6 Questions With MasterChef Season 4 Winner Luca Manfé
I had a chance to catch up withLuca Manféwhile he was in town for the Summer Fancy Foods Show. For those of you who haven’t heard of this up-and-coming Celeb Chef & Bauli Brand Ambassador, he was a forerunner and winner of Masterchef Season 4. With a focus on Italian food, specifically his hometown in the Friuli Region, the Italian chef came out of the competition with his own cookbook, My Italian Kitchen, and the money to fund the pending opening of a restaurant that is years in the making. As a Bauli Brand Ambassador, Luca shows you how to use their authentic Italian brand holiday cakes like pandoro and panettone, and everyday items such as the Bauli croissants in creative ways, so you can really wow your guests. He also has his own catering company called “Dinner with Luca”, for which he prepares meals for small groups. A temporarily native New Yorker, Luca, his wife and their child now call Houston their home.
Here’s the scoop:
1. Whats the First Dish You Ever Cooked?
“My first dish was a Clams Risotto I made for my grandmother. It was a disaster. I put in rice, the whole package and no stock. But I was also about 10 years old.”
2. Favorite Restaurant in NYC?
“I love Momofuku. [My favorite dishes are] Pork Buns and the smoked chicken wings. They make the best chicken wings in all of New York.”
He also loves that Momo’s menu is constantly changing. The idea of changing menus with the season is one he adopts in his own cooking.
3. What did you include in your book, My Italian Kitchen?
“The book is a lot of recipes from my mother and grandmother but with my own spin and changes. It’s what I love to eat. And of course dishes from the show.
4. What type of cuisine and ambiance will your new restaurant have?
“I love rustic. It’s going to be tapas, [and have] bricks on the walls, homey. Houston needs something like this. It is growing and in five years it will be a culinary destination in the United States.
5. What’s your current cooking style?
“My cooking style changed after the show. I cooked every day, developed menus that change with the seasons. If you look at a dish from a year and a half ago (when he first one Masterchef), my cooking has completely changed. I make modern touches on classic Italian dishes… The best example would be lasagna. I used to make the classic lasagna, but now it would be more like a pork belly and mushroom lasagna… I am inspired by eating at restaurants.”
6. What advice and tips would you give to a new chef who’s just getting started?
“Use the internet”, (MasterChef Manfé stressed how much he used the internet getting started in order to find recipes he could work with and eventually rework for his own point of view and style). “Understand and Respect Ingredients” (He believes everything has a special way it has to be cooked). “Practice! Its takes practice to cook something perfect every time. It is very hard to reach perfection.”
I for one can’t wait to visit Houston once that restaurant opens and will be following news of it every step of the way! In the meantime, we’ve teamed up with Luca and Bauli Brand to give one lucky reader a box of Bauli Mini Croissants.
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