Meet The Chef
PUBLISHED: 13:32 30 June 2011 | UPDATED: 21:35 20 February 2013
Somerset Life talks to Executive Chef Claudio de Carlo at the newly refurbished Imperial Brasserie in Weston-super-Mare about his passion for fresh local produce.
Who or what inspired you to become a chef?
My grandmother owned a pub for 30 years and I started to cook when I was 10 years old.
What was your training in food?
I am German/Italian and trained in Germany for three years in one of the best restaurants in Dsseldorf and in a culinary school.
What are your favourite food memories?
Dining at Daniel Bouluds (one of the top ten chefs in the world) new Brasserie in New York City. During a chefs conference in New York, 10 other executive chefs (Celebrity Cruises) and I dined and spent too much money in one of the best restaurants in the USA and the world.
How would you describe the style of dining at the Imperial?
We offer fresh, homemade, Continental food with locally sourced ingredients in a relaxed atmosphere for reasonable prices and with great service.
What was your favourite meal as a child?
The homemade lasagne of my Italian grandmother with her own fresh ingredients from her garden just amazing.
What is your favourite summer dish?
There are hundreds of dishes I love, but especially the simplicity of fresh herb salads or heirloom tomatoes topped with either grilled fish or meat. You cant beat the simple taste of fresh produce and quality meat or fish.
What attributes does a chef require?
Passion for food, common sense, the ability to multi-task and to be a team player.
What do you love most about the produce here in Somerset?
The freshness and the choice of farm shops in our region.
What is the most significant culinary lesson you have ever learned?
That you need to be a team player, great leader and manager, and that you cant do it all alone. (My previous position was on a cruise ship as Executive Chef with 125 chefs in the kitchen.)
Where would you go in Somerset for an alfresco food experience?
The Imperial Brasserie in Weston-super-Mare has a small but always sunny terrace with a Continental feel, like somewhere you could find in the South
What is your favourite/most-used kitchen tool?
A teaspoon for tasting each individual dish before it leaves my kitchen.
What has been your most memorable meal?
I worked 15 years ago in Taipei, Taiwan (China) in a hotel and on the day of my arrival I had to eat an eight-course meal with specialities like fried jelly fish, sweet frog eggs, fried chicken feet, one-year-old chicken eggs, steamed earthworms, etc: it was an amazing experience.
And finally, what would you be if you werent a chef?
A travelling international food critic I do love travelling and I travelled a lot in the past during the time I worked on cruise ships all around the world.