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Essence of Sicily

By Ye Jun | China Daily | Updated: 2014-03-02 07:34

Essence of Sicily

Lobster, scallops and inkfish tagliolini are accompanied by sauce made with yellow and red bell peppers. Photos by Ye Jun / China Daily

Globetrotting chef Stefano Balduccio is eager to bring the tastes of his birthplace to his new home. Ye Jun checks out his colorful repasts.

He makes beef carpaccio in the shape of a beautiful rose, as smooth as ice cream. He prepares inkfish tagliolini with sweet-tasting lobster and scallops, accompanied by sauce made with yellow and red bell peppers, a finished dish that looks as beautiful as a painting.

Simple, natural, fresh and delicious - these are some words to describe the dishes of Stefano Balduccio, director of operations for Italian cuisine at Fratelli Fresh Restaurant, Renaissance Beijing Capital Hotel.

The new menu from the recently arrived chef exudes flexibility and confidence. That seems to come from the chef's extensive experience: At 41 years old, Balduccio has traveled all over Europe and the Middle East. He worked in England for eight years, and in kitchens in Germany, Russia, Morocco, Tunisia, Dubai and Kuwait.

His last mission before Beijing was as executive chef with Alto Vino Italian restaurant at Suzhou Marriott Hotel. He arrived at his first job in China in December 2011.

"I always looked forward to working in an Asian country," he says, noting that he'd visited China earlier as a tourist.

It was tough at first. The main difficulty was "not so many people in the kitchen spoke English", he says. "I had to rely on body language. But the difficulty passed fast. In a few months' time, I suddenly found it became very easy to communicate and work with people."

Not only that, he married a colleague at the hotel last May. He spent the recent Spring Festival with her family, trying out local foods and generally having a good time.

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