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Heinz Beck, character and firmament

The german chef hates who proposes for italian what is not with unrecognizable ingredients and loves pasta "cooked in any possible way”

He was born in Germany, but his love to Italy induced him to move to Rome 15 years ago. There he is going to take on the Executive chef of the “La Pergola” restaurant, and to marry the Sicilian Teresa Maltese. We are speaking about Heinz Beck, a professional chef that built his reputation through a day-by-day hard working and not through bizarre inventions. He was formed at the professional school of Passau; starting from 1985, when he was 22, he begun a climbing to the stars of the Michelin guide. First we worked for two German catering, endowed with one Michelin star, then to Tantris restaurant, in Monaco, with three stars. Later, he polished his art as sous-chef with the starred master Heinz Winkler. In 1994, he become chef of the blazoned Hotel Rome Cavalieri restaurant, in Rome, furnished with impressive ceiling trompe d’oeil, rare XVIII century furniture, tapestries and paintings. Hence, the Michelin stars began to shine on his restaurant, too (now they are three). At the same time, he received many recognitions from famous Italian guides. Heinz Beck is also author of a number of gastronomic guides, such as “Pasta”, “Finger food” and “Vegetarian”, published by the Bibliotheca Culinaria di Lodi. In this interview, he tells us some strongholds of his culinary philosophy, the reveal two souls: one of passion and one realistic.

My philosophy.
“When I came to Italy to manage the “La Pergola” restaurant at Hilton Hotel in Rome about fifteen years ago, I did not know well Italian food. I knew what it is proposed for Italian food abroad. Then, I developed my own idea of Italian food: dishes dedicated to people who live in Rome. To realize it, I made an effort to understand traditions and ways of thinking. Romans, Italians, foreigners, they should perceive the same identity when they come to “La pergola”: Mediterranean, not too strictly tied to the territory, based on excellent ingredients, healthy.”

What I don’t like of the Italian food cooked abroad.
“Proposing for italian what is not, with unrecognizable ingredients. Many cooks have never been to Italy and lack the cultural interest to do it.”

The typical product.
“For my dishes, I only use excellent ingredients, 99% of them from Italy. If they are not, I write it down in the menu”.

My favorite dish.
“Pasta, cooked in any possible way”.

The dish which represented my own challenge.
“Pumpkin flowers fried open and stuffed. I worked for three months at it; it is extremely hard since the pumpkin flower tends to close when put in oil.”

Extra virgin olive oil.
“I keep about thirty different oils, in an abundant choice of tastes: from soft ones, to fruity and hot ones. I choose them according to the dish: for instance, for a carpaccio of scampi I use a delicate oil from Liguria, whereas I prefer a hot oil from Puglia for a meat sauce.”

The wine list.
“I have approximately 3000 wines in my wine list and 60000 in my cellar”.

My dream.
“To stabilize my achievements”.

A restaurant named after you abroad.
“Everything is possible, never say never when you can take advantage of the right chance…future is unpredictable. I never ran after dreams, I always waited for the right time. Building tomorrow”.

THE RESTAURANT

Ristorante “La Pergola” - Via A. Cadlolo, 101 – 00136 Roma – Tel. (+39) 06.35092152 Fax (+39) 06. 3509 2165 LaPergola.Rome@hilton.com www.cavalieri-hilton.it www.heinzbeck.com: http://www.heinzbeck.com


by Monica Sommacampagna
04 may 2009, Food & Fun > Gastronomy

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