Article repost from Conde Nast Johansens
We spoke with Executive Chef Gianluca Re Fraschini at Eden Roc at Cap Cana about his approach to food, his favourite ingredients and how the culinary scene in his home country of Italy is changing.
Local ingredients from foreign countries represent the culture of each one individually. It has a great deal of impact when you try to blend your cooking technique with new, unique flavors, textures and aromas. It’s what makes me, being a chef, appreciate and evolve career-wise; never letting behind the primary base structure that identifies your passion for cooking.
Gianluca Re Fashchini is the Executive Chef at Eden Roc at Cap Cana in the Dominican Republic. Here, five-star service is delivered with a boutique mentality in stylish surroundings that ooze Caribbean charm. There are five eateries at Eden Roc, including fine dining at Mediterraneo, casual bites at Riva Bar or The Beach Club, fishy dishes at La Palapa and private meals at La Cava. Whichever dining option you go for, you’re in for a treat.
What is your approach or philosophy toward food at your restaurants/hotel?
My approach towards food in general is simplicity. The most delicate flavors are accomplished with the wide variety of aromatic herbs and the freshness of the ingredients that the dish is composed of. The time spent on the preparation during the daytime for the night service is crucial to reach the best results. All that is needed is dedication, passion and a great deal of time to allow natural ingredients to bring out the best in each plate.
What are the flavors or ingredients that embody the Dominican Republic?
Dominican cooking is a cultural blend of European and African influences. It is, above all, a simple and nourishing cuisine which is not highly spiced. The traditional ingredients are: oregano, lime, parsley, coriander and “cilantrico”. When it comes to meat, Dominicans typically use them in stews which simmer for a very prolonged time marinating the meat prior to its cooking for 24 hours in a mixture of herbs, lime juice and rum.
What regional ingredients are you most excited about right now?
The island offers a variety of produce year-round, and each region has its specialties. For example, the northern part of the country is characterized for being very mountainous and an important agricultural sector. It is where we can find different types of berries, bananas, avocados, rice, cocoa and coffee beans.
Coming from Italy, what are the changes you’ve seen in the food industry recently?
The culinary scene of Italy, where I was born, is distinctively characterized for being traditional. But it is now evolving in the segmentation of cooking depending on the area (north, center or south) of the country. They are opening to meet the demand—not just in farmhouse kitchens, but also at hotels and wineries. Another demand is the use of artisanal food products and hand picking products for immediate use. In general, the classic and contemporary style of Italian cuisine will specialize more and more on the elaboration of each component of a dish rather than having a pre-cooked product on a shelf.
Where have you travelled that has had an impact on how you cook and serve food?
Malaysia. I travelled there during 2004 and experienced an amazing variety of high-quality street food. It was great encountering a wide variety of food with a mix of culture and religion like Hindu, Muslim and Christian. Small local markets in Kuala Lumpur have a range of exotic fruits and vegetable that are indeed worth utilizing in modern cuisine.
Where do you want to go next to explore their food?
South America, between Argentina and Peru. I have heard about the big revolution in these countries with the upcoming new generation of young chefs, diversifying and innovating the current culinary offer.
Learn more about Eden Roc at Cap Cana and enquire directly with the hotel to book your next stay.
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