World Chefs: Dacasto takes Italian home cooking to new level in Hong Kong

Tue Nov 6, 2012 11:03am EST
 
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By Cathy Yang

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Italian Chef Giuliani Dacasto has done much traveling to perfect his cuisine, moving from the three Michelin-starred Le Calandre to Gordon Ramsay's The Boxwood Café and 2 Venti in London.

But it was right in his family kitchen in Turin, Italy that he first learned all the tricks of the trade - and it is in Hong Kong that he plans to showcase his innovative Italian cuisine in a city with one of the densest clusters of Michelin-starred restaurants in the world.

Reuters caught up with the 33-year-old at the restaurant Aqua Roma in Hong Kong's Tsim Sha Tsui. Aqua Roma was awarded The "Ospitalita Italiana" Award for Best Italian Restaurant in Hong Kong.

Q: How did you get started in cooking?

A: "My adventure with cooking started when I was nine years old when I began cooking for my family every evening, seeing as my mother was too busy working. From the first moment I spent in the kitchen, I knew this was something I wanted to do for the rest of my life, and that this was something I could be really great at. My first steps in the art of cooking was taught to me by my grandmother, and she had a significant influence on my dishes at the beginning of my career."

Q: Name two dishes on your menu that excite you most, and why?

A: "Agnolotti, or veal shank ravioli, always excites me. This is a dish that was eaten on Christmas Day every year for generations in my family. I still remember my grandmother and my mother standing in the kitchen together, preparing the dish and teaching it to me step by step. The second dish on my menu which has a particular resonance would definitely be oven roasted guinea fowl filled with Boston lobster. It is a particularly difficult dish to find on the menu in most Italian restaurants. For me, however, the connection between game and seafood has always been fascinating in terms of taste and texture."

A: How did you innovate on the agnolotti served by grandma?   Continued...

 
Italian chef Giuliano Dacasto poses at Aqua Roma restaurant in Hong Kong in this undated handout photo. Dacasto has done much traveling to perfect his cuisine, moving from the three Michelin-starred Le Calandre to Gordon Ramsay's The Boxwood Cafe and 2 Venti in London. But it was right in his family kitchen in Turin, Italy that he first learned all the tricks of the trade - and it is in Hong Kong where he plans to showcase his innovative Italian cuisine in a city with one of the densest clusters of Michelin-starred restaurants in the world. REUTERS/Aqua Restaurant Group Handout