Think Global, Grow Local
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Italian Chef Bill Marchetti uses ingredients that map the various corners of India
IT was close to dinner time when we arrive at the new Spaghetti Kitchen. Housed in Hotel Aquamarine in Sector 22, the restaurant is the brainchild of celebrity chef Bill Marchetti. The gazebo area is fast filling up and wafting aromas lead us inside. Sipping on a glass of wine, Bill Marchetti is tapping away on a laptop and, at the same time, issuing instructions to the staff. "Each time, a new Spaghetti Kitchen opens, it's like I have a new baby," he says.
The popular restaurant chain that offers authentic Italian fare has recently opened doors in Chandigarh. "I have guests coming in from Ludhiana. They know exactly what dish they have want. This receptiveness of the Punjabi palate has surprised me," says the chef. Having lived in India for the last 11 years, Marchetti says that he's at home here. "I have seen India of the '80s and the India now. I am glad to have known both versions and am loving my stint here," says Marchetti, who was raised by his Italian and German parents in Australia.
In India, he started with ITC Hotel Maurya Sheraton before moving on as corporate Italian chef with Pan India Food Solutions, the company which runs multiple restaurant and cafe chains in the country including Spaghetti Kitchen. "Now, I practically live out of a suitcase but it's enjoyable," admits the chef, adding that he will be on the road in a couple of hours.
He is to head to a farm near Dehradun where he's getting a polyhouse owner to grow high-quality vegetables, especially Italian tomatoes and capsicum for him.
Marchetti can be credited for encouraging the use of fresh local produce and setting up supply centres in the country. His seafood is sourced from Chilka lake in Orissa, the Portobello mushrooms from Gurgaon and herbs from Palampur so that his array of ingredients are a map of India. "It all started when I brought some rucola seeds and convinced a farmer to grow them for me," he says. Today, the Italian salad leaves are just as crunchy as those back home. "I will be rolling out a food festival to showcase that very soon in Chandigarh as well," informs the chef.
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