One of the best parts about food blogging is the opportunity to meet brilliant, talented chefs who have so much to share.
I have a thing for chefs. And I have Pinterest board to prove it.
But I have an even bigger thing for chefs with no hair or not much hair. Yes, I’m weird.
So I don’t need to tell you what happened when I met this man.
David Rocco, for those of you who live under a rock, is a fabulous Italian chef. He’s done several tv shows, but my favourite is called David Rocco’s Dolce Vita. In it, he roams the Italian countryside with his friends, family, and miscellaneous cute animals, cooking up honest, fresh, home-style Italian food.
David is currently in India shooting a brand new tv show that’ll be on air later this year. ITC hotels have been hosting him and I had the fantastic opportunity to meet him twice!
The first meeting where I was all goo-goo eyed happened at ITC Rajputana in Jaipur.
You can read about it here.
The second meeting (where I was still goo-goo eyed) happened just last week at ITC Maurya in Delhi.
A group of Delhi food bloggers had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to enjoy an intimate sit-down lunch with David Rocco at Westview in ITC Maurya.
We ate some delicious Italian food (all David’s own recipes) paired with Fratelli wines.
Here’s a look at the yummies.
First course was Rigatoni con Pomodori e Melanzane (Neapolitan style pasta with eggplant and Mozzarella sauce) paired with Fratelli Sauvignon Blanc.
The pasta was an example of how just a few simple ingredients can result in a delicious, wholesome dish. The sauce was the right mix of cheese and tomato, with small bits of fried eggplant.
Second course was Saltimbocca di Pollo (Chicken with prosciutto and sage, cooked in Marsala), beet risotto, and baby carrots with cilantro, paired with Fratelli Sangiovese.
The pretty pink beetroot risotto was perfectly done – the right amount of bite and full of flavour. David was a little skeptical about whether we’d find it underdone to our taste, but we assured him we loved it.
To end, we had Torta Caprese (flourless chocolate cake) and Zabaglione con Frutti di Bosco (mixed fruits with espresso zabaglione). I enjoyed the dense cake and the bits of almond that I happily discovered in every bite. The zabaglione however, was a bit too egg-y for my taste, though I loved the coffee flavour.
Through the meal, David shared his experiences with us in his signature candid, lovable style.
We chatted about olive oil in India and Italy. He told us how some working professionals in Italy, take a week off work and go olive picking. They then get paid for their labour in top-notch olive oil which they use for the rest of the year. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have something like that here? I love the idea.
He also spoke about the importance of making the best of the ingredients you have. David himself often shops at the “back of the store” where you get ingredients that have been on the shelf for a few days, and are past their prime. For things like tomatoes that have to go into a sauce or eggplant that can be fried, you can use produce that is not in the front of the store (and the most expensive). It’s such a great way to discourage waste and learn how to cook delicious food with whatever is at hand. I just love the fact that a world-famous chef, who can have his pick of the best ingredients, still chooses to do this.
These days there is much talk about making your own pasta – so I asked David what he thought about it. I learnt from him, that making fresh pasta isn’t something that is always preferred. It works for some dishes, but for some, dry pasta is certainly preferable. If store-bought pasta is good enough for David Rocco, it’s good enough for me baby!
I can’t wait for his show to be aired in India – it’s going to be awesome.
A big thank you to ITC for this wonderful opportunity.
And thank you David, for being so warm and wonderful.
We need more chefs like you- chefs who are passionate about their food, and want to share that knowledge.
Oh one last thing. David Rocco gives the best hugs ever. Just look
Here’s a collage Sangeeta made for me. (I love her btw) You can see how smitten I am