If you could give a word of advice to an aspiring chef, what would you say?
Pierangelini: To know and therefore choose first choice products. Respect and good sense.
JustLuxe: Where do you get inspiration for the design of your dishes and plating?
Pierangelini: My inspirations are always inner ones. They may spring from a visit to the market or from a poppy field. They surely are the result of years of study and a life spent in the kitchen, the whole supported by an impeccable technique.
JustLuxe: What do you predict as the next big trend in cooking and/or the restaurant industry?
Pierangelini: I have never followed trends but emotions and needs. Obviously, working for RFH [Rocco Forte Hotels] I must pay attention to more simple requirements for a daily gastronomy, starting therefore, with an extreme selection of first choice products with the intent of elaborating recipes which can easily be repeated. All of our hotels are open 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. This means that the spaghetti with tomato sauce dish will be prepared by 3 different people during those 24 hours. I hate talking about standardization but a certain kind of executive strictness is surely needed.
JustLuxe: Which season do you look forward to the most for its ingredients?
Pierangelini: Autumn and Winter
JustLuxe: What places or cities in the world have influenced your cooking the most?
Pierangelini: Wherever I cook in the world, I rely on the local markets in order to get into the mood of the place. The only thing I always carry with me is my very own extra-virgin olive oil.
JustLuxe: In your opinion, what innovation has recently influenced the restaurant industry in a significant way?
Pierangelini: Restaurant industry is not a subject which interests me. A restaurant is passion, love, sacrifice, respect, generosity, certainly not industry
JustLuxe: Your cuisine is considered by many to be the embodiment of sex appeal; why do you think that is?
Pierangelini: Because falling in love is between myself and the ingredients I use. I treat them with care, because I caress tomatoes and perhaps this love of mine is conveyed in all of my dishes.
JustLuxe: Is there a specific dish that made you famous? Is there a different dish of yours that you feel is actually superior?
Pierangelini: The dish which made me famous is called “Passatina di Ceci e Gamberi”.
This dish is one of the most reproduced in the world and it also perhaps the most “humble” dish but at the time (25 years ago) it represented a change – only 3 ingredients and a drizzle of olive oil which later became my name.
Paul Bocuse used to say that in a cook’s career, a dish is already a successful result.
Brillot-Savarin asserted that the creation of a new dish is more important than the discovery of a new star.
I consider myself lucky to have created a lot of dishes which have become part of the history of cooking thanks to my commitment but more so to the talent I have been given.
I believe myself to be a forerunner in the extreme attention I place to first choice products, not only because I have found extraordinary products on the market but because I personally stimulate farmers, breeders and artisans to produce for me, with my suggestions, exceptional ingredients and products to cook.