Cooking with Fulvio Pierangelini

I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to cook with arguably, the best chef in Italy – Fulvio Pierangelini. Fulvio established his reputation in the 80’s with his phenomenally successful Tuscan restaurant, Gambero Rosso. The man with two michelin stars to his name is currently head chef at the Rocco Forte Hotel Collection. Eminently respected by other esteemed chefs, he was recently asked to prepare a special dish at the 25th anniversary dinner of Alain Ducasse’s restaurant in Monaco. He is not only a culinary enigma, but also a hoot. Over Americano’s and American Spirits, he offered up some sage advice on both life and food. From dealing with men, to preparing the perfect mash, I couldn’t be more honoured or grateful to have spent the day with this wonderful man.


Fusili with fresh tomato sauce – Apparently the further away from August you get in the year, the more sugar the sauce will need to balance acidity. Another tip I gleaned was to tear the skinned tomatoes rather than chopping them, as you’ll end up with a smoother texture. A little parmesan at the end will give it a slightly creamy finish. I’d also use this as the base for melanzane or maybe even with a poached egg and some basil.
The deli we visited had excellent tuna – sushi grade and could have been eaten raw. Fulvio chose to marinate it in a bounty of herbs, spices and fresh orange juice. He quickly seared it before serving. Another tip is to rub tuna with cumin, cinammon (yep) and an italian herb mixture before frying.
Have you ever wondered how the Italians make their mash potato so smooth and creamy yet curiously light? Try boiling the potatoes with their skins on, then peeling them. This makes them fluffier and avoids a lumpy texture. Whisk them with a little milk, add some salt & pepper and at the very last moment stir in some good quality olive oil. Fulvio served the seared and sliced tuna on a mountain of mash as well as some crunchy, sauteed artichokes.

Food According to Fulvio

1. Make mash by boiling the potatoes with their skins on.
2. Add more sugar to fresh tomato sauce the further away from August you get.
3. Fry your food in an appropriate sized pan. Don’t fry one steak in an enormous pan, otherwise the fat will burn and make your entire meal carcinogenically filthy.
4. To be as slick as Fulvio you’ll want to do as much preparation as you can prior to avoid being all aflap in the kitchen. Chopping, boiling etc.
5. Try to use seasonal ingredients where you can. No one wants grey tomatoes in February.

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