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Cooking with flowers blooms under master chef

By Ye Jun (

15:40, March 29, 2013


Spanish chef Rodrigo de la Calle says when other men pass a flower shop, they might think of buying flowers to give to the woman they love. But he would think about how to make it into a dish.

The chef is known for inventing "gastrobotany", a culinary concept using unusual vegetables in haute cuisine. He came to China to display his cooking skills from March 11-16 at Barolo, the Italian restaurant in The Ritz-Carlton Beijing.

In fact, the chef loves vegetables so much, he has them tattooed on his right arm and back. He seems to have a lot of connections with vegetables, too — his father is a farmer, his mother a chef.

His mother-in-law, who came to China to study traditional Chinese medicine, said his nature in the five elements is wood, and therefore he should eat more artichokes and endives.

In his cooking demonstration, he makes a cole soup, in which slices of cole leaves seem to be placed randomly. But when the broth is poured in, the dish looks like a lively pond. After he sprays pieces of mashed broccoli and cauliflower on top of rice braised with assorted mushrooms in duck broth, it looks like natural spring scenery.

Tomato and bread brulee, poached endives, pumpkin with goat cheese and wine sauce — the majority of the chef’s dishes are simple but natural ingredients that offer a pure, delectable taste. The combination of ingredients is natural and unsophisticated. The presentation looks casual, but is beautiful and unpretentious.

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