When Chef Riccardo Sculli was awarded his first Michelin Star for his restaurant Gambero Rosso a while back, he came into spotlight for being the first chef in the Reggio Calabria province of Italy to get this honour. Recently, Chef Sculli came down to curate a handcrafted menu at Sorrento, Shangri-La’s – Eros Hotel, New Delhi and we rushed immediately to talk to the Italian masterchef about his hometown that we’d heard so little of! Here’s a small insight .
– Shibani Bawa
1. The most underrated condiment according to you?
I don’t really think there’s any condiment that’s underrated as such. I am, however, always on the lookout for new flavours to embellish my dishes and my cuisine with. Despite my search for the new and novel, I do tend to echo the ancient culinary traditions and rework them in an innovative and modern way.
2. What’s the most exotic dish that you have ever created?
I combined my two all time favourites – seafood and Calabrian cuisine and came up with ‘Calabrian Sushi’ for my crudités menu. I use fresh, local seafood and local ingredients to create different sushi dishes with a Calabrian twist. This is an extremely popular dish at my restaurant, Gambero Rosso.
3. One restaurant you’d recommend to travellers visiting Calabria?
I would love for travellers from India to sample the fresh seafood of the Ionian coast. Ristorante Hotel Barbieri in the Altomonte town is a great favourite of mine.
4. Three not-to-be missed dishes of Calabria?
Instead of dishes, I’d like to tell you about ingredients that are not-to-be missed. These ingredients should be tried and tasted in as many different interpretations as possible – seafood from our Ionian sea, ‘Nduja – a typically Calabrian charcuterie, and bergamotto orange which has been proved by many a scientific studies to be good for your health.
5.What advice would you give to aspiring chefs?
Never stop learning. The world is constantly in motion, constantly evolving, and so should we. Strive to be better tomorrow than you were yesterday.
6. What is your comfort food?
Pasta! It’s the ultimate comfort food across the world, and more so in Italy. Every home in the south of Italy will definitely have pasta. It’s such an integral part of our culture. I remember, every Sunday, my mother would make a fresh batch of pasta that would be eaten through the week.