I consider myself among one of the fortunate food bloggers in Mumbai who got a chance to enter and cook in the professional kitchen of Romano’s at JW Marriott, Sahar, and spend almost half a day there. A day well-spent, where Chef Roberto Zorzoli and his team of chefs showed us various kitchen techniques, including, for instance, how to make a perfect quenelle and how to peel a bunch of asparagus perfectly. I was most amazed by the flavour of slow-roasted black garlic, which gets its colour by slow breakdown or caramelisation of the sugar in the garlic pods.
This was the day when we brushed up our knowledge on the trick to make the perfectly cooked salmon, which was just tender from inside and crisp from outside. We also learnt how to cut different kinds of pasta from a single rolled-out dough. Later, we also gathered some knowledge of Whiskey-based drinks from Alex Williams (Ballantine’s Ambassador) and Ema, who demonstrated and treated us with different types of cocktails made from Ballantine’s Whiskey.
My cooking partner was food-blogger Tarika. Although it was the first time that we met each other, we gelled up really well, and hence, cooking was a breeze! Chef Roberto helped us generously with his expertise and knowledge on Italian cooking, and we left no stone unturned to clear all our doubts regarding Italian cuisine. My good old blogger friends Ekta & Joash, Mohit and Taarini made the day even more interesting. We probably never imagined that one day, we all will cook together in a five-star Italian kitchen and have so much fun! It was surely one of my best foodie weekends ever.
Together with Tarika, Ekta and all my friends, it was a joy ride that day, learning how meticulous and quality-conscious the chefs at Romano’s are, when it comes to hygiene and discipline in the kitchen. The open kitchen was extremely clean, and throughout the day, the chefs made sure that the kitchen was always tidy. I was impressed by the fact that they showed us all the parts (rooms) of their kitchen and allowed us to visit the back-end too!
We first went to the Receiving Dock, where each day fresh vegetables, meat, seafood, eggs, etc., arrive. These vegetables are first washed thoroughly in specialised washers equipped for cleaning veggies and fruits in bulk. Then we were guided to the Commissary Kitchen. Here, all the ingredients from the Receiving Dock are stored. The chefs also peel and chop the veggies there, according to the day’s need.
We also had a look at the Romano’s Butchery, when the meat mincing was going on. We saw how big chunks of meat was minced in no time, and vacuum-sealed hygienically until ready to use. They use chopping boards of two distinct colours for chopping the vegetarian and non-vegetarian ingredients separately. When we headed to the Chef’s office, it was locked and quiet. We all smiled as we thought it was a good thing… after all an active chef should be in the kitchen most of the time rather than in his office. In the Purchase Office, there are separate personnel who deal with the purchasing of stocks.
The most awesome section at the Romano’s kitchen was the Baking Room at the backend. When we entered the room, we were almost hypnotised to the smell of freshly baked breads, cakes and macarons. We got to try some delicious French Baguette that was just out of the oven.
Romano’s is a spacious restaurant at JW Sahar which serves signature Italian delicacies. Chef Roberto Zorzoli comes from Milan and he has adapted himself to the atmosphere perfectly. He even speaks a bit of Hindi words! In his 15-year career, he has worked in a Michelin Kitchen earlier and travelled throughout the world: across Belgium, Italy and China, working with several renowned Italian Chefs throughout his 15-year-long career.
Our day started with the list of dishes to be made on that day for lunch. The chef and his team suggested how to proceed stepwisely with the cooking. Tarika and I, with the help of a chef in Romanos, made two beautiful dishes which were delicious!
The menu given below was divided into three groups of food bloggers. Tarika and I made Aspargi con Gorgonza and Salmone con Scalogno e Asparagi.
- Insalata Romano’s
Goat cheese, nuts, fresh lettuce, baby carrot, tomato and lemon dressing.
- Risotto ai Funghi con Aglio Nero
Carnaroli rice, black garlic and fresh mushrooms
- Aspargi con Gorgonza
Imported asparagus, lemon-butter sauce, Gorgonzola cheese and caramelized onions.
- Mille Foglie
- Seafood Bruschetta
Toasted bread, scallops, crabmeat and salmon.
- Malfatta Della Casa
Fresh pasta, porcini mushrooms, truffle essence and homemade chicken sausage.
- Salmone con Scalogno e Asparagi
Pan-seared salmon, shallots sauce and gumbo asparagus.
- Salame di Cioccolato
Chef’s special recipe.
Some of the other dishes made by my food blogger friends are as follows:
After we cooked up all the dishes, we sat down together for the lunch. It was a beautiful afternoon chatting and relishing food made by us. Later, we also tasted some of the most amazing Whiskey-based cocktails made by Alex and Ema. I must say, this was the most interesting, informative and engaging foodie cook-ups that I have ever attended. Kudos to Romano’s and all the passionate people behind it!
Address: Romano’s, JW Marriott, Sahar, IA Project Road, Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Andheri East, Mumbai, 400099
For reservations: +91 022 28538661