'Asia is a place of amazing combinations and aromas'
Talking food with Giuseppe Sparagna, Chef de Cuisine, Casa Mia Restaurant, Le Meridien Hotel & Conference Dubai
Your best food-related experience.
The first time I experienced fine dining in a two-Michelin star restaurant in Ireland. As a young cook, not only did I fall in love with the ambience of the place, I was also wowed by the carefully plated dishes and the thought put into each item presented on the menu. It is the most memorable for me, since it was the first time I was exposed to a highly curated menu with attention to detail in terms of ingredients used, flavours and presentation.
Who do you admire most in the culinary world, and why?
Chef Gualtiero Marchesi. He was the first Italian chef to present Italian food in the fine dining dimension. He not only showed the world how wonderfully traditional Italian food can be presented, but also put the cuisine on the global map. He introduced high quality dishes, which are now part of Italian menus around the world. He is truly the father of Italian fine dining.
Your favourite culinary destination - and why?
Asia is my most preferred culinary destination. I have always been mesmerised by the cuisines of the region. Each has distinct cooking practices and traditions with a lot of flavour. I appreciate the respect the cuisines have for the use of each ingredient and how perfectly they are paired together without any of them losing their individual characteristic. It is definitely a place of amazing combinations and aromas.
How often do you eat out? What's your favourite place around town?
On my weekly offs, I am always out and about trying new restaurants. When not at my own restaurant, I am most likely to be found at Morimoto Dubai. It is one of my best-loved places in the city.
If you could cook for a high-profile personality, who would it be and what would you serve him or her?
I would love to cook for Martin Scorsese. To me, he is the best film director of all time. I would prepare my signature Zuppa Di Pesce, a seafood soup. The soup boasts a combination of true Italian flavours, which makes it traditional and is sure to bring joy to anyone eating it.
You're asked to invent an unusual dish - what would it be?
I would create a wasabi gelato! It will be my way of bringing Japanese and Italian cuisines together - my two favourites.
One ingredient/dish you can't stand, and why.
As a chef, there is no ingredient or dish I can't stand. But if I had to pick an unfavourable ingredient, it would be beetroot. I don't take much liking to the texture or flavour of the root.
Do you cook for yourself at home too?
After running a kitchen all day long, I either go out for my meals or order takeaway.
Favourite comfort food?
Anything Italian! The note of the cuisine makes me feel nostalgic and brings immense happiness.
If you could choose a last meal, what would it be?
Without a doubt, it would be a Tomato Fettucine made by my grandmother. It is my most beloved dish and always brings back fond memories of my childhood.
Where can we find you, when you're not in the kitchen?
If I am not in my kitchen, I will be in someone else's kitchen, trying to explore and understand new flavours and combinations. If not, I will be in a pool.
- Staff reporter