Masterchef S01 ep13: Sergio Mei, Restaurant 4 Seasons, [Milian]

Interview with Sergio Mei

One of my signature dishes is a special spaghetti with Tomato and Basil and for me it is still a joy to cook spaghetti with tomato and basil. Almost anyone can cook Spaghetti and you can find it everywhere but to me it is the way in which I prepare it which makes it distinctive. It is through my continuous research of ingredients that I have discovered a very particular tomato - from Sicily which is called a Pachino tomato . It comes from a little tiny village in Sicily and I have them shipped to me daily.

 

17.17
I am a chef today because I’ve had a growing passion with cooking since I was
a kid. I actually never considered doing any other job. I was born and raised in
Sardinia, which is a very beautiful island, and my father was passionate about
good food. He was not a professional chef but an accomplished cook and so
that is where I developed my passion.

17.47
KM – How old was he when he first realised that cooking was his passion?

18.10
I was 14 when I started to have my first culinary experience in Sardinia. These
experiences were in modern restaurants on the island and then there was a
particular episode when I was only 19 working in a seasonal hotel in Sardinia.
At the beginning of the season the chef in charge didn't show up so the
manager of the hotel asked me to run the kitchen and I took this as a personal
challenge. This was my big opportunity, a very big step and fortunately I was
very successful and from there I started to travel and ventured to the mainland
of Italy. I started to work for more serious restaurants with renowned chefs
and these experiences allowed my skills to develop.


Jewellery Theatre Carravaggio

19.07
KM – What is the difference between the concept of cuisine in Italy and the
concept of cuisine in France?

19.44
French cuisine has a great tradition, it is a fine cuisine, which has been
documented from the time of Escoffier, and is regarded as a classic cuisine.
In Italy we probably have one of the best cuisines in the world, because it is
very genuine and what makes the Italian style of cooking great is that it is
home made style of cooking.

20.11
There is a strong influence of regional cuisines in Italy. Lombardy has a very
defined regional cuisine influenced from Austria. Eighty miles away in
Piedmonte, the cuisine has a stronger French influence and in La Puglia down
in the south the cuisine is totally different and influenced directly by the sea. So
that is what makes Italian Cuisine great are these combinations of home made
style, taking advantage of regional specialities.


Jewellery Theatre Carravaggio

20.45
KM – What ideas does he borrow from French cuisine, from these great chefs
that he adds to his cuisine?

 

21.19
I don’t define my cuisine as being Italian or regional or Lombardian, which is
this region, but more Mediterranean, influenced by all the countries that face
the Mediterranean sea.

21.35
It would be too easy to just go and see a very good recipe and just try to copy
it. That is not what I do. The things that inspire me about other great chefs are
their innovative techniques of working with a product or radical cooking ideas
which when added with my own research become my cuisine.


Jewellery Theatre Elements

22.28
I travel often to visit new restaurants and know personally many great chefs
around the world. I am also fascinated with and collect herbs from every place
I visit.

23.04
One of my signature dishes is a special spaghetti with tomato and basil and for
me it is still a joy to cook spaghetti with tomato and basil. Almost anyone can
cook Spaghetti and you can find it everywhere but to me it is the way in which I
prepare it which makes it distinctive.

Jewellery Theatre Fairytales

23.25
It is through my continuous research of ingredients that I have discovered a
very particular tomato - from Sicily, which is called a Pachino tomato. It comes
from a little tiny village in Sicily and I have them shipped to me daily. It’s the
nuances in flavours and textures, which differentiate a Great Chef - particularly
with a very simple dish.

OFFICIAL WEBSITE:Sergio Mei, Restaurant 4 Seasons, [Milian]