Thursday, September 4, 2014

Tuscan Food Festival - Cook Off with Chef Antonello Cancedda !

Italian cuisine has a great variety of different ingredients which are commonly used, ranging from fruits, vegetables, sauces, meats, etc. In the North of Italy, fish (such as cod, or baccalĂ ), potatoes, rice, corn (maize) and different types of cheeses are the most common ingredients. Pasta dishes with use of tomato are spread in all Italy.

I was invited for a cook off with Chef Antonello Cancedda at JW Marriott hotel. It was Tuscan Food festival at Alba, a specialty Italian restaurant, serving Italian and Tuscan Cuisine. The Restaurant has beautiful decor, Ambiance and lighting with a fully equipped open kitchen.
I was welcomed by the friendly staff and got introduces to chef Antonello Cancedda, a very modest person. I was carried away by his simplicity. He was cooking a few Tuscany dishes for us!

Chef Antonello Cancedda, the expat Italian Chef De Cuisine at JW Marriott Chandigarh and looks after the culinary operations of Oregano Restaurant & Bar.  With over two decades of experience Antonello brings with him rich experience, exceptional talent and understanding of an authentic Italian Kitchen to the hotel.  He is passionate about creating unique flavors, catering to distinct tastes as he cooks to the guest's taste and preference.
He is known for his passion for Italian food and attention to details that marries the classical Italian flavors and ingredients with contemporary, fine dining presentation and cooking techniques.  He strongly believes in retaining the authenticity despite the contemporary fashion of cooking.  A native of Sardinia, Italy, Antonello has worked in some of the most prestigious Hotels and restaurants in Europe, Canada, Asia and United States.  A Graduate from Scuola Alberghieria Restaurant and Hotel School of Genoa.
In his leisure time he enjoys playing guitar and sings Hindi songs too. He loves butter chicken and biryani and speaks a little Hindi too.  He is also an avid practitioner of yoga and never misses his daily practice.
Simplicity is central to the Tuscan cuisine. Legumes, bread, cheese, vegetables, mushrooms and fresh fruit are used. In Tuscany and Umbria pasta is usually served alla carrettiera (a tomato sauce spiked with peperoncini hot peppers).
I was asked if I had any special request before they start the cook off and I asked them if they can make something vegetarian for me :) The chef decided to make a veg pasta! The rest were made according to the chef's taste. The cook off started with Tiramisu - the desert. It was let to set in the fridge while we proceeded for making the Pasta from scratch!
The pictures show a step wise process of pasta making from the pasta machine.
This pasta is called Chianti Pappardelle made with flour and red wine which gives a slight red color to the pasta!
The vegetables were gently sauteed and the pumpkin puree was simmered. Pasta was cooked and tossed with the veggies. The recipe was not very complicated with many spices. It was just some salt and pepper. The Chef said he likes to keep it simple. He plated the pasta and topped it with pumpkin puree and some cheese.
Tiramisu meaning "pick me up" or "lift me up" is a popular coffee-flavored Italian dessert. It is made my assembling layers of Savoiardi lady fingers with cream of mascarpone and espresso!

The Tuscan food festival was on until the 24th of August and sorry I am late on my writeup :) But you can always visit Alba for a romantic Italian dinner and experience the Tuscan cuisine.

Alba JW Marriott Hotel
Vittal Malya Road,
Bangalore - 560001