Interview With The Chef
The ever-popular Prego at The Westin Resort Nusa Dua, Bali has just welcomed its brand new Italian chef, Davide Allievi who comes with an impressive background and valuable Michelin Star kitchen experience. Born and raised in Italy, Chef Davide aspires to bring all the delightful flavours of his charming Italian hometown to the much-beloved dishes served at Prego.
- We understand that you grew up in Italy. Did growing up in a country with some of the world’s most iconic and delicious foods inspire you to become a Chef?
Certainly! Growing in a country like Italy which, in addition to an important and respected culinary tradition, also boasts a very high quality of the products used to make it, greatly helps the palate and the whole creative mind of those who want to undertake a job like mine.
- How old are you and which part of Italy are you from?
I am 27 years old and I come from a small town exactly halfway between Milan and Como in the province of Monza and Brianza in Northern Italy.
- How has Italian culture or the particular region you’re from influenced your cooking style today?
Certainly my cuisine reflects the traditions of local food handed down in the family, but at the same time, having lived abroad for a long time and having seen many types of cuisine, I can say that my cooking style today reflects my past, respecting the ingredients of the area where I am, bringing them to their maximum flavor using innovative cooking techniques to guarantee an experience for those who taste the dish.
- How and when did you decide that you wanted to become a Chef, and growing up, were you surrounded by people who loved to cook?
I have always felt inside me a type of vocation for this passion, surely at the beginning having people like my mom, my grandmother and my aunt full of passion in cooking the most delicious delicacies next to me immediately put me in touch with the kitchen, then it is obvious that when you undertake this passion from a working point of view then it is right to work alongside great pioneers in the sector who can teach you as much as possible to improve and express yourself in the best way, fortunately I had the opportunity to work with great masters that helped me improve and grow exponentially.
- Did you always want to be a chef or did you become one by accident?
As I said before, I was certainly lucky because my passion that later became my job chose me; I can say, however, that when I went to London I knew very little English, so when I accepted a job in the main kitchen of a restaurant I was a little bit disoriented. On the first day the pastry chef brought me to work in the pastry kitchen and I started working with him in the patisserie, after 2 weeks the first paycheck arrived I realized that there has been a mistake, in fact there was another Davide who was meant to be assigned to the patisserie and that because of the misunderstanding he found himself working in the main kitchen. From there, I obtained my experience in pastry where I got great results and also working with some star chefs a bit by accident.
- How long have you been in the culinary industry? When did you first start and where?
I’ve been in the industry for 11 years. I started in small restaurants around my hometown and then I started travelling the world to broaden my horizons.
- Do you have a mentor, someone that you look up to or obtain inspiration from?
As said before I have had the chance to work together with some of the most important master chefs that gave me a lot of inspiration. To mention few; Carlo Cracco and Felice Lo Basso.
- We read that you ran the Michelin Plate winning Limoni Italian Restaurant at The Ritz Carlton Guangzhou, China. What was that like?
Being the chef de cuisine of Limoni Italian restaurant has been a challenging experience; the expectations were very high and the goal very clear; all the management team put their hope in me and my team to get the Michelin Plate. With hard work and extensive working hours me and my team managed to achieve and excess all expectations with great results. This experience really made me grow a lot and increased my skills in the industry.
- How large is your team here and how do you motivate and inspire them?
My team is composed of 9 chefs. I’m very lucky because they are all very young and eager to learn new things every day; so it’s very easy to motivate them to do better every day.
- Prego serves delicious and authentic Italian favourites that are loved by all. Do you have a particular specialty that you would like guests to try? Your signature, if you will. Or a favourite dish.
For sure the new menu we’re going to launch really represents my cuisine and will give the opportunity to my guests to really get to know me and my cooking style. Among all, probably the dish that better represents me is the huge selection of fresh handmade pasta and the desserts.
- What can guests expect at Prego in the next few months now that you’re here? Any plans to launch/introduce new menu/dishes soon?
Apart from the new menu coming soon, we are also working on new monthly promotions and also we’re working for upgrading our Sunday brunch, by including some live cooking session to let the guests interact with us and also try some freshly made dishes straight at their table and also introducing a short a la carte menu that we change monthly where the guests can chose dish as a la carte.
- Every chef has a secret technique or a secret/favourite ingredient that they turn to again and again. What’s yours?
My secret techniques can’t be told, otherwise wouldn’t be secret anymore, but I can tell you that my favourite ingredients are chocolate and eggs that can be used and adapted to many situations.
- What do you think of Indonesian and Balinese foods? Do you have a favourite Indonesian and Balinese dish and why?
I think that Balinese food is very rich and has a lot of culture behind. My favourite dish is Nasi Goreng, not spicy of course.
- Of all the countries you’ve ever worked in, which is your favourite? And which would you say, is the most challenging?
Probably my favourite country is the UK, because the mix of culture that you find in London can’t be found anywhere else, and it really helps to get in touch with different cultures and broaden your horizons. Also the culinary scene is one of the richest in the world.
Instead, china might have been the most challenging, especially because of the language barrier. Luckily I managed to learn it and in the end I enjoyed staying in a country so different compared to mine. Of course In the future I hope to add Bali to the list of favorites, since I’ve just arrived and it’s too early to judge.
The Westin Resort Nusa Dua Bali
Kawasan Pariwisata Nusa Dua, BTDC Lot N-3, Nusa Dua, Bali 80363
Ph: +62 361 771906