Chef Focus: Fresh From The Kitchen

by Mahak Mannan | Published 2 years ago

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The only thing constant on the menu of Gusto Italian Restaurant at Al Bandar Rotana, is fresh produce, with the menu offerings changing every three days based on fresh ingredients and we spoke to Fortunato Leocata, chef de cuisine, Gusto Italian Restaurant, Al Bandar, about the Italian venue.

DSC_7344“Freshness and seasonality are the hallmarks of true Italian cuisine as real Italian food is healthy, light and above all tasty,” chef Leocata says.

“Gusto draws inspiration from a traditional neighbourhood restaurant, the kind you would find on an Italian piazza where the locals meet as they go about their day-to-day business. The key elements we aim to recreate from a typical Italian trattoria are the authenticity and seasonality of the food, genuine hospitality in a casual atmosphere, and the assurance that everything is to your liking.”

With no set menu, the offerings at the restaurant change every three days based on fresh produce and ingredients in the kitchen, “We pride ourselves on our constantly evolving menu, which changes throughout the week. Fresh ingredients are presented through traditional cooking methods, and our open kitchen with its wooden fire oven helps bring diners closer to the true flavours of Italy,” he says.

“Today, people are becoming increasingly aware of what they eat and healthy, fresh food demand is on the rise. Keeping in line with this demand, fresh dishes are added to the menu every three days, with the choice of recipes guided by the ingredients we source from the market.

“We don’t keep any items permanently on the menu, the only exception would be any personal requests from guests, which we are happy to satisfy.”

Demand for Italian cuisine is on the rise which is why Gusto’s sets itself apart from other venues with its approach to fresh food, according to the chef, “Our guests enjoy the diversity, as this is what sets Gusto’s menu apart from others, it’s always exciting for them to find something new to try every time they come back. However, we are very open and flexible, and are delighted to prepare a guest’s favourite dish if we are asked to,” he says.

“People in Dubai are very savvy when it comes to Italian food, so it’s a great challenge to keep them interested and excited. So far, we are succeeding in doing so, which I’m very happy about. The menu creation is influenced mostly by seasonality, with the freshness of the produce and taste of the ingredients being key considerations.”

In the new few months the venue will focus more on taste as compare to presentation, the chef says, “We are constantly striving for originality, and aim to surprise our guests with dishes they have never experienced before which is why we will be focusing more on taste, rather than presentation.

“The year has started well for us, we wish to build on our strong opening and become one of the best Italian restaurants in Dubai.”

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