The stage, or rather, the kitchen, is set for tonight as two culinary heavyweights collide for an exciting cook off – all for the right to rule round two of the Battle of the Chefs at Roberto’s in The Galleria, Al Maryah Island.
But before that, we had a quick chat with chief culinary advisor and two-Michelin star chef Enrico Bartolini, and Roberto’s Abu Dhabi executive chef Francisco Guarracino, to get their thoughts about the contest and how they’re warming up.
So how does it work – is it anything goes or is there a specific theme for you guys to follow?
Enrico: There is no specific theme or speciality, but as a general guideline we try to make sure that a little bit of our own history and identity goes into each dish.
Francesco: The concept is simple, both Enrico and I serve three dishes each, our audience tries all six dishes and then vote without knowing who prepared which dish. The person with the most votes is crowned the winner.
How pressure-packed do you think will it be tonight?
Enrico: As a chef, over the years, you come up against so many different difficult situations, this means that through your experience you learn to cook under pressure.
Francesco: If you stay focused, you will not feel any pressure.
Would you mind sharing your strategy and preparations going into the contest?
Enrico: I have been prepping for the event by making sure that our service is absolutely top notch. We have tried the dishes from the menu many times until we have become more than satisfied with them.
Francesco: Keep a cool head and just be prepared for whatever is thrown your way.
What are the skills needed to win this kind of battle?
Enrico: There will be 120 people attending the event. The beauty of the UAE is that you have people from all around the world, which means that we need to have a menu that is versatile enough to appeal to everyone. I think that is essential for us to keep in mind when creating the menu.
Mind sharing a few dishes we should look forward to?
Enrico: Highlights include the bluefin tuna belly, which in Italian is called ventresca. Other standouts include red prawns from Mazara del Vallo, which is a small fisherman’s village in Sicily, and hazelnuts from Piemonte.
So who do you think will emerge as the winner in the end?
Enrico: Because Francesco has the home advantage and the last battle under his belt, I think he has a big chance.
Francesco: Who knows? We will have to wait and see. We are good friends and have so much respect for each other, we will be happy either way.
Contact: 02 627 9009, email@example.com or visit robertos.ae/abudhabi