With three Michelin stars at his esteemed Rome restaurant, La Pergola, distinguished chef Heinz Beck needs little introduction. His exquisite, artfully presented dishes have captivated everyone from Michelle Obama to Julia Roberts. This winter Heinz arrives at Brown’s Hotel for a sensational six-week Italian takeover. Here, Heinz shares the concept behind his exciting new pop-up restaurant, Ora, as well as the processes that make his incredible cuisine is so internationally revered.
What dishes can diners expect at Ora?
We have a duck tortellini made with a pine needle infusion and porcini mushrooms, and a very simple redfish linguine with bell peppers and zucchini. On the menu are dishes that I have created especially for Ora and then there are some favourites brought from Le Pergola – I wanted to make sure there is something for everybody. We will introduce some interesting takes on traditional British seasonal ingredients, for example turkey, over the Christmas period.
When you’re creating a new dish, do you have a particular creative process, what is it that gives you that spark?
Growing up I wanted to be a painter so I channel my creativity and love of art into my food. Inspiration comes from everywhere. Sometimes it’s very simple and sometimes it’s very complex, it depends on the cooking technique. Some of our dishes took six months to perfect, while others we make work in a really short period of time, an hour or two maybe, then it’s done. It simply depends on the ingredients and the inspiration.
Where do you source your ingredients?
We source as much as we can locally in the UK, now it’s late autumn we have a lot of excellent strong, earthy flavours: mushrooms, truffles, cabbages and beetroots. Then some ingredients we then import from Italy. 80% of the dishes on the menu are seasonal with ingredients that have just been harvested.
Italian cuisine is famous for its simplicity and the emphasis is always on the quality of the ingredients. How do you combine traditional techniques with modern ones to create such special dishes?
I don't like gimmicks or novelties for the sake of them. The modern cooking techniques I use are to improve the quality and flavour of the ingredients and to preserve the micro-nutrients better. The key for me is not to lose the integrity of the traditional dishes, but to take advantage of the technology available today to them more interesting and beautiful.
Also in residence is esteemed mixologist, Salvatore Calabrese, who is taking up residence in the elegant Donovan Bar. His extraordinary Martini and Negroni menu includes some of his own greatest hits, as well as exclusive bespoke creations. Read more here.
Brown’s Hotel’s Italian takeover runs for six weeks, from 13th November 2017. Restaurant booking at firstname.lastname@example.org and bar booking is available at email@example.com.