Chef Domenico Filippone – about italian cuisine and the beautiful city Moscow
Chef Domenico Filippone is an Italian chef who works in Moscow. Learn more about Italian cuisine, the flair of Moscow as a culinary hotspot and much more in this great interview.
Many careers begin with hard times because some people think about giving up. Was there also such a moment in your career, and how did you overcome that? What would you do differently today?
Obviously, there were moments when I wanted to give up but I’m just not this type of person. In the restaurant business, your career depends only on your cooking skills. A lot of influence comes from the founders, guests’ preferences and modern trends. A chef must be ready for anything, including criticism. There were times when I thought of quitting but in such cases it’s necessary to find a solution and try to achieve results. It’s difficult but overcoming challenges inspires you to work harder.
Which situation helped you in your development as a chef the most?
I don’t think I remember any particular situation. You can’t become a chef overnight. You should study a lot, always try to discover new taste combinations, and never be afraid to make experiments. Emotionally, I had been ready to become a chef for a long time, and it helped me a lot in my career. As I’ve already mentioned, it’s essential to find a way out of any situation, only then you can succeed.
What will you never forget from your first year as a chef?
I started working as a chef in Moscow, and it was an unforgettable experience. The positive emotions I felt are hard to put into words. I was lucky to have such great colleagues. After all, the people you work with matter a lot. I felt the support from my colleagues and friends and knew there were lots of interesting things waiting for me ahead. I think I was ready for that stage of my life. These are the warm memories I always keep in my heart.
What is the best and worst aspects of working as a professional chef? How does the job change people?
The main disadvantage of being a chef is the lack of time. The family demands a lot of attention. I’d like to spend more time with my loved ones, of course, but my work doesn’t often let me do so. Also, for a chef, it’s quite hard to tune in to the vacation spirit. Even outside the kitchen, I always think and worry about work. But every cloud has a silver lining. Inspiration, positive energy, and happy guests are worth any difficulties. When you solve a serious problem, you flourish on the inside, you feel fresh and new. And then you realise that you need this feeling, and it pushes you to work harder.
Is working as a chef a curse or a blessing? What are the most misunderstood aspects about the job of a chef?
I don’t think it’s a curse. If you are a chef, it means you wanted it from the very start, and you enjoy it. You might go a long way before finally making up your mind, but you know that nobody but yourself sets any goals for you. It’s your own choice, and you need to respect it. However, being a chef is not a blessing either. This job is very difficult. It does give me lots of positive emotions, but I also get tired often. I’ve never regretted my choice of the profession, though.
What does your work mean to you, and could you give some insights to the young people who aspire to become chefs?
My work is everything to me, it is my second family, and my way of life. I’m used to working at the restaurant as well as at home. I can’t imagine myself outside the kitchen. Young people need to decide if being a chef is something they enjoy. You’ll feel it when the time is right. If you realize that it is your true calling, keep on learning and never let your mistakes bring you down. Please remember that there’s always room for improvement. It’s also extremely important to grow professionally and come up with new ideas.
What are the constant and changing elements of Italian cuisine?
Everybody knows Italian cuisine and its constant attributes: pizza and pasta. As for its changing elements, there’s a trend for the mixing of cultures. Italians need new emotions, no one wants to eat spaghetti every day, right? However, some of the restaurants prefer classics. And it certainly deserves some respect. But this new trend has grown on me already. So you can find cabbage rolls with king’s crab meat and sauce “Bisque” on the menu of “Chaika” and “Lastochka” restaurants. It’s a great example of mixed cuisine. It attracts new customers, as people always enjoy trying something new, and they also want to learn more about me as a chef.
What do you value most in the kitchen when it comes to technology?
Actually, I don’t really like new technologies. Quality of products and culinary skills are more important to me. I like sous-vide cooking, but there’s nothing better than creating a culinary masterpiece on your own and serving it for a guest.
How important is the team and what internal parts does it have?
The team is a crucial element in the kitchen. The chef can’t cope without them. But it’s quite ironic because the chef picks each member of the team himself. Although choosing wisely is not enough. It’s also important to teach them and make sure they feel part of the team. It’s essential for productive work.
Which values count for you the most when working in the kitchen?
The atmosphere matters the most. The process of cooking is often very busy and hectic, and it’s okay as there’s lots of work, and you have to not only get everything done on time but also make a perfect dish. Good relations between the members of staff and mutual respect make it easier to achieve good results.
Thank you Domenico!