A Menu Inspired by the Tuscan Spring

BW Hotelier spoke with Chef Lorenzo Severini, the chef at Le Cirque Signature, The Leela Mumbai on the occasion of the launch of his latest menu in the Mumbai restaurant and what he felt about cooking in India. Here are the excerpts from that interview.

“THE NEW menu is inspired by the spring colours of Tuscany with complex textures and modern day ingredients. Each dish on the new menu is unique in itself. Not only in taste but also in the plating. I have given a lot of thought to colours, flavours, textures, aroma, ingredients and versatility to maintain a good balance on the plate,” Severini told us, adding that he had kept in mind the evolving lifestyle of the customer and introduced healthy options, playing around with ingredients like quinoa and buckwheat.

“As new age Indians are travelling more within India and abroad they are wanting to explore different cuisines. Cooking channels and reality cooking shows are also increasingly popular, people are exposed to the flavors of the world. The Indian gourmet, is well versed with modern day dining. A majority of our diners know what to expect when dining at Le Cirque Signature,” Severini said when asked whether his audience understood and appreciated his new menu.

“I love challenges and it’s not very different from cooking in other countries. I always keep in mind the expectations of a customer dining at a fine dining restaurant, has to be satiated, and I feel this does not depend on the country or religion but to the guest’s palette,” he said adding that it was important to customize and understand guest requirement, engaging with them and taking feedback, while letting his food do the talking.

The question of localizing was also an important one, though Severini felt there were some limitations at a restaurant like Le Cirque. “I like to give a modern twist to traditional food. Most of the ingredients I use, are imported, but I can’t deny the fact that the rich soil of India, cultivates world class produce which sometimes is better than imported ingredients. I get in the best catch of the day when it comes to the seafood. The variety of fresh berries available locally, is simply astonishing. I have made strong connections with the various suppliers who give me the best of the best,” he told us.

The new menu had all the classics from New York Le Cirque, like the Pecorino Cheese Crème Brulee and Pomfret Livernese. In terms of the new dishes, the new menu features, a Warm Quinoa Salad, Crab Parmantier, Porcini Tortellini, Buckwheat Crepes, Morel Lobster and Black Cod, he added.

Every day is a new learning, according to Severini, who was eagerly awaiting the applause or brickbats for his new menu. As for the next menu? “We will get there, when we get there. Creativity is something which is a continuous process and I truly consider cooking as an art,” he concluded.

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