August 15, 2012

Exclusive Interview with Francesco Brocca: Executive Chef of Cavalli Middle East

Preparations and the hype is on the rise as the date for the Cavalli Caffe opening gets closer. I took a few minutes from Italian Michelin Star Chef Francesco Brocca, Executive Group Chef at Pragma Group/White Label/Cavalli Club Dubai busy schedule to learn more about how he promises that Cavalli Cafe will be offering a higher level of any local Italian restaurant in town today.

Chef Franceso Brocca is someone to get to know. Having travelled the world and cooked in different cities, like Dubai, Seoul, Japan, Amsterdam, Brussels, Chef Francesco takes me behind the scenes into his love and passion for food.

Lets say you’re doing the Cavalli menu restaurants across the Middle East and maybe more…did you think about adding one signature dish across the world, where Italian is mixed with the local cuisine of that part of the world? 

It can be done, but at the moment Cavalli is Italian and we’re not thinking about it. But why not?

One of my favorite cafes around the world is the Armani Café, can you compare it with Cavalli?

You can compare it, but we are a little bit more upscale. Although Cavalli Cafee will offer breakfast but we categorize ourselves little bit more upscale than the Armani experience.

Should we expect an Italian Trattoria or an Italian high-end restaurant?

It’s neither a trattoria nor a restaurant… Its in the middle. A high-end Italian restaurant experience but since we offer breakfast, lunch and dinner, it has been named as a cafe.

How challenging was it to find the ingredients in Lebanon?

It was a big challenge. We couldn’t find everything I dreamt to have but we’re very close…we can compromise. There were some cheeses I needed, some olive oil and some herbs…good quality is difficult to find… but that is the case everywhere. Lebanon is the land of challenges and I think it wont be too hard to find it all.

You have visited the world and worked in different cities, do you only do Italian cuisine?

No, no that’s not true. Cavalli is an Italian restaurant…but I’ve also worked with other types of food. For example our restaurant in Dubai serves Sushi and a variety of Japanese cuisine.

Did you taste other Italian restaurants in Lebanon?

Yes I have, I have tried two already and I am planning to taste others as well. I think they can do better. As for us, we promise you better.

How long will you be in Beirut for?

I will be here for a couple of months at least. My plan is to turn Cavalli Caffe into one of the best Italian restaurants in town.

So people will get the chance to meet you in person when  they come to Cavalli?

Yes, for sure. Today a chef is not just a man in a white. A chef today works as a restaurant manager as well. You must make the effort and go out, talk to people, meet them, know how they liked the food and so on. Some guests like to talk while others don't. But I believe that it's nice to have an international chef who makes you more comfortable.

How do you like Lebanon so far?

Lebanese are very nice people, I really enjoying my time. Our story has started, and I hope to see you all at Cavalli.

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