Blog Event | David Rocco, an Italian with a disarming smile. Of course he’s a chef too!

“I’m not a chef, I’m Italian.”
David Rocco

With Chef David Rocco, ITC Maurya, New DelhiHe can kill with his eyes, he can wound with his smile … David Rocco! Sigh!! An Italian with a disarming smile, words that roll off his tongue with an accent you want to hang on to, energetic, animated, full of life and fun! Such a good sport!! This Italian food guru was at the mercy of a bunch of women food bloggers to “Celebrate the Exquisite Flavors of Italy at ITC Maurya“. Or maybe, we were at his mercy!! 

With Chef David Rocco, ITC Maurya, New Delhi It was an afternoon well spent at the rustic yet elegant West View, ITC Maurya, New Delhi, in animated food discussion. Indian food, Italian cusine, the cultures, the similarities yet the differences and Davids’ India experience. The charmer that he is, there wasnt a moment left silent, a table of 9 women geared up to quiz the Italian chef.

With Chef David Rocco, ITC Maurya, New Delhi Keeping him company was affable ITC Executive Chef Manisha Bhasin who I have been fortunate to meet at the Singapore Pop Up and at the Ozzie  Master Chefs meet up. David is in India for a series called Dolce India.

Chef David Rocco, ITC Maurya, New Delhi 4From the sambhar and dals that he experienced down south, to the Mcdonalds pit stop driving in Maharashtra, from olive oil to mustard oil, from complicated Indian dishes to simple four ingredient Italian meals, we had a banter going. The man’s Italian! That says enough for his style of cooking, his passion for food, his love for fresh produce … and above all his love for his family! His mantra is simple. Make cooking fun! He wants to bring food education back to the table.

With Chef David Rocco, ITC Maurya, New Delhi David wears many hats – actor, director, chef, father, son. A charmer through & through! He learnt cooking from his mother, and his kids have picked it up from him. How inspiring that at 5 years old, his little twin girls can already stir up a mean risotto! Simple rustic meals, no fancy equipment and ingredients, fresh seasonal flavours, David’s an inspiration to home cooks around the globe. You can catch him on TV – “David Rocco’s Dolce Vita” and “David Rocco’s Amalfi Getaway.” {they air in india too}

With Chef David Rocco, ITC Maurya, New Delhi He steers clear of controversial questions {like the pomace oil vs olive oil type}, considers Indian cuisine quite complicated and involved, yet loves the vastness of our cuisine with infinite regional variations. At a culinary event with ITC chefs in Mumbai, the challenge was to create signature dishes using similar ingredients.  While the ITC chefs were still listing ingredients for ‘galaouti kebabs’, our man here was done in a heartbeat stirring up meatballs using four standard ingredients!

With Chef David Rocco, ITC Maurya, New Delhi We were deep in culinary banter as the the first course made an appearance. The meal consisted of David recipes. Primo! Penne com Pomodori e Melanzane, a neapolitan style pasta with eggplant & mozzarella sauce. It was fresh, bursting with simple flavours and quite addictive. Mine didn’t seem to have eggplants in it, or so I thought. David talked us through the recipe as we ate. Did I tell you that the bread served was excellent? It was indeed! Nice selection and very addictive.

With Chef David Rocco, ITC Maurya, New Delhi Secondi! This was something I loved. Saltimbocca di Pollo, chicken with sage cooked in marsala wine. Lilting flavours, chicken done just right, the saltiness coming through beautifully, and the pairing excellent. On the platter was a Beet Risotto which was perfecto! Good to the bite, amazingly delicious. Was the portion too small? Maybe it was just me, but I did wonder if the portions served for lunch were tinier than normal!

With Chef David Rocco, ITC Maurya, New Delhi Time for Dolce … and amidst much anticipation dessert was served. Looked really nice. Torta Caprese {flourless chocolate cake}, and Zabaglione con Fruitti di Bosco {mixed fruit with espresso zabaglione}. Neither delivered. One spoon into the zabaglione and Ruchira warned me off. ‘Eggy‘ she whispered, knowing my disdain for eggy desserts.

With Chef David Rocco, ITC Maurya, New Delhi I tried a teeny bit. Eggy indeed. Sadly enough, even the Torta Caprese was overpoweringly eggy. It was disappointing. Nothing some good old vanilla beans couldn’t have fixed!

With Chef David Rocco, ITC Maurya, New Delhi We got over the disappointment soon as the 100 watt smile drowned the bunch of us. David left soon after lunch leaving us with his invincible charm and accent that seemed to hang in the air! Thank you ITC Maurya for organising the lunch. It was an afternoon well spent, and I love the stylish West View! The other food bloggers present were Anita, Reeta Skeeter, Charis, Sangeeta, Ruchira and Parul. We had a great great time!

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India



Food Event | Gourmet Dinner with French Michelin Star Chef Baptiste … ITC Maurya & Four Seasons Wine

“After one taste of French food … I was hooked. I’d never eaten like that before, I didn’t know such food existed. The wonderful attention paid to each detail of the meal was incredible to me. I’d never really drunk good wine before, and knew nothing at all about it. It was simply a whole new life experience.”
Julia Child

Gourmet Dinner with French Michelin Star Chef BaptisteA few days ago we had the pleasure of attending an exclusive gourmet evening with celebrated French Michelin Star Chef Baptiste. As part of a joint initiative of the ITC Maurya and Four Seasons Wines, 30 year old Chef Batiste delighted patrons in Delhi pairing modern French cuisine with a selection of award winning wines from Bouvet-Ladubay & Four Seasons.

Gourmet Dinner with French Michelin Star Chef Baptiste It was an invitation only, formal sit down dinner hosted at the beautiful  roof top West View at the ITC Maurya located in the heart of New Delhi. A pleasantly beautiful early winter evening, an open air antipasti bar, soulful  live music and good company as always ... a promise of good times.

Chef Baptiste at West View KitchenMichelin Star Chef Baptiste Fournier has been voted one of the top 6 young chefs in France by the famed Gault Millau guide. Baptiste took over as the Executive Chef of his family owned restaurant, La Tour, at the young age of 29 and received his Michellin Star in 2011.  He has traveled the world over discovering new cuisines and flavours. The use of  fresh ingredients on his menu is characteristic.

West View, ITC Maurya, New Delhi

Photo courtesy Rekha @ http://mytastycurry.com/

The evening opened under the capitals night sky with a nice, chilled bubbly from Bouvet-Ladubay. It was a nice cozy group. Delhi food bloggers Ruchira, Rekha, Sangeeta and me chatted non stop enjoying the charming good company of ITC Maurya GM, Media Relations, Richa Sharma.

Delhi food bloggers With Chef Sabyasachi Gorai, Olive & GM Media Relations, ITC, Richa SharmaIt was a matter of time before Saby joined our incessantly talkative group. Saby {or Chef Sabyasachi Gorai} was just back from an award winning spree in New York where he won the “Best Chef of India” award @ the Varli awards in NYC. Needless to say, the rest of the evening went in animated conversation amidst peels of laughter! {quick clicks by the cel phone!}

 Dinner Menu created by Chef Baptiste at West View Kitchen, ITC Maurya & Four Seasons WinesWe moved indoors for a sit down five course dinner. I opted for non-vegetarian, enjoyed the eggplant caviar with French clams, yet one course down, rapidly changed to vegetarian. The culprit was a sensational Beetroot, orange and goat cheese mousse that vowed one and all. It was the star of the show!

Gourmet Dinner with French Michelin Star Chef Baptiste

Portraits courtesy Sangeeta @ http://healthfooddesivideshi.blogspot.com/

Next came an artichoke risotto with black truffle which I loved. It had an edgy sourness to it and I loved the neat, small portions. The risotto did evoke mixed reactions as not everyone enjoyed it. I certainly did, right down to the last ‘scraping’ morsel! Nice!! Wine pairing was again the Four Seasons Sauvignon Blanc.

Gourmet Dinner with French Michelin Star Chef BaptisteFourth down was a white bean and tomato ragout in basil pesto which was meh. We heard from Abhay Kewadhkar, Director Four Seasons, that the lamb served in the non vegetarian course was one of the best he had ever had! Talk about mixed fortunes and the constant movement from vegetarian to non vegetarian menus. Sometimes I wish we could pick and choose from both!! Wine pairing … excellent Four Seasons Barrique Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.

Gourmet Dinner with French Michelin Star Chef BaptisteThe downside was the delay between courses served, and as the time lag grew, one could see many guests choosing to leave early. Dessert made an appearance around 11pm, close to the Cinderella hour. Since the headcount was quite low by now, I guess they decided to serve both the listed desserts! The pineapple ravioli served with a basil sorbet, with a little passion fruit coulis was awesome. Really refreshing and pleasing to the palette. 

Gourmet Dinner with French Michelin Star Chef Baptiste Well past 11pm and the the second dessert made its way. Well worth the wait!! A Hazelnut and white chocolate, ice and crispy cappuccino. WOW! That paired with some beautifully chilled just right Bouvet Rose Excellence ended the meal beautifully. It was one of the most outstanding and well balanced desserts I have enjoyed in a while. The dessert plates were scraped clean!

Gourmet Dinner with French Michelin Star Chef Baptiste

Hardly any photographs of the food served as the event was formal. We did grab a few between delayed courses though. As we left, we were gifted pretty boxes of French macarons, which I thought tied up the French theme quite well. That the macarons were fresh was debatable though. Most shells were brittle and broken. Not quite sure what the problem was here {…my macaron obsession continues!}

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India



Culinary Event |Recipe … The Singapore TakeOut {SPICE} & Recipe for Lacy Pancakes!

“1 mobile kitchen, 9 cities, 10 chefs and 15 food brands on a 365-day gastronomic journey.”
Singapore TakeOut

Singapore Take Out, New Delhi New Delhi marks the seventh stop for the Singapore Takeout on its nine-city world tour.  It has already delighted diners in London, Paris, Moscow, New York, Hong Kong, and Shanghai. I was glad to be part of this novel concept, a fun afternoon with live cooking and delicious food, made even more interesting with a good bunch of food bloggers from Delhi. In the picture below – Apeksha, Rituparna Chef Benjamin Seck, me, Parul, Rekha. Also met up with talented fun non-food bloggers like Purba and Prateik.

Photo courtesy Prateik @ Snow Leapards BlogPhoto courtesy Prateik @ Snow Leapards Blog

The event was an exclusive preview and luncheon for the media to a taste of sensational Singapore-inspired food from the Singapore Takeout, a mobile pop-up kitchen concept that unfoldsor should we say, transforms, from what looks like an ordinary shipping container.Singapore Take Out, New Delhi In each city, Singapore’s most innovative and internationally celebrated chefs work side-by-side a talent from each respective destination, whipping up dishes that are so unique, so special, and so incredibly delicious, you’ll be left speechless and wanting more! … Just what happened to me!Singapore Take Out, New Delhi From word go, from the time the container literally popped open with a state of the art kitchen fitted inside, it was a unique culinary experience, one that tantalised the palatte and left us wanting for more. It was an afternoon of inspired food, showcasing the best of Singapore celebrity Chef Benjamin Secks gastronomic expertise. He teamed up with two top chefs from ITC Hotels, Chef Manisha Bhasin and Chef Rajkamal Chopra, to serve up a mouth-watering selection of Singapore-inspired dishes. The result – delightful  renditions of Indian cuisine taken to delicious heights … fusion cooking at its best!Singapore Take Out, New DelhiChef Benjamin’s best-selling dish of Nyonya Prawn Curry with Roti Jalal (lacy pancakes) and his vegan rendition of Popiah Goreng (deep fried spring rolls) filled with cabbage and carrot, were excellent and left us longing for more. The sweet red chilli dip served alongside complimenting the spring rolls beautifully! The spiced prawn curry with the tender lacy pancakes were excellent, full of subtle flavours and spices. We were lucky to see a live demo of the pancakes, and I am happy to share the recipe below. Both dishes reflected the chefs Peranakan heritage and of the diverse cultures in Singapore.

Scampi and Lemongrass Ceviche & Chicken Tikka with NaanPhoto courtesy Prateik @ Snow Leapards Blog

Chef Manisha showcased Duet of Asian Inspired Antipasti, a dish featuring Scampi and Lemongrass Ceviche presented in a traditional methi dhania papdi shell. Accompanying it was ITC Maurya’s specialty Chicken Tikka marinated with Laksa paste to give it a Singapore twist and finished on a charcoal grill. Our tastebuds were screaming for more. The duet fabulous, one cold, one hot, the cold served with a piquant tamarind sauce while the warm tikka tender and moist; they made for a handsome bite indeed. The delicately flavoured tikka was served over a basil naan, the anitpasti plated by the chef herself with expertise that reflected her talent and passion. Laksa Pulao and Vegan Spring Rolls, Singapore take Out, New DelhiAs a flavourful finale, Chef Rajkamal recreated a vegetarian Laksa Pulao, which he showcased during the Singapore Takeout launch in Singapore in April 2011. I finished that bowl of pulao in a heartbeat. Even though I consider myself a small eater, I could have had another serving, it was that good. Each grain of rice separate, flavourful and in harmony with French beans tossed in a laksa curry paste. The touch of a seasoned chef came through in every bite, the spices light and endearing. The pulao was topped with a garlic raita and caramelised onions … a mouthwatering symphony of textures and flavours! Singapore Take Out, New Delhi

The Singapore Takeout is part of the Singapore International Culinary Exchange (SPICE) – an initiative helmed jointly by the International Enterprise (IE) Singapore, Singapore Tourism Board (STB), and SPRING Singapore which champions Singapore’s cuisine, culinary talent and food products globally. “Singapore has come a long way in its culinary journey. The country is fast becoming a must-visit destination for all food lovers, providing inspiration for culinary talent and an environment which encourages fast and furious food innovation,” says Aw Kah Peng, Chief Executive of Singapore Tourism Board, “SPICE will spur this growth on through initiatives like the Singapore Takeout, where our local food and beverage talent will collaborate, exchange ideas, and network with their overseas counterparts.

Foodies can follow the Singapore Takeout journey on www.facebook.com/SingaporeEats.

 

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