For most chefs, service hours are the busiest. Not for Italian Chef Luigi Ferraro, who is manning the kitchens of newly launched Italian restaurant, Sorrento, at Shangri-La’s Eros Hotel, New Delhi. His real work begins post midnight when most guests have left. That’s when he takes stalk of what’s gone around in the kitchen the entire day, how well his team performed (or not), what the challenges were, how many guests went pleased with the food and service, and how many times were they able to deliver an order without any glitch. This daily exercise helps him assess the situation of the new set-up in a way that’s foolproof and meticulous. And, he’d like it to continue this way.
Conceptualised around the nuances of Neapolitan cooking from Naples in Italy, which is also one of the most prolific of Italian cuisines, the food here is based on radicalising classics. “The focus of Italian cuisine is on simple, fresh and natural ingredients such as tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, dark leafy greens like fresh basil, and whole grains, making it one of the world’s healthiest diets,” says Ferraro, adding, “Uniqueness will personify all creations. We don’t compromise on traditional favours, and provide hearty Italian signatures.”
Some highlights that prove delicious are Tortellini, Lemon Ricotta Ravioli, Oven-roasted Squash, Sage, Goat Cheese Crumble Bruschetta, Corn, Black Olive Butter, Chili Parmesan Crust skewer, Baked Artichoke Romana with Hazelnut Chili Crumble and Fontina Glaze, Grilled Atlantic Sea Scallops with California Peppergrass and Blood Orange, Provolone Stuffed Dates Wrapped in Culatello Ham and Basilicata Salami, Caciocavallo Cheese on White Cornmeal Crostini, and the Tiramisu. There’s also a daily chef’s special on the menu, for which an entire morning is spent in discussions and planning. “I make it a point to be in the kitchen, in addition to meeting each guest to take feedback and make suggestions. Taking team briefings and talking to the team fits in neatly into a regular afternoon between lunch and dinner,” he says.
A things that’s really helped Ferraro make his time at Sorrento smooth and stress-free is being granted space for personal freedom. It has allowed him to grow, excel and experience things at a personal level, initiating an understanding that’s borne out of independence of thought. “Here, as I have complete freedom to share my experience, expertise, views and techniques, I am able to serve the best of Italy on a platter,” he says. But one day, he says, he would like to learn how to cook a popular Indian dish too. Perhaps, tandoori chicken or naan bread. “Or, maybe, butter chicken. That sounds like something I would like to try soon,” he adds.
For now, the chef’s brand new Italian kitchen beckons all his attention, and he has all of it channelled to bring Italy of the best kind on the restaurant’s pretty dining tables.