I had the pleasure of meeting Fulvio Pierangelini during his brief trip to Paris. Fulvio is an illustrious chef of international renown who has been placed in charge of all the chefs in restaurants belonging to the Rocco Forte Group. He has a fine career to his credit: he has spent over thirty years in Tuscany in the kitchen of his restaurant Il Gambero Rosso. He is an expert in locating and using high-quality produce.
We met up in a restaurant in Paris where he had assumed authority over the kitchen for the evening. Earlier that morning, he was just in Italy, where he brought over with him some excellent products to share. This is a man who is in love with his work, a man of passion, an expert who loves to share his knowledge and everything he cooks. He is one of those people who loves bringing pleasure.
You will find this spirit throughout his dishes in Hotel Amigo in Brussels, Brown’s Hotel in London, and still yet in the Charles Hotel in Munich, as well as in all the restaurants that form part of the Rocco Forte Hotel Group.
What is your role within the ROCCO FORTE Group?
I’m known as the artistic director of the group! I create the menus for our restaurants. I choose the products, I define the style, I come up with the design on the dish, and I explain the recipes to the chefs in the restaurants under Rocco Forte Group. In reality, I don’t prepare the cuisine with my own hands; I simply bring my knowledge into the dishes that I create.
What is your cuisine? How is the restaurant in some ways a pillar of the ROCCO FORTE brand?
It’s all about simplicity. To get there, I’ve worked at it for over forty years, and those years have led me to this simplicity. In fact, simplicity is a destination, not a place to begin. To arrive at this simplicity, you need an exceptional product, impeccable technique, and a large heart. There’s nothing complicated; it’s only a series of gestures, of techniques that you have to execute perfectly. You shouldn’t be looking for an easy way out because you have to pass through all these stages in order to create a cuisine that is simple and good; otherwise, you risk offering a cuisine that is mediocre and banal.
In addition to technique, I also bring in my emotions and sensitivity to the teams that will go on to produce my recipes.
For Rocco Forte, the restaurant is of utmost importance. Rocco comes from an Italian family that originally started out in this sector with restaurants. His family has always considered restaurants as an essential element.
What is Italian cuisine?
In fact, the challenge has been to make people understand what true Italian cuisine is. Because they don’t know what it really is. Everyone has preconceptions based on what they find in those restaurants in every country, and these don’t reflect the true culture, the true Italian cuisine that you would otherwise find in Italy.
Cooking Italian food means cooking with Italian products of high quality, based on my forty years of experiences and meetings.
What do all Rocco Forte chefs share in common?
Respect—not only for people, but also for the product, the cuisine, the client. You should know that most of our chefs are Italian, but not all of them.
How do you integrate the dining habits of the various countries in which your restaurants are located? Especially with regard to breakfast?
For breakfast, it’s important to ensure the availability of products that are common to all cultures, such as freshly pressed orange juice, gluten-free products, hot croissants, etc. Because where breakfast is concerned, clients remain highly traditional. We have noticed that for lunch and dinner, they will experiment with new flavors, but not often for breakfasts. I try to offer a variety of things, even if they don’t always work out; I try, in any event, to surprise the client. For example, I serve gelato or sorbet for breakfast to accompany eggs, the way you might find in Sicily.
Laurent Delporte, an editor and conference speaker, is a strategic expert in the sector of hotels. A visionary, he brings his unique look on hotels in service to the decision-makers in the industry, whether to enhance the development of new projects or strategic visions.
Laurent has visited and audited over 350 hotels across the world and also participates in mystery visits to provide quality control for the world’s finest hotels.