Cooking is meditative, and great food is comfort for the soul. With the rise of #FoodPorn where every person first finds it more important to snap a picture of their plate of food before eating it, and the increasing popularity of recipe videos, it’s not surprising if you find yourself suddenly interested in cooking. Or maybe, you have finally begun adulting, and cooking has piqued your interest now. Or maybe, you are just sick of ordering food every single day, and finally want to make use of your kitchen. Whatever the case may be, cooking your own food is one of the first steps you can take towards your well being. That being said, with the world coming closer every day, we have seen a rise in the popularity of every type of cuisine, starting from Italian to Korean. But if you’re a beginner, Italian cuisine is the kind of food, that is easy to make, delicious to eat and satisfying for your soul.
So we thought of helping you out by getting you some tips for Italian-style cooking. And who better to consult than an Italian chef himself? Say hello to Chef Alessandro Persico, Chef De Cuisine of Celini, Grand Hyatt Mumbai’s beautiful Italian restaurant. Grown up in the Liguria region, Alessandro started cooking as a 10-year-old for his sister and himself, after coming back from school, as their parents were at work. And cooking his way from Italy to India over decades, the Chef had some very valuable cooking tips to give us. Check ’em out:
1. There is no wrong or right recipe
Chef Alessandro encourages you to make mistakes, because that is the only way you will learn. And through every mistake, you will find a way to tweak your methods and create a dish that would turn out to be much better than what you originally decided to make. “My grandfather used to say, ‘What is meant to be good may not be good, but what you like will be good’,” he says.
2. The easiest recipes are the most difficult ones
If you pick a dish which requires minimum effort or ingredients, best believe that dish will be the hardest to master. Chef Alessandro encourages you to start with the basics. Begin by looking up a recipe for a sauce or making pasta dough and perfect that. Once you have conquered that feat, evolve the recipe through the years by trial and error.
3. Invest in a good pan and a knife
A heavy-duty cast iron pan will last you for a very long time and can be used to cook almost any dish of your choosing. Similarly, investing in a knife that can smoothly cut through your veggies and meat will make your cooking process a lot less tedious.
4. Find your favourite ingredient and make it versatile
You can have a taste for anything from cheese to garlic. For chef Alessandro, his favourite ingredient is tomato. “In Italy you get so many different types of tomatoes that are used in everything from salad dressings to making sauces. I love tomatoes so much I had once created an entire menu of dishes called 50 shades of tomatoes,” he says. Similarly, you can also experiment with the different ways in which one ingredient can be used, and impress yourself with every dish.
5. Watch and learn
While reading recipes online can be fun, the real trick to getting cooking right is to observe. Chef Alessandro advices that you should watch when anybody cooks, and see how they mix up ingredients and flavours, to use those tips for yourself. Stealing tips from your grandmother’s kitchen is a hundred per cent recommended.
While we can’t emphasis more on the benefits of cooking yourself, we also understand those lazy days, where you just crave a scrumptious hand-cooked meal. And for those times, you have the Hyatt Dining Club. This is an India-only lifestyle rewards program, which you can subscribe to by paying ₹1100/- a month. This program has various benefits, including having an interactive session called, “Cook With Chef”, that lets you book an appointment with any chef across all Hyatt hotels in India, and enjoy a session of learning some dishes with them, while getting live tips and eating food that will nourish your soul.
Other than that, if you opt for the Hyatt Dining Club, you are entitled discounts on your meals, brunches, getting complimentary starters every month, as well as a bottle of wine or cake on the house on occasions. You can also upgrade your suite using your Dining Club subscription or get four tickets to catch a movie at PVR, get a chance at doing adventure sports, get deals on spas and a lot more.