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In search of new flavours
Chef Thomas Marchi at La Cucina. Picture by Rashbehari Das

What: Introduction of Thomas Marchi, La Cucina’s new chef.

Where: La Cucina, Hyatt.

When: February 6.

The chef: “The possibility of new experiences” brings the Verona born Marchi to Calcutta, who has previously worked in various cities across Italy and most notably at the Michelin-starred Maffei. It is the play of contrasts that he is particularly interested in. “You will find a light plate and a strong plate. That’s my style. I mix and match hot with the cold,” said the 26-year-old Italian.

Marchi has drawn up a new menu featuring 42 items, including the Verona specialities Zuppa Di Pasta E Fagioli (red kidney bean soup with pasta) and Tortino Di Funghi Polenta Con Formaggio E Salsa Alla Mediterranea (oven-baked polenta with porcini, gorgonzola and Mediterranean sauce), the latter being a personal favourite.

For dessert, there is Tarta-tin Di Mele Con Salsaalle Fragile, an apple cake with strawberry sauce.

He also plans to introduce more “unusual” varieties of pasta such as the Casserich, which looks similar to a Swiss Roll and Cassoncalle which is a triangular form of ravioli. He has also experimented with egg-less pasta, which will be on the menu for the foreseeable future due to the bird flu. “It is made of flour and water. It took me a couple of days to get it right,” explained the chef who was drawn to Calcutta for its large vegetarian contingent.

Marchi has played around with the presentation of dishes from the “old kitchen” using “contrasting colours” giving them a “fresh” look.

And what about his experience at Maffei in Verona? “The food had to be perfect and there was no room for change, even if the customers wanted any,” he confessed. At Hyatt, however, he felt, there was more freedom.

Voiceover: “Thomas’s style of cooking is very simple as he doesn’t use many ingredients. So the individual flavours are retained. His is more of a home-style cooking. We plan to go with this for a month, then analyse people’s reactions and adapt dishes as needed,” said Hemant Mehta, executive chef, The Hyatt.

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