Good news, Italian food lovers! Chef Mauro Ferrari is back in town after spending a few weeks back home in Italy. He’s brought with him several suitcases full of Italian produce sourced from his local markets and he’s put his chef hat back on to bring you Drama Chef 2.
After the success of the first Drama Chef food festival, Chef Mauro took inspiration from his home town to create brand new dishes for this menu. As always, Chef likes to keep his dishes simple and elegant. Not more than three or four ingredients, he tells us, and he wants to let the natural flavours do the talking.
The new menu hinges on truffles, pecorine cheese, chestnut and imported meat from Australia. The truffles alone cost 500 euros per kilogram and he says he brought back over 30 kg of food!
Before we began, my wife tried to order a sweet mocktail but was quickly chided by the chef when he heard about it and cancelled the order himself. Apparently you either drink water or wine with his Italian food because the sweetness from the mocktail would ruin your palette and alter the taste of his food. What else can you say but “Yes, chef!”?
Things kick off with one of Chef’s own creations. It’s a small tower of finely mashed potato covered in a pecorine cheese fondue shell. Wafer thing slices of truffle garnish the dish. But the big surprise is what’s waiting inside!
Open it up and you’ll find a golden centre as the runny egg yolk pours out.
I tried the slow cooked chicken with grilled red capsicum. The plating of these dishes is part of the drama and watching Chef Mauro’s fierce concentration as he plates each one to perfection is all part of the experience.
My face must have painted a picture when I bit into the chicken. It just melted in my mouth in a way that I haven’t experienced before. Chef Mauro chuckled and asked me if I liked it. I asked where he had imported the chicken from because it was absolutely delicious and he chuckled again. It is the normal chicken the hotel buys locally, but he slow cooked it so that it remained tender and moist.
There was some oddly sweet crunchy bits around the sides of my plate which added some great texture to each mouthful. I asked the chef what it was and he said it was “truffle soil”. I’d never heard of it but I later learned it was a truffle crumble, not the soil that the truffle was found in, which was a bit of a relief!
Not normally a big soup fan (unless it’s cream of tomato soup!), I was worried about what my reaction would be to the pumpkin soup. Fortunately my fears were allayed from the first bite (or if its soup, is it a slurp?). No wheat flour had been used to thicken up the soup, it’s all natural from a vegetable stock. In fact, Chef Mauro told us that he hasn’t used flour in his sauces for a couple of decades, which is good because now more people have an intolerance to it.
Small drops of butter are added to enrich the taste and the small cheese-filled ravioli add an extra tasting sensation to something as simple as pumpkin soup.
My wife has been consistently disappointed with the risottos that she has tried. None more so than at a popular Italian chain of restaurants in the UK which she ended up adding chili flakes to just to give it some taste! I watched as she took her first taste. Chef Mauro had done the impossible, he’d created love at first bite with the leek fondue risotto.
The rice is done al dente and it remains that way until you have finished.
Can any Italian menu be complete without pizza? Focaccia’s signature thin-crust pizza was given a drama chef makeover to become a gourmet truffle pizza. It was so good, we had to get Chef Mauro to come and sit down to enjoy it with us as well!
The Main Show
After the chicken, soup, risotto and pizza, it was surprising that I still had any room left for dessert. But just smelling the tenderloin lamb from the open kitchen of Focaccia was enough to make me realize that I definitely still had room.
As with the other dishes, Chef Mauro spent time ensuring that everything was plated to perfection and looked, well, good enough to eat.
The lamb has been imported from Australia because the local lamb didn’t have the right taste for Chef’s dishes. Once again, the tenderloin is melt in your mouth and when combined with the mouselline potato and truffle sauce, it’s just heavenly!
The Final Act
Now seriously wondering where I was going to find space to try the desserts, Chef Mauro brought out two of his creations. Both desserts are made from chestnuts, which is unusual as I’ve never had chestnuts in any meal until this one. I definitely didn’t know that you could bake a cake out of chestnuts, which is what Chef Mauro has done with his soft chestnut cake!
About the Drama Chef 2 Food Festival
The entire menu has been created by Chef Mauro, bringing together his decades of experience in Italian cooking. He has brought over special ingredients such as truffles, cheese and chestnuts from his home town in Italy to make this one of the most unique menus you’ll find in Chennai. Additionally, he’s imported meat from Australia to ensure that the very best protein is used in his dishes. The Drama Chef food festival runs until 22nd October, or while his store of Italian ingredients last, so don’t hang around! You’ll find Chef Mauro in the Focaccia kitchen in Hyatt Regency.
HYATT REGENCY CHENNAI
365 Anna Salai, Teynampet, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600018, India
Tel: +91 44 61001234
Mob: +91 9176633310