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Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Celebrating Success Stories & An Exclusive Interview with Chef Niko Romito ***

Here is a "From Food To Life" post and it goes like this:

Picture courtesy of and copyrighted to Ristorante Reale
Cherry Soup with sheep milk ice-cream by Michelin Chef Niko Romito

I don't know what it is about this line of work that makes people (all, the involved and the bystanders) become overly critical! In the past few years, I have been watching this phenomenon and have over and over seen how most people always choose to either focus on the negatives or at least be very highly critical! No one seems to focus on the success stories behind even the minutest endeavor! Somehow it all becomes about perfection, which we all know does not exist! And when all else fails it just becomes personal!

I was at a radio interview with a few chefs the other day and was terribly amazed how the focus of the interview was for Michelin Chefs to criticize practices and other chefs! The 3 Michelin chefs I was with found the interview very annoying and were highly uncomfortable. In a very nice way, they tried to express that they did not want to "focus on the negatives" that they were here to share their experiences, to celebrate and focus on the positives in people's restaurants and chefs' practices. Regardless, the host continued to throw such questions at them and we all had to go through a long discussion offline that created so much tension!

Picture courtesy of and copyrighted to Ristorante Reale
Veal with dried Porcini mushrooms, almond, thyme and black truffle gel by Michelin Chef Niko Romito


Likewise, I have been meeting up with some others in the course of this event, who each time had nothing good to say about anything! Who just threw criticism just about anything and everything that came to their minds that day (relative or not)! What is it that makes people unable to see the bright side to things? The Success Stories. While some criticism can be constructive, most are overly destructive! That is what I am talking about here. In the end all people alike, aspire and work hard to achieve something meaningful to them. All people want to succeed and all people want to be the best, all try and life happens, throwing people off sometimes, working in our favour at other times; as ever... We watch ourselves and others, then it is totally up to us to find the angle from which to see things and the voice with which to express ourselves. Totally a personal choice to celebrate or criticise. I personally have always or let's say mostly (as nothing is perfect) chosen to celebrate (apart from this post where I choose to criticise this) and what better way to celebrate a success story than with the current best of the best in Italian cuisine?

I am starting my Celebrating #SuccessStories series with an exclusive interview with 3 Michelin Star Chef Niko Romito. He says he is not born to do this (being a chef), that he was eagerly studying economics and his heart was set on being a broker. But life conspired against him and that dream was cut short when his father passed away and he had to take over his family's business (a restaurant). He was a tad less than happy to go into the food industry, but like a true numbers man he became determined to make it work and be very very successful. So little did he know that this little change, this life conspiracy against his dream, was going to make a huge star out of him. That he was only to become Italy's best! Niko Romito along with his sister took over Ristorante Reale revamped the whole place and Niko cooked his heart out and translated his lost financial broker dream into an affair with immediate local as well as pan Italian provincial produce that he deployed to renovate loved classics, and decided to pour it all out on plates that will eventually contain and pass on all his emotions to his diners. Yes I ate his food and the man is in every bite, speaking through a pea ice-cream starter with a tuile of parmesan about a season, so green, so abundant, and still cold before warming up and shaping the parmesan... entirely and deeply delicious! This in-short story here is truly worth celebrating.

Picture courtesy of and copyrighted to Ristorante Reale
Ristorante Reale


This simple, ordinary story of a lost dream, of life happening despite of our plans, of being thrown into things we thought were not for us, of change (the forceful type), and of determination and action instead of being rolled up in a corner crying over loss... this here is a success story. Regardless the details, the many attempts to perfect, the honing and retraining, the reconditioning of one's thoughts... which while taking place might have been ugly or highly "Criticize-able" the end of the road, paved the way for a star to shine.

So here is to success, to the bright side and to focusing on the positives. Here is to reality, not fabricated success stories created to entertain us at the late hours through a silver screen selling comodities. Here is to real life and the people living it, to strength and to achievements. Let the critics criticize all they want because that is all they do. And let the doers do, because that is what they do!

Watch the great man behind the name: Niko Romito in this exclusive interview, where I pick his brain about his food philosophy, and what he celebrates in his cuisine as well as expresses in his dishes. Also discussing why it is important for someone so celebrated as he is to take part in the Italian Cuisine World Summit. Bear with me as most Italians speak only Italian, so he will speak his language. However, Master chef Walter Potenza (Yes so him! The Walter Potenza :) interprets Niko's words in English for us to understand.





The Michelin Guide (also often criticised)
A Michelin Star is a success story for chefs. Chefs feel they received the ultimate award when they receive a Michelin star. The chefs feel their massive efforts and hard work (it is not easy being a chef by the way, that lifestyle is gruesome!) have been acknowledged and rewarded. Besides, the Michelin guide to the chefs is a highly acclaimed acknowledgement. Therefore, I personally celebrate meeting a Michelin chef and yes think it is a big deal. I also appreciate experiencing their food. Besides the actual stars, these chefs have done something right to actually acquire them (in Romito's case, not just 1 star but 3) and I like to celebrate that with them. So, do go to the remaining dinners (the schedule in pics is at the end of the post on this link) and celebrate their success with them!


PS a friend of mine known as @scentorialist came to me the other day and said: "Don't let the 'vampires' suck the energy out of you. We all know the world is full of those!" and to all of you aspiring people working on your own success stories am telling you the same!


Yalla back soon....



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