Wednesday, August 09, 2017

RICKY PARLANTI HELMS PREGO



Out of all the VIPs in the world, from heads of state to Hollywood celebrities, Chef Ricky Parlanti said the person he would most like to cook for is his family. Awwww…isn’t his answer endearing?

Freshly minted as the Italian Chef de Cuisine of Prego, the Tuscan native is no stranger to the Malaysia culinary scene. When you’re half a decade old like moi, you’re unlikely to forget a veteran chef like Ricky Parlanti who has been in the biz for over 35 years.

Besides his own multi-award winning The Mangotree Restaurant, Parlanti’s past stints include Carcosa Seri Negara, The Peninsula Beijing in China and Hyatt Regency Delhi in India. His inimitable touch also extended to standalone restaurants: Dining in the Dark KL, The Steakhouse KL and The Whiskey Bar.



As the ninth generation of chefs in the Parlanti family and a qualified Master Chef by ALMA La Scoula Internazionale di Cucina Italiana, the most prestigious culinary institute in Parma, Italy, his mettle was reinforced by a slew of accolades: Hospitality Asia Platinum Award 2005/2006 for Excellence in Hospitality Personality Chef of the Year and The Best Chef in Malaysia (Expatriate) Award in the Millennium Gold Awards 2001/2002.

The best proof is the dishes we savoured at Prego. Right from the get-go, effusive praises were heard as we dug into the Burrata with Grilled Spring Vegetable, Basil and Pine Nut Emulsion with gusto.

We relished the well-balanced, delicate flavours and beguilingly soft texture of eggplant, peppers, onion, asparagus, leek and zucchini – a testament to the chef’s judicious use of the freshest quality ingredients with the contadino in mind.

Although presentation is important, Parlanti reckons taste and flavour can be rooted in Italian cuisine with minor adaptations to the Asian palette. He believes “food should speak for itself as nothing compares to the quality of a well-prepared dish”.
I found the truffle-scented Cream of Wild Mushroom too salty for my liking but it’s a minor matter which can be easily corrected. Otherwise, the thick, musky broth of porcini mushroom proved to be a nice tummy warmer.

For the media preview, Parlanti was pitted against Executive Chef Rudy Junaidie in a tongue-in-cheek pasta throwdown. Putting his own spin on Prego’s signature speciality of Special Carbonara in Castelmagno Cheese Wheel made it a crowd-pleaser. Big, lush flavours hugged the al dente pasta thanks to the hearty creamy sauce whipped up using beef bacon, egg yolk, cream and parmesan finished with in a huge Castelmagno cheese wheel.

Chef Rudy Junaidie’s contender of Asian pasta with prawns, fresh coriander, garlic and herb crumbs was delicious too (this was more to my preference) but the man of the hour was undoubtedly Parlanti.

Fennel, thyme, garlic and sea salt were the aromatics used for the Wood Oven Baked Salt-crusted Seabass. Wrapped in greaseproof paper, the fleshy fish was delightfully on point – lightly flaky and sweet, coyly touched with dill sauce.

Diminutive bursts of sweet raisins bestowed an unexpected yet welcomed surprise in the beef jus complementing the Grilled Grain-fed Angus Steak. Served medium rare, this Prego’s house special was a winsome shoo-in with the lunch party.

Next time you visit Prego, let Chef Ricky Parlanti customise dishes according to your desired preferences. Otherwise, he can also design a Menu Sorpresa (Surprise Menu) for your culinary experience, creating flavors that sometimes would bring you down memory lane.

To finish, the chef readily vouched for Tiramisu, the timeless mascarpone espresso trifle of Italy. Prego serves an alcoholic and booze-free version so remember to state your preference when you’re ordering it.
 For reservations at Prego, call tel: 03-2773 8338. Address: The Westin KL, Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur. Website: http://www.westindining.com.my/prego

1 comment:

Choi Yen said...

Wow, that Carbonara, so rich and creamy!