Our invite for the Master Chef Culinary Class read as ‘When the world’s best pick up the ladle and recreate the magic of their cooking, you better be around’. And of course we can’t miss that now, can we? We promptly reached Sheraton, and were ushered into Bene to see the stage and tables all set. It was already an interesting start to the evening, on meeting the chef, he explained some of his ideas for the evening, and a background to the recipes that he was going to demonstrate for us. The food he feels passionately about is from his home, in the south of Italy, and he started off the class with a brief interaction, leading onto the first recipe for the evening – the Panzerotti – traditional calzone from Apulia – with filling of tomato and mozzarella. This was fried and served with balsamic vinegar caviar pearls.
So the trick to making good Panzerotti – following the chef’s recipe – is to put flour, add yeast in warm water and sugar, dissolve it, add water and salt, and then knead vigorously – for 10 minutes. Yes, you need a LOT of arm strength for this, After letting the mix rest for 2 hours, make small balls from the dough, like you do when making puris. These balls get stuffed with tomato and mozzarella, seal them and shallow fry and serve hot.
Up next was the cavatelli al pesto. Cavatelli is a wheat pasta popular in the south of Italy, typical in the regions of Puglia. This pasta has an elongated shape, hollowed inward, and is easy to hand make – as the chef demonstrated quite easily, while the rest of us dabbled in attempts. The Cavatelli was served in pesto sauce topped off with extra virgin olive oil. Mamma mia! And the last dish, was of course, a sweet one. And my favorite. Biscotti di mandorle – an Italian Almond Biscuit – so creamy and buttery, just loved it!
We then moved to the pool area, set up quite recently at the Sheraton rooftop, where there were some interesting pass-around Italian canapes and refreshing Sparkling cocktails, as we sat on the pool chairs, the city bright and lit up all around. A great evening, with a lot of learning and discussions, fantastic class by the chef. And we went home, happy and sated.