Crafting Culinary Journeys with a Southern Italian Flair at Restaurant700
In the heart of Paragon700, an exquisite culinary sanctuary, Chef Pasquale Palermo orchestrates a symphony of flavors that pay homage to his Southern Italian roots. In this exclusive interview, he shares his inspirations, commitment to using local ingredients, and the philosophy that defines the gastronomic experience at Restaurant700.
TSM: Can you tells us about your culinary background?
I’m Pasquale Palermo, the Chef at Restaurant700. I’m 28 years old and originally from Calabria. My culinary journey began during my high school years, where I discovered my passion for cooking while studying hospitality. After obtaining my degree, I embarked on a work experience abroad at a hotel in Germany. Subsequently, I moved to Milan and started working at a fine dining restaurant.
Following a couple of years in Milan, I relocated to Bologna, where I honed my skills under the mentorship of Chef Heinz Beck (*** Michelin). Thanks to him, I participated in consultations at renowned establishments such as “La Pergola” in Rome, “Castello di Fighine” in Tuscany, and “Café les Paillotes” in Pescara. After five enriching years with Chef Heinz Beck, I sought a change to explore different culinary styles.
After a year at “Villa Grey” in Forte dei Marmi, I returned to Calabria. I joined two starred restaurants, “Abbruzzino” and “Luigi Lepore,” where I delved into the significance of the region’s roots and traditions. Now, in the summer of 2023, I am excited to bring my experiences to Paragon700, confident that my journey has shaped me both professionally and personally.
What drew you to focus on using primarily local ingredients at Restaurant 700, and how do you incorporate them into your dishes?
Growing up in southern Italy, my affinity for using local products developed naturally. The abundance of amazing raw materials in our region inspires me to transform them into refined dishes. The unique opportunity to work with these enviable ingredients motivates and fuels my culinary creativity.
The restaurant offers various tasting menus. Can you walk us through the though process behind crafting these menus and hiw you ensure a diverse and satisfying dining experience for your guests?
At Restaurant700, we present three distinctive tasting menus. Our special Apulian 4-course menu reflecting one dish of every province in Puglia with a wine pairing of the area (“See and Taste Puglia”), one vegetarian option and one menu reflecting different parts of Italy but with local products nonetheless. Last but not least, we also have our “blind” menu for people who wish to taste dishes according to my inspiration. All dishes on these menues can also be ordered à la carte as well. Each menue is reflecting my commitment to providing guests with a culinary journey. Whether they prefer meat, fish, vegetarian, or vegan options, we strive to cater to diverse preferences. Guests can communicate any allergies or intolerances, placing their trust in the kitchen team and me. Additionally, we offer an à la carte menu with a variety of choices for every course.
How would you describe the overall dining experience at Restaurant 700, and what do you hope guests take away from their visit?
My aspiration for Restaurant700 is to offer a harmonious blend of hospitality, ambiance, and exceptional cuisine. I hope our guests leave with a deep appreciation for our region’s culinary heritage, carrying enduring memories of a dining experience infused with warmth and authenticity.
Can you share some insights into the creative process behind designing new dishes? How do you balance innovation with honoring local culinary traditions?
Drawing inspiration from the local community in Ostuni and Apulia, I am inherently curious. I treasure the recipes of local elders, explore traditional restaurants, and observe the preparation of time-honored dishes. By preserving traditions and considering how they can be maintained, I generate ideas for new dishes and menus.
Are there any specific local ingredients or culinary techniques that you find particularly inspiring or challenging to work with?
A vital lesson from my “master” is the pursuit of raw primary ingredients. The abundance of fresh seafood and vegetables in Apulia serves as a constant source of inspiration. Crafting dishes that capture the essence of the region poses a stimulating challenge that I wholeheartedly embrace.
How do you stay informed about the latest trends in the culinary world, and do you incorporate any of these trends into your menu at Restaurant 700?
I stay informed about the latest culinary trends through industry publications, collaboration with fellow chefs, and participation in culinary events. While respecting tradition, I carefully integrate modern culinary trends into our menu, ensuring they enhance the diverse character of our dishes.