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In a recent interview for Upscale Living Magazine, I spoke to Chef Luciano Sarzi Sartori of Brunello Lounge and Restaurant and Regina Hotel Baglioni in Rome. We discussed his passion for food, signature dishes and their recipes, specialty cocktails and more.

What motivated you to become a chef, and where do you source your inspiration from?

I started to work in this field when I was 15, of course at that time I didn’t have any sure and clear idea about what my job would be in the future. The passion was born with my first professional experience together with my desire to learn something new every day. Today my wish has become a reality and now my aim is to work with a kitchen brigade made of young and willing people with whom I want to reach our Guests to offer them a traditional Italian cuisine—one that reflects my personality and my idea of the Italian character.

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What are some of your signature dishes at Brunello restaurant?

Here are some of the recipes to my favorite dishes. Creamy risotto with wild berries, gorgonzola cheese (recipe). Chestnut ravioli with pecorino and Amarone reduction (recipe). Lacquered scallops with honey on a cream of topinambur with small Romain broccoli timbale (recipe). Gragnano’s paccheri pasta with roman pecorino cheese mousse on bio eggnog and crispy pork cheek (recipe). Fillet of turbot on panure herbal on the soup of vanilla fennel with Ligurian olives and pod corn (recipe).

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If guests planned to begin their evening with specialty cocktails, what would you recommend?  

Usually, our Barman suggests a cocktail to our guests according to seasonality or any particular request, but regarding classic cocktails, we usually suggest:

Spritz (Aperol, Italian Sparkling Wine)—one of the most famous Italian cocktail to start dinner. Americano (Campari, Martini Red, Soda) and Negroni (Gin, Campari, Red Martini)—requested more often by male guests. Cosmopolitan (Vodka Citron-Mandarin, Cointreau, Lime juice and Cranberry juice)—an international cocktail usually requested by female guests. Bellini (Peach, Italian Sparkling Wine)—in line with seasonal products (peach).

In terms of new cocktails, we would recommend:

Green Apple Martini (In the shaker pour Apple Vodka, apple liquor, green apple juice, and fresh lime juice)—one of the 4 specialty cocktails dedicated to the Martini. Classic mojito and its variations: Japanese mojito (Midori, Rhum, Lime, Mint, Brown sugar, Soda water), Coccojito (Malibu, Lime, Mint, Brown sugar, Soda water), and Passion mojito (Rhum, Passion fruit, Lime, Mint, Brown sugar, Soda water). Also, the Blueberry Lemon Drop (Vodka, Cointreau, Lemon juice and Blueberries).

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Finally, with Italy known for its delectable desserts, what kinds of creations have you put together for Brunello?

Our dessert list offers our guests a double choice: traditional Italian dessert or something new. For the first group, we offer Homemade Regina Tiramisù and a traditional ricotta ewe’s cheese and Visciole cherries pie. In terms of something new, the most appealing desserts are:

Tiramisù with a chocolate heart and espresso coffee with cocoa powder and hazelnuts—a revisited traditional Tiramisù. Maritozzo with ricotta cheese mousse, lime, and Visciole cherry purée. And Chocolate from “Amedei” selection in three consistencies with EVO oil and Cervia’s salt.

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