Italian Food Secret N°9: Puglia

August 26th 2013 by Silvia
Puglia | Costiera Amalfitana | Gourmet

A perfect blend of tradition and new tastes

Italian Food Secrets: PugliaItalian Food Secrets: Puglia

This time get to interview the CHIC Chef Pino Lavarra. He grew up in Puglia where he learnt the traditional cooking methods and the authentic local recipes of his birthplace. He come to Malesia in 1996  to work in Penang Mutiara Beach Resort and he brought Rossellinis Restaurant to success. Pino Lavarra has defined as “One of the Best Chefs in the World” by the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences and has earned Michelin two stars award for Rossellinis, the restaurant that he led since 2012 (Amalfi Coast).

This chef interview gives you a glimpse into his amazing culinary experience, a perfect blend of tradition and new tastes.

Italian food secrets by Pino Lavarra, PugliaItalian food secrets by Pino Lavarra, Puglia

What made you decide you would become a professional chef? How did you get started?
Answering to this question is not easy. Actually, it was a mix of factors that drove me to choose this career.

Who or which place, event have been the biggest inspirations for your career?
It happened when I was 12 years old and I went to a typical Italian pizzeria with my wonderful family. I tasted so delicious dishes that I promised to myself to learn how to cook them.

What does being an Italian Chef mean to you? What is your opinion about “not Italian food”?
First of all, being an Italian Chef means being proud of your birthplace, where it all began. I have been working abroad for about 10 years and I have found amazing to introduce our cuisine around the world. Foreigners really appreciate Italian food and I really like to discover new culinary traditions from Asian tastes to the newest Nordic food.

Can you tell us one of the most important episodes in your career? And something funny that happened in your restaurant?
Obviously when I awarded 2 stars by the Michelin Guide. I was organizing my move when a collogue told me that I was received  that's Wonderful Recognition! My team was playing at football so I joined them with two bottles of Champagne… I celebrated with friends, colleagues and customers for a week!

Italian Food SecretsItalian Food Secrets

Now, the main question: If you usually offer a regional recipe revisited, can you give us the recipe?
There are many recipes that I love, but the one that I never get bored to prepare is my recipe of Tiella Barese a typical dish of Puglia (smoked risotto with puffed potatoes and mussels).

How to prepare smoked rice
Burn untreated sawdust cherry with the addition of dried herbs and make sure that smokes. Put Carnaroli rice in a pan and cover it securely with a sheet of tin foil. Let it smoke for about 1 hour.

How to prepare mussels
Heat the oil and butter in a pan and add the mussels with shells. Once gold, add shallot, garlic, 1 carrot, celery, leek and fennel. Then, add a glass of brandy, San Marzano tomatoes and parsley and basil. Cook the rise in the same pan (20 g per person) and cooked for 30 minutes. Dress with Puglia Canestrato cheese.

How to prepare the potatoes
Peeled potatoes thinly, fry them at 110° oil and stir them continuously. When they start to puff immerse them in another oil at 180 ° C. Immediately collect and keep only the "puffed potatoes”.

Dish presentation ingredients
Mussels 10
Carnaroli rice 70 gr
Puffed potatoes 5
Frost rosemary 3
Extra virgin olive oil with rosemary
Rosemary flowers 10


A special thanks to
Pino Lavarra and Tosca Restaurant
Rossellinis Restaurant
CHIC’s association
Stefania Miglio

Live a true culinary Italian experience at home, try the recipe and wait for the 10th issue ;)

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