The kitchens of Bucharest’s restaurants harbor a number of internationally renowned foreign chefs. Romania-Insider.com talked to expat chefs about work, food and life in Romania’s capital – check this section as more will follow in the coming days.
Federico Carsili, Chef @ Cucina, JW Marriott
When did you come to Romania? Working with JW Marriott in Bucharest brought me to Romania for the first time. I've only been here since April 2011.
What brought you here in the first place? The job opportunity - being a Chef in Cucina restaurant.
What is your favorite place in Romania? I don’t know Romania that well yet, but I managed to see a bit of Bucharest and my two favorite places at this point are the old city center and Herastrau park, where I go jogging as often as I can! I'm sure that in time I’ll get to know more about the city and the country and I’ll have more insights to share.
What is your favorite Romanian food? Well, I know by now mititei and sarmale, but I must say that it's not quite my style - I prefer lighter dishes, more to like my home cooking. I love the Mediterranean's simple and basic flavors.
What is the one food you love to cook? My main interests in cooking are innovation and creation, but if we're talking about traditional dishes, I like to prepare primi piatti and desserts. I also like to play around a bit and put a little spin on the traditional recipes like lasagna or risotto.
How did you learn how to cook? In school. I got started in cooking at school, back in Italy.
What sort of recipes sell better in Romania, from your experience? From what I’ve seen so far, Romanian people seem to appreciate better traditional food and relatively simple recipes. What is more important is that the ingredients are fresh and of excellent quality.
What is the largest number of people you ever cooked for? 220 people, at a wedding last year, in Umbria
What was the biggest kitchen ‘disaster’ in your career? How did you solve it? No major disasters to report, the most notable date from my school years, at pastry training - I was supposed to supervise a whole trolley of mini pizzas, about 200 of them. I left them in the oven too long and they were burnt to a crisp. No way to save the situation, we had to do them all over again.
Who is your favorite Chef (in the world)? Gualtiero Marhesi and Ferran Adria.
How many people currently work in your kitchen? Seven
What is the first thing you usually do in the kitchen at the beginning of the day? Administrative duties, briefing the staff, reviewing the events of the day and comments and feedback from the guests we had in the previous day.
Where in Romania have you eaten the best Romanian food? Of the places I know so far, I have two favorite in the city, the first being Cucina (with all objectivity!!!). The second is Isoletta in Herastrau.
Interview by Corina Saceanu, [email protected]
(photo source: JW Mariott)