Tuesday, September 10, 2013

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Last week, I was invited to a special Chef's Table Menu at Pizza Hut. The event mainly invited food bloggers and other individuals associated with the F & B industry. The Chef's Table event was in its third season in India, and was led by Pizza Hut's Head Chef, Arjyo Bannerjee in collaboration with Luca Ciano, Executive Chef from Barilla (the international pasta giant), Italy.



The event started out with icy cool beverages being handed about. For a moment, I got excited thinking they were cocktails, but I quickly realized where I was. Nevertheless, the drinks were great, particularly the Ginger and Lime one that I tried. The main focus of the event was to showcase Pizza Hut's soon to be launched pasta menu and educate people about pasta and the innovative recipes you could use to maximize the burst of flavours.

Chef Arjyo and Chef Luca ready to get the cookout session started!

The session began full swing with a very cool live cookout workshop where the chefs were dishing out Pasta 101 to us. While we were getting this Pasta gyaan, the appetizers were laid out for us. The Assorted Veg Platter consisted of Crispy Veg Patty, Parmesan &Garlic Potato Wedges and Onion Rings served with Sweet Chilli ad Jalapeno Cheese sauces. The potato wedges and the veg patty were perfectly crispy and had surprisingly good flavours (I have little faith in fried vegetarian starters when it comes to European food in India).

Veg Platter - Potato wedges, Veg Patty and Onion Rings

The Non Veg Platter consisted of Chicken topped Crispies, Jerk Chicken Skewer and Kibbeh with Tomato Salsa and Yoghurt dip. The only redeeming dish on this platter was the Chicken Topped Crispies, which were something like an Indianized version of Nachos with good squirts of cheese. The Jerk Chicken was pretty bland on flavour and the Kibbeh was too dry for my taste.

Non-veg Platter - Chicken Crispies, Jerk Chicken and Kibbeh
Chef Arjyo started the cookout session by whipping up the Red O White pasta (to be launched next month by Pizza Hut). This was simply fusili tossed in a tangy tomato and herb sauce and tempered with cream, topped generously with basil and Parmesan. With use of limited but fresh ingredients, this pasta came together wonderfully in terms of flavour and spice.

Red O White - tomato and herb sauce with cream.


Next, it was Chef Luca's turn to wow us. He prepared a Warm Spaghetti Salad with Lemon & Oregano marinated Prawns. Since it was a salad, none of the ingredients were cooked, except the pasta. This got some people jittery, since raw prawns wasn't something they were interested in trying. Chef Luca assured us it was ok, that the heat of the spaghetti will warm up the prawns fine, and the prawns were of top-notch quality so they wouldn't create an issue at all (plus, don't we eat Sushi with raw seafood anyway?). The salad was warm and refreshing, and the lemon and oregano worked their magic on the prawns fantastically.

Warm spaghetti that was al dente - firm to the bite.


Spaghetti Salad with Lemon & Oregano Prawns


While the chefs were busy prepping for more pasta,  we were served some pizzas to calm our growling stomachs (why not pizza at Pizza Hut, right?). The Grilled Chicken pizza was okay, nothing exceptional. The Roasted Bell Pepper, Arugula and Parmesan pizza was simply delicious. The freshness of the arugula and the sharp, nutty flavour of the Parmesan shavings came together brilliantly (I downed 5 slices of this). Again, the vegetarian dish tasted far better than the meat one.

Grilled Chicken Pizza - Lacked punch and flavour.



Veg Pizza - Roasted Bell Pepper with fresh Arugula and Parmesan shavings. Fresh and delicious!
Our next pasta dish was Lasagna Bolognese, except that instead of beef, the chefs used chicken instead. Chef Arjyo made 2 layers of lasagna along with the chicken version of Bologna. I personally found the dish very heavy and fared average on taste - the rest of my table also returned their plates of half-eaten lasagna which echoed what I thought of the dish as well (all the other pizzas and pastas were wiped clean). The lasagna in particular was too rich, and I couldn't get past the first few bites.

Lasagna Bolognese


The final pasta dish was Penne with Sicilian Vegetable Caponata, Salted Ricotta and Pine Nuts, prepared by Chef Luca. More than the flavours in this pasta, I loved the different textures in this dish! The creaminess of the Ricotta, crunchiness of the pine nuts blended beautifully with the caponata. The pasta was topped with very fine fried juliennes of aubergine that we LOVED. I didn't think I would be able to get a cut that fine at home, so I asked Chef Luca to demonstrate it; and he did such a wonderful job that he made me feel like I had some serious dexterity issues.
Chef Luca wowing the crowd with his knife skills.


Penne with Vegetable Caponata, Ricotta and Pine nuts.

We finished off our meal with the Warm Chocolate Trio for dessert, which was simply warm, molten chocolate cake topped with chocolate sauce, ice-cream and white chocolate chips. It tasted good, but nothing out of the ordinary.

Warm Chocolate Trio





Chef Arjyo's and Luca's 3 top tips for making a pasta dish:
1. Use firm pastas like Penne and Farfalle for chunky sauces with veggies and chicken.
2. Use flat pastas like Fettucine for heavier, creamier sauces.
3. Use thin pastas like Spaghetti for lighter sauces.

Overall, I had a great time at the Chef's Table event and Chef Arjyo and Chef Luca kept us very entertained and dished out some yummy food with funnier quips. A fun evening overall.


P.S. I didn't have to pay for my meal as it was an event for bloggers, but this is an unbiased review of the event.


6 comments:

  1. wow! I so envy you! the food looks yummy so Im sure it tasted so too!
    I want to be part of the next such food event for bloggers!! :)

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    1. The food was yummy, Canary! I would really go back for that Arugula & Parmesan Pizza and the Spaghetti Salad with Prawns. Yum! :)

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  2. Everything is very nicely covered. Enjoyed reading it.
    Check mine here:
    http://rakshaskitchen.blogspot.com/2013/09/chefs-table-pizza-hut.html

    Regards,
    Raksha
    Raksha's Kitchen

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Raksha! Just checked your review out as well. Very informative and lovely, just as you. Glad to have met you at the session! :)

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