It is mid summer in Delhi and Skeeter’s pasta love is beginning to warm up. 20 minute pasta dinners that can double up as breakfasts are the best way to ensure least time spent in the kitchen. Pasta thoughts led Skeeter back to a lunch with chef David Rocco
, who is widely acclaimed for his Italian style of cooking. Though this luncheon happened much earlier, if you can recall an experience with profound thoughts, you can bet it was a great one.
A bunch of bloggers gathered at West View, ITC Maurya
for a meetup with the chef who claims he’s not a chef, he’s Italian! There are a few things that would draw one to David Rocco’s food shows. There is some country music thrown in the shows for sure, David loves interacting with locals and trying out their recipes and all the shows are shot so well that you almost want to be at the place which Rocco is showcasing.
Cut to the event. Predictably, the conversations revolved around food. While David Rocco told us about his tryst with Indian food and Indian oils, we quizzed him about which olive oil should one really pick up. David told us that he loved the unique flavour and the pungency of Mustard oil, though his loyalties still lie with Olive oil. He went through the whole cycle of attaining mustard oil- from farm to bottle. Skeeter personally prefers mustard oil and all things mustard
. Once a person realises the depth and flavour mutsard oil can give to a dish, there is no looking back. David also shared how Italians take some days off work and go olive-picking and they are paid handsomely in hold your breadth: Olive oil! Ain’t that cool now? It is these nuggets from various travel tales of a person that make great stories and great experiences.
Having arrived at the hotel a little early, Skeeter and Anita
got time to soak in one of the best views of Delhi from the rooftop balcony of West View. Delhi never appeared prettier and so green. We were joined by other bloggers soon. David joined us at the table a little later. Though David didn’t cook for us that day, the recipes of the food that we had at West View that day, were all his. Chef Manisha Bhasin
of ITC also joined the table, adding another star to the conversation. We began with a Neapolitan style pasta with chunks of eggplant and mozarella sauce (Rigatoni con Pomodori e Melanzane) which was simple and delicious. I could have had endless helpings of the same. It was paired with Fratelli Sauvignon blanc. Skeeter like Fratelli
from the selection of Indian wines on offer at wine stores. Next came the Beetroot Risotto, so well plated that Skeets could just laminate it and frame it on her wall. Skeets managed to do better. She took pictures of it. Grin. Perfect pink in colour, the Risotto came with such gorgeous sides of broccoli doused in olive oil and the cutest baby carrots for company. It was paired with Fratelli
Sangiovese. Skeeter loved the bite of the Risotto to bits. Perfectly cooked. Next came the Dolce, which should’ve been the star of the meal, but were sorely disappointing. Will skip writing about it.
All said, it was an afternoon well spent. David Rocco is a charming and talented chef. Oops Italian! From plucking and eating lemons, skin on in Amalfi episodes to tossing pizzas with two chefs in another episode and then the drunken spaghetti episode, he’s fun on TV and in real life.
He was in India to shoot for the Indian chapter of his show, so we will get to see more of him on TV, and that too in familiar locales. Skeeter is looking forward to it! It was fun meeting Ruchira, Deeba and Sangeeta again.