Chef Federico Belucco brings a taste of his Michelin-starred dining room to Alba
The Isola delle Rose or Island of Roses sits pretty in the Venetian lagoon, just a quick boat ride from the famed Piazza San Marco, Venice’s most recognised public square. This private island, dense with olive, palm, willow, lemon and pine trees, is the location of JW Marriott, which houses the Michelin-starred Italian restaurant, Dopolavoro Dining Room, where chefs Federico Belucco and his mentor, Giancarlo Perbellini hold court. It’s a taste of this restaurant, which was awarded the coveted star just six months into its launch, that the 29-year-old Federico brings to JW Marriott Bengaluru’s Alba for a period of 10 days. Called the Truffle Trousseau, the menu (made with ingredients flown in from Italy along with the chef) will include two of the chef’s signature dishes. We caught up with Federico, ahead of the truffle promotion. Excerpts from the interview:
Give us a peek into Dopolavoro Dining Room.
It’s my third year at Dopolavoro and it has been great so far. It’s a typical Venetian restaurant. The recipes are more light rather than traditional, but it’s good Italian style-cooking more or less.
How do you deal with the pressure of being among the top five, youngest chefs in Italy?
I don’t know about that as I am much older now. But in all seriousness, it’s no pressure for me as I believe that the point of working is doing what you like. If you do that, you will not feel the pressure.
How has your approach to cooking changed after all the awards and recognition?
I’m not sure it has changed a lot. I started with a certain type of philosophy and I’m still sticking to it. It’s true that I try to do better every day or deliver at the same, if not at a higher level.
How would you describe your cooking style?
A big part of the Dopolavoro menu depends on our garden, from where we source our ingredients. It’s just outside the restaurant and it’s where we grow our vegetables and herbs. We have three menus — a four-course vegetarian meal, a five-course meal with a focus on seafood and the signature dish of our Chef Consultant, Giancarlo Perbellini, and a 10-course affair that features some typical Venetian recipes. So I’d say it’s fresh, light and modern.
What was your favourite dish as a child.
I’d say Breaded Veal Rack which is sometimes done with chicken as well. This is a traditional dish from Milan.
How different is modern Italian cooking from the traditional style?
Now it’s a lot more light. We also use a lot of vegetables. All the traditional recipes are quite heavy.
What would like to change about the global perception of Italian food?
It’s not just pasta and pizza. Of course, they are part of our traditional food, but it’s not just that. Specially in the North, we don’t have a lot of pizza and pasta. I worked and lived all my life in the North. So it’s not really my traditional food.
Tell us a little bit about the truffle menu.
What we are presenting here is dishes that have been tweaked to include truffles. One of the dishes is a Risotto with smoked cauliflower, grated grape must, and green apple lamb. All these flavours work perfectly with truffle.
The Truffle Trousseau is on from today until December 10 at Alba, JW Marriott, Bengaluru.