28 Feb We talk to Fabio Cattarin, Chef Executive of Tartufi & Friends Roma
– What do you like most about your work?
First of all, I would say the fact that it allows me to create and try new things, and secondly, the fact that it’s always making me call things into question, because what I do is for my customers and what they want. Trying to understand and interpret their tastes and needs sets a whole series of fine-tuning into motion, which leads to the final dish.
– When did you realise you wanted to be a chef?
In some ways I think I’ve always known, at home I had the example of my dad and, before him, my grandfather, who were both very good at cooking, to follow. I watched them, scrutinised what they did, tried to understand their secrets and mastery at handling even the most classical and traditional of recipes. Then, at the age of 15, I had my first experience in the real world, a summer season on my own, which was hard but made me realise that that was the road I wanted to go down so that one day I could run my own business.
– What creation on the menu of T&F are you most proud of and why?
I’m proud of the entire menu, which also revisits traditional Roman dishes like tagliolino cacio e pepe but with a gourmet twist. More specifically, I’m pleased to have brought artisan pastry-making to the restaurant. Every day we make every single one of our desserts fresh and by hand.
– What’s the most popular dish on the menu? And why do you think that is?
It would have to be tagliolino cacio e pepe and the Tartufi&Friends risotto, but truth be told our bruschetta with their toppings and our homemade chocolate cake also sell very well.
They’re the most popular dishes, our fortes, and the dishes that we’ll never take off the menu.
– Creativity. To what extent is this a part of your work at T&F?
A good dose of creativity is essential for conveying my concept of cooking on a plate. I’ve had a lot of positive feedback from customers who ask for seafood dishes in which I mix together ingredients it was once unheard of to combine. It’s very satisfying.
– What differences in taste have you noticed between Italian and foreign customers?
To my great surprise, I have found our foreign customers to be very open to the entire menu, and very happy to heed our recommendations in choosing dishes. Our Italian customers are instead increasingly demanding, with clear ideas about what they want.
– What’s the recipe of your life?
Tagliolino cacio e pepe (otherwise what kind of Roman would I be?!) and pastries of all kinds.