Chef at Assaggio Trattoria Italiana
My name is Stefano Rossi. I’m the chef of Italian trattoria in Hong Kong. It must be said, thet Italy and Asia in one flask is a terrific combination. But it’s not for me, because cuisine of Assaggio Trattoria Italiana – is true Italian, without eastern «sauces».
I was born in northern Italy, a town surrounded by the Alps. It happens, while you are waiting for food in restaurants, you are brought crunchy breadsticks sticking out of the cup. At first, everyone at the table puts on a modest air, and then fights for the last one. These are grissini, and they are come up with in the city where I was born — Turin.
My childhood, youth and other I spent in Rivoli, along with his grandparents. In general, I grew up there. And it’s not in France, and not on the famous street in Paris, as you might think. Rivoli is a small town near Turin, in the Piedmont region. My culinary roots grow from here.
We weren’t a rich family: for breakfast, lunch and dinner cooked from what was in the kitchen and that was raised in the garden. My grandfather (he is now 97) grew vegetables, fruits, and even kept fowls, rabbits, turkeys. Animals freely walked through the back yard of our house. Of course, then they moved to our plate — I hope vegetarians don’t read it?
And my grandmother cooked in our house. Together we spent all morning in the kitchen — I was her little helper. She entrusted me all sorts of little things, and I never complained about it.
You might think that I cook well just because of my grandmother. But my study only began in her kitchen — then I finished culinary school, and in the 90th I cooked full time. My start in the world of gastronomy was at age 15. I remember the beginning was very difficult. But is it ever easy? But in 2011 the first time I became the head of the whole kitchen. Although I was never shy about low-ranking positions. On the contrary, sought to where I could improve my skills and not to satisfy my pride. Choose better restaurants, and found there a lot of new for myself. It has become an important part of my study.
In the end of 2010, I moved to Hong Kong. My friend opened the restaurant and bar La Piola, with an emphasis on the cuisine of the Piedmont region. I liked my first experience abroad, and I worked in La Piola until the end of 2013. It was an awesome time. Now, in the 2014th, I got the opportunity to work with Miramar Group. And I’m really excited, it’s my new challenge!
Quickly tell you about the most exciting moment in my career is the answer’s a lemon. And not fast too. For me, through all what I went through for all time is cool and interesting. I can never say «I know everything about the food!», because there will always be something new and unknown.
You should know that to be a chef — it’s damn not simple. To kindle sparklers on New Year,to steal baby’s cookies out of the fireplace at Christmas, to hug girl on Valentine’s Day and hope for a kiss? I had to sacrifice these things. When you’re young, everybody go for a walk late, and you need to work. And you have to work a lot, it’s not an office from 9 to 6.
I think each of us in his time experiences ordeals of choice whether to work or, after all, more fun? Here you should take responsibility for the outcome of actions.
The secret is that it’s impossible to treat the work as a job (pardon the tautology). Otherwise it will drive you bats! If you really love cooking, and adore it so that the passion for this deal is combined with a mild form of masochism, you’ll receive the award for this hard life as a chef. It’ll be a happy customer’s face. And not one.
My favorite food is that, tastes of which I still remember from my childhood. It’s a traditional Piedmont cuisine cooked my grandmother’s hands. Agnolotti and other kinds of pasta, beef stew, rabbit or other poultry, or maybe just manually cutted pieces of meat Battuta alla Piemontese.
How can you love the same the whole life? I don’t know. Perhaps it’s just true love.
Does it sound strange? But I don’t cook for myself. Never. And you thought «How is good to be a chef — he decided and cooked himself a luxurious dish in the middle of the night.» If I’m not alone, I’ll be happy to cook, but only for myself — no, I’d rather go out to a restaurant and try something new. By the way, I like Asian food and only now I understood how it differs from the idea of «Asian food» that haunts us in Europe.
My hobby is skiing and everything that has a motor. For 25 years, I has been driving a motorcycle. Of course, in Hong Kong I have it too, and sometimes I go to Zhuhai – just to ride.
You know, picking with a fork my favorite pasta in Assaggio, I can close my eyes and remember how I helped my grandmother in my childhood. I try to move everything that I have, all the knowledge about Italian food on the other side of the world. I don’t adapt to local tastes, and I want to give Italian culinary adventure to all guests of Trattoria.
I just judge by myself. When I want Chinese food, I really want Chinese food. And not Asian with western lotions. Vegetarian — it’s not mine. I hope you agree with me!
My little advice is the next time when you have to make a choice between work (lovely!) and fun with friends — choose first. Yes, it can be difficult. But if you’re 25, you grew up in an ordinary family, and you would like to realize your potential, then simple entertainment won’t help you to do this. You think I’m boring? Possible. But now I have a girlfriend. And favorite deal. It’s happiness, isn’t it?
Tasty dish in the photo — Agnolotti «del Plin» with Castelmagno cheese, butter and sage sauce, served in a basket of parmesan. It’s my creation and my favorite recipe, and so I want to share it with you.
Assaggio Trattoria Italiana
6/F, Hong Kong Arts Centre, 2 Harbour Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong
Tel: 852 2877 3999
Assaggio Trattoria Italiana is a real Italian corner in the bustling and colorful Hong Kong. Relax in light Italian atmosphere, take a glass of wine, let down your legs and enjoy life. Piedmont cuisine taste on your lips and a charming view of the sea and skyscrapers of Hong Kong fell in love with itself and give a feeling of simple happiness. Believe me, you will want to delay the moment when we have to say “Ciao!”….