Maurizio developed an unrivalled passion for the culinary world after spending most of his lifetime in the kitchen. From his parents’ restaurant in Italy, to impressive dining destinations in Monte Carlo and China, before making the move to Indonesia, where he made a name for himself at Bulgari Hotels & Resorts Bali. Now he’s taking Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve in Ubud, Bali, under his wing where he applies his respect for traditional recipes and modern techniques.
E: How did you first develop a passion for the culinary industry?
Maurizio: My parents used to run a restaurant, my father was a chef and my mother was a restaurant manager. I was born into the industry, it’s a big part of my life. A week after I was born, my mother put me in a stroller and went back to the restaurant. I used to spend all my day in the restaurant, helping my father in the kitchen. When I was about 8 years old, I used to go shopping with my father to the market for the restaurant. He would teach me which products to pick. When I was about 12 years old, I started to look at my father as a role model, someone I aspired to be. Passion for food is in our blood, since I was a kid my parents taught me to eat well. I was practically born into the industry, the kitchen for me was my home, my playground, my family and my friends. So every time I go to work now, it feels like going to my family.
E: Where do you draw inspiration to create your dishes?
M: It changes over time. For the first two years when I was in Bulgari, I was more modern, by trying to give a modern, fancy touch. Then I realised that tradition is important in the kitchen, so I started sticking to the basics of traditional cuisine, but still giving a modern touch. Inspiration usually comes from my past, I’m from southern Italy, so I get inspired a lot by the southern Italian bay cuisine. The last few years since I’ve been in Mandapa, I’ve also got to experience Asian cuisine a lot. I started to get involved in creating the Indonesian menu in Sawah restaurant, and I really enjoyed it because it was totally different for me.
E: Can you describe your cooking style?
M: I take inspiration from basic recipes – an authentic touch is still mandatory for me – and change the methods, but the real flavours still have to be there. I don’t like to mix too many ingredients, I usually stick to four to five ingredients. I’m traditional, but presentation-wise I always try to do something modern. When guests comment that they can taste each ingredient on the plate, that’s what’s important for me. No need to put raspberries just to give colour, you know? If the colour is dark, it’s dark. What’s important is that the dish tastes good. Things on the plate need to have a connection to one another, otherwise it doesn’t make any sense.
E: Can you share the most memorable moments in your career?
M: First was when I was in my father’s restaurant, because it was my first step in the culinary world. Second was when I was in Monte Carlo, because I learned a lot about French cuisine, the basics, the discipline and the different kinds of techniques. The third moment was when I came to Bali. My stint at Bulgari was the first time in my career when I had the freedom to express myself in the kitchen.
E: Do you still have future goals in your career that you would like to achieve?
M: I never thought about it too much, I didn’t think about wanting to be the executive chef at a five-star hotel, or wanting this or that. For me the most important thing is my passion. As long as I can do what I love, I’m happy to go anywhere. That’s what I’m doing now, I’m happy here because I can follow my passion.
E: What was the most challenging moment in your career?
M: The first time when I moved to Asia, I worked in China and it was a big challenge. The communication was very hard, and the way people there see Italian cuisine – it was totally different from what I was used to do.
- Pasta dough
- 200g hard flour
- 25g semolina
- 200g egg yolk
- 500g broccoli
- 20g onion
- 1 garlic
- 100ml broccoli stock
- 1 tin anchovies
- 2 lemons
- lemon juice
- 100g Caciocavallo cheese
- 25g cooking cream
- 230g burrata cheese
- 20g parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper
- 500g anchovy
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 lemons
- 2tbsp white wine vinegar
- 20g Taggiasca olives
- Start with the pasta dough by mixing all the ingredients slowly. Rest the dough for one hour.
- Once rested, run the dough through a pasta roller on progressively thinner settings until you have a sheet of paper-thin pasta.
- Cut the sheet into rounds using a round cutter, spacing the rounds as close together as possible.
- Place one teaspoon of filling in the middle of each round of pasta. Brush with water along the edge of the round to moisten.
- Fold the dough over to form a half moon, then draw the two corners together to form a rounded bonnet-shape. Press tightly to seal. Toss with flour, set aside on a well-floured baking sheet and cover.
- Melt the caciocavallo cheese with the cooking cream in a bain marie for a few minutes and set aside
- Cut the broccoli into small tips. Blanche it.
- Sauté the onion with garlic and anchovy until caramelised. Add the blanched broccoli with some stock and leave to cool.
- Blend everything smoothly. Add salt and pepper and olive oil to taste.
- Clean, wash and debone the fish.
- Blend all the ingredients and marinate the anchovy for five to six hours (depending on size).
- Cut one lemon into wedges (take out the pulp and keep only the zest).
- Squeeze the other lemon, sauté the zest in a pan with olive oil; add salt and sugar, lemon juice, and cook slowly until it is confit.
Plating & presentation
- Boil water and add some salt. Cook the tortelli in the salty boiling water.
- Place on top of the broccoli cream, brushed in a circle on a plate.
- Garnish with lemon comfit, broccoli and micro herbs.
Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve
Jalan Kedewatan, Ubud, Gianyar,
Bali 80571, Indonesia
T: (+62) 3614792777