Thursday, March 10, 2011


Chef Cristiano Tomei, The Rock Star!!

For the first time, Hyatt Regency Delhi and Alta Cucina Italiana have come together with the patronage of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Italy, to bring the Bella Italia Food Festival to Delhi. The soon-to-be Michelin-starred chef, Cristiano Tomei, from Restaurant L’Imbuto in Viareggio will showcase his special recipes at La Piazza restaurant from 7 to 13 March 2011.

Bella Italia, the only event that tours the world to promote high-end Italian cooking and wine, is organised by the Alta Cucina Italiana Association (, a group of selected Italian chefs from different regions of Italy who are not only the owners of their restaurants, but also teach and give several cooking performances at such Italian fairs as Vinitaly, Squisito and others.

Chef Cristiano Tomei from Viareggio

I met up with Tuscan Chef Cristiano from Viareggio, whose cooking is a reflection of the region’s traditional and modern gastronomy.

Some of this exciting chef’s dishes are the Cacciucco, Gnocchi, and pancotto interpreted in a modern way, but Chef Cristiano remains inspired by his local culture.

In 1995, he graduated from the Nautical Institute of Viareggio but, quite soon, realised that dealing with boats would not be his future profession. He then decided to hit the road and visit some of the most famous restaurants in Europe. On his return to his home town in 2001, he decided to become a cook and run a restaurant on Viareggio Beach. In 2002, he decided to open his own restaurant, finally finding an old carpentry factory that he turned into a fancy restaurant, which he named L’Imbuto (literally “the funnel”).

He decided on this name as he intended to invite guests to “channel” themselves from the day-to-day routine to the magic of his cooking kingdom.

In 2009, he was chosen as a candidate for a Michelin star, due to be granted this year. Chef Cristiano’s cooking is strongly tied to the local region of Tuscany, and inspired by his farmer family, focusing on traditional dishes and tastes, as well as on fresh ingredients, although he interprets them with a modern and creative touch. Given his birthplace in Viareggio, a beach town, his seafood dishes are both remarkable and original.

My tete-a-tete with Chef Tomei

· Your mission in life?

Chef Tomei - Spreading joy and happiness thru good food .

· Your philosophy?

Italian way of Life – enjoy

· Your style of cooking?

I like to play around with classical dishes, giving them my won creative twist…eg my soup is my own intrepretation…

· How difficult it is to be chosen for a Michelin star?

Verrryyyyyyyy. Well the inspector comes and tastes everything, inspects even the toilet ….

· What do you like the most?

Food, Women and music – jazz music.

My Special Lunch Menu

With Wines - Bertani soave`08 &

Bertani valpolicella`08

Chef Tomei`s Menu


Cooked bread, mixed vegetables, extra virgin olive oil, aged cheese

Bertani soave`08

Gnocchi con cipolle e acciughe dissalate

Dumplings, onions, unsalted anchovies

Bertani valpolicella`08

Tagliolini all’anatra

Tagliolini, duck sauce

Bertani valpolicella`08


Typical Tuscan cake, zucchini vegetables, vanilla ice-cream

On Special Request, Chef Tomei gives me his secret recipe for Pancotto. AHHHHH, try folks!

Serve 4


50 gr tomato

50 gr zucchini

50 gr carrot

50 gr onion

50 gr celery

50 gr asparagus

30 ml olive oil

200 ml vegetable stock

400 gr toasted bread

150 gr Grated parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

Cut the bread in cubes and toast in oven. Cut the vegetables in small cubes. Heat the oil, add the vegetables and cook till start to become soft. Add the vegetables stock and the cubes of bread. When the bread soak all the soak the soup is ready. Pour it in a soup cup, sprinkle with grated parmesan and serve very hot.


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