Chefs in quarantine

From cooking with the family to recipe development, here are what chefs worldwide are doing in quarantine

16 Apr 2020, words by Aneesha in The Lifestyle

Chefs in quarantine

With most restaurants closed, we reach out to top-notch chefs around the world to share what they are up to when their restaurant kitchens are closed. They've also added some of their signature dishes so you can try it at home!

Chef Antonio, Dubai, UAE

Chef Antonio

Chef Antonio Iacovelli, Head Chef at Sarood Hospitality - home to Trattoria Toscana at Madinat Jumeirah has had to close his venues for dine-in. However, he's taken his passion for cooking online and teaching lovely dishes for his patrons who miss their restaurant favourites.  “In-line with government directives, we have closed our venues for dine-in. This doesn’t stop us sharing our love for food though! To support people who like to cook at home, we are launching a ‘how to’ content series on our social media platforms for people to recreate their favourite Sarood restaurant dishes at home. Now more than ever, eating well is vital to stay healthy." says Chef Iacovelli.

On a personal level, Chef Iacovelli and his wife are staying home. “We have started to spend time doing things we wouldn’t have had time to do previously.  I am still cooking at home every day so that hasn’t changed! We play a lot of board games, spend time reading, watching TV and talking to our loved ones back in Italy and the Philippines.”

“As an Italian, 00 flour and semolina are two ingredients that are never missing in my pantry! Using them, I can prepare lots of amazing dishes including focaccia, bread, pizza, fresh pasta and desserts. 

Dry yeast is a must for a weekend lunch in my family. I love to spend time and prepare bread and focaccia over the weekend using dry yeast – as it’s something I wouldn’t have time to do at home on weekdays. 

Risotto rice is a great alternative to pasta as it can be paired with anything. I love making Risotto alla Milanese – this is a dish made with chicken stock, saffron, butter and lots of parmesan. 

Sugar is essential – as I have a sweet tooth, this is one item that should never be missing in my pantry. I use both white and brown sugar. 

Lentils are one of my favourite pulses – easy to cook and can be used for a simple salad, soup or as a side served alongside fish or meat.”

I like to keep my fridge full of a variety of vegetables. These are essential, now more than ever as we should be healthy to build a stronger immune system. You will find always carrots, shallots, celery and leeks in my fridge as they can be used in so many ways. I always keep tomatoes in my fridge too – be it a big tomato, cherry tomatoes, or heirlooms. “Eggs and butter are definitely a must-have for me – whether for breakfast or a midnight snack, eggs and butter can also be used to prepare something sweet or savoury.”

Risotto alla Milanese Recipe

Risotto alla Milanese

Ingredients

40g shallots – clean and finely chopped 

50g butter 

20ml olive oil 

180g rice carnaroli 

700ml chicken stock 

 1g saffron 

60g grated parmesan cheese (finely)

 50g butter 

 Salt to taste

Method

1. Place the chicken stock on a large pan and bring to simmer 

2. In the meantime, heat the oil on another pan and add 50g butter and the shallot

3. Cook over medium heat until translucent (should not take color) 

4. At this stage, add the rice and toast it for two minutes 

5. Start to add the chicken stock bit by bit and cook at medium heat stirring continuously 

6. Keep adding stock until you reach the desired texture. The consistency of the rice should be a bit runny, we love it al dente, a good carnaroli rice should cook for about 18 to 20 minutes. To check when the rice is ready, just try one grain

 7. Once the rice is ready, remove it from the heat, add the saffron and mix, cover for one minute 

8. Start to add first 50g of butter and mix well 

9. Then add the parmesan and mix well again 

10. Taste to see if you need to further season with salt 

11. Serve immediately and enjoy. This recipe serves 2.

Chef Marcel Ravin, Monte Carlo

Chef Marcel Ravin

Michelin-starred Chef Marcel Ravin from Blue Bay, a fine dining venue in Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort has taken to social media to share his cooking too. "I’m currently looking ahead of the future of my restaurants during this really particular period," he said. "I’m working on new strategies for a progressive reopening when the situation improves. I am taking this time to prepare and put together our new menu and several new recipes. In addition to this, in order to maintain a relationship with my esteemed clients, I decided to propose to my Instagram followers a different recipe every day - on Instagram live - and invite them to cook with me. The idea is simple: every morning, I’m revealing the recipe of that day and the list of ingredients that are required to do it and at 6.30pm, I start doing this recipe live. It always takes less than 1 hour. I have opted to do really easy recipes that we can all do at home in order to demonstrate that each one of us can easily cook with simple ingredients that we already have in our own pantry and fridge. Usually, during the live, I make a main dish and a dessert for those with a sweet tooth! Even if it’s in French, Cooking is international! So I invite everyone to join me on my Instagram account to discover the next recipes."

Chef Ravin makes sure he has staples like pasta and rice in his pantry, in addition to  canned food such as olives, tuna, tomato sauce; olive oil, flour, sugar, honey and spices. He also keeps milk, cream, eggs, and seasonal vegetables in his fridge. He also has some key things to put a twist to his recipes, such as avocados or pomegranates.

The Roasted Chicken by Marcel

Roasted chicken

Ingredients (Serves 4 people):

1 free-range chicken (1 - 1.2 kg) 

Half a lemon 

125 gr of softened butter 

2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped 

3 sprig fresh thyme 

 1 squeezed lime or lemon 

1 tsp of 4 spices blend 

½ tsp of salt

Method:

1. Season the interior and exterior of the chicken with half a lemon. 

2.Mix the butter, thyme, garlic, lemon juice, 4-spices mixture and salt in a bowl together. 

3. Stuff the chicken with the spicy butter mixture under the skin and inside the chicken. 

4. Preheat the oven to 200 °C 

5. Put the chicken in a roasting pan and bake for 15 minutes. Moderate the oven temperature to 170 °C for the remaining cooking time and pour the cooking juices over every 10 minutes approximately until the end of cooking time: 120 minutes. 

Serve with mashed potatoes or baby potatoes and some green asparagus cooked in salted water.

Chef Jaume, Spain

Chef Jaume

Michelin-starred chef, Chef Jaume Puigdengolas Rey currently serves as Executive Chef for Kerten Hospitality. He looks upon this time as a moment to stay at home and to the time to rethink and spend more time with his family. "Post the pandemic, we need to be ready to work hard when we return to our restaurants and re-open. Today are the tough times and I am looking forward to a tomorrow in my restaurant and with the team in the kitchen." 

Chef Jaume considers pasta and rice to be pantry essentials at this time. "I love to cook pasta and rice. These items are very essential for me to always have easily and readily available. Those come second to spices or condiments (Asian, Middle East, Mediterranean, etc.). These are the main pillars in my pantry space." He also has a selection of nice butcher cuts and cheese in his fridge.

Chef Jaume has shared a lovely recipe of batch-made confit roasted bell peppers with minimal waste.

Confit roasted bell peppers recipe

Confit 1
Confit 2

Ingredients: 

Mix bell peppers 20 pcs 

Garlic peeled 20 cloves 

Fresh thyme 8 branches 

Olive oil 2 liters 

Salt 

Black pepper 

 Method: 

1. Roast all the peppers on the fire until the skin becomes burn and leave it in a container. 

2. Peel and clean all the burnt peppers with the hands (Important: don’t use water for this process, otherwise we lose all the smoky flavour) 

3. Cut the peppers in strips. Put all the peppers in a pot and add the rest of the ingredients (garlic, thyme and season). 

4. Cover with the olive oil 

5. Cook on a simmer for 2 hours.  We then infuse and cover for 1 more hour. 

6. Keep in the refrigerator covered with the oil that we use to cook them in. 

Tips: Perfect elaboration as a garnish for meats and fish also salads, toast bread, omelets, etc. Once the peppers are finished use the oil for salads dressings, aperitivos, etc. Use your imagination!