Food & Drink Magazine

Know Your Chef - Rumina Lugaresi , Artusi Ristorente e Bar

By Maneesh Srivastva @urbanescapades

Know your Chef - Rumina Lugaresi , Artusi Ristorente e BarBeing a chef is not as fancy as it seems to be, donning that chef apron and hat and putting together all the exotic ingredients made available to you. Being a chef is all about being creative, flexible, innovative and giving your best at every single dish being prepared in your kitchen. It is about having no weekends off, about having no or less social life, and managing to stand in the kitchen to put your best foot forward to satisfy each customer waiting outside. Often it’s a thankless job, but there are some people who really take the effort of meeting the chef and saying a “Thank you” even at a casual dinner. We decided to meet the chef herself at our recent lunch invite at The Artusi Ristorente e Bar in M Block, GK-2 Market in New Delhi.
Romina Lugaresi came to India in January 2014 when the owners of Artusi (Gurpinder and Oscar) put an exciting proposal to her about joining the Ristorente as the Executive Chef in October 2013. It’s her first visit to India and she is as excited about having seen the Taj Mahal as any other tourist is. She loves traveling and learning about different cuisines, but her passion r
emains to promote the very original food from her hometown Emilia Romagna, which is rich of flavours. Respecting the fusion dishes being served across Italian restaurants, she says, she wants to stick to the real taste from the town which is totally different. Even if it doesn’t suit the taste buds of the masses, she wants to make sure to serve the authentic cuisine and is confident about people being regulars at the restaurant who like to try something different. To maintain the authenticity, she has visited almost 200-odd companies and farms around Delhi from the time she is here, to check the ingredients and availability of the products she needs in the kitchen. A lot of ingredients that are not available in India are imported from Italy. One example she gave of trying the Indian chocolate which she found low in Cacao, so they flew in the rich chocolate from Emilio Romagna.
Having a terrific sense of humour, she jokes of having a hard time with the Indian staff she has to work back in the kitchen. The screaming Italian lady they have to face every day, still has to learn a lot of Indian words! Having worked in Dallas, Texas in 2000 and then in Washington D.C from 2006- 2010, she came back to her hometown to start her own restaurant in Italy. But someone who loves to be in the kitchen rather than manage the other responsibilities of owning a restaurant, felt the offer from the Artusi owners came as Godsent, as India visit was on her mind. 
Romina comes from the family of cooks, and always remembers her mother or her grandmother cooking some handmade pasta and other Italian delicacies in the kitchen from when she was 4 years old. She says, that’s how her love for food or cooking developed. Also having tried a lot of Indian cuisine, “Saag Paneer” or “Palak paneer” remains her favorite.
A heartfelt “Thank you” to the very full-of-life and enthusiastic Chef Romina, for introducing us to such an authentic cuisine and delicious dishes!

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