Luxury Breakfast: An Interview with Four Seasons Hotel London at Canary Wharf Executive Chef: Moreno Casaccia

Where does your passion for cooking come from and what drives that passion?

Actually this is a good question; passion is something innate that I have since childhood, certainly the events and life takes you to discover it. Definitely  I was on the right time at the right place  to realise to I had the passion for cooking. When I was child I spent plenty of time with my mother  in the “Cucinino” ( this is the way we call small kitchen in Italian to define a tiny kitchen where housewives prepare food and then served in the “cucina”), so I need to be grateful to my mother.  The thing who drive my passion is the instinct I have for cooking, experimenting new dishes, new ingredients, cooking method improving every day quality of food I prepare and eventually being rewarded by our guest at the quadrato restaurant.

What was the first meal you ever prepared and at what age?

Being Italian my first dish ever cooked it’s the most famous of all: Spaghetti with tomato and basil, is so simple but equally delicious, you do not need more than 5/6 simple ingredients but at theirs best: extra virgin olive oil, tomato pulp, garlic, basil when in season or origano in alternative, Parmesan and a good brand of pasta. Although we are talking of just 6 ingredients my mother use to source them from different farmers because she just had a great passion on choosing the best possible ingredients.

What is the most favored dish on your breakfast menu?

May be I will be a little bit conservative but our guests really appreciate our classical either very tasteful English breakfast, it’s a great dish very filling which give a nice boost for the day. A touch of Italian cannot miss into it, nice Roma tomato marinated with extra virgin olive oil,thyme, majoran, garlic, orange zest and semi dried for a few hours on a eat source. Breakfast potato are also flavoured with rosemary, a touch of Parmesan and nicely seared in extra virgin olive oil, mushroom sauteed cooked on demand and aromatised with flat parsley. I do believe adding herbs and flavours you do not traditionally find on a breakfast items it’s a plus and really can make a difference on a such a simple plate. No to forget our delicious fruit salad made daily using local and seasonal fruits, guests now days are very much aware about food provenience and sustainability in general, they expect to find on the menu what’s in season.

Brunch or a leisurely breakfast is a popular meal — Why do you think people love brunch so much?

People love going for brunch on the week end for a variety of reason:

Firstly getting up late. Sleeping late on a weekend and then going to brunch at a restaurant always makes you feel like on vacation. In the second place it make people feels no guilty if they eat to much because psychologically is still one meal period and ideally they will miss lunch or even dinner in same occasions doubling theirs calorie quota. Its’ also a good occasion to socialise and get together with family and friends especially if you invite them they won’t say no!!!!!!! it’s time spend in a good way, sitting on the table after the meal with good company it’s a positive thing and put people in a good mood as they see this as quality time much needed now days. Brunch is also an informal meal where people can relax and feel the can be them self without being considered. Last but not least of reason is the food, plenty of variety and most of the time value for money and beverage, people a guilt free to have a bloody Mary before a their first meal of the day.

What is your idea of a luxurious breakfast?

There are many ways to define luxury, the one I do believe it’s closer to my opinion is: luxury breakfast is equal giving gratification to the senses; good food, nice atmosphere and efficient service it’s the key for a enjoyable breakfast.

What is your favorite luxurious breakfast you prepare at your hotel?

I would like to answer to this question explaining our new concept of continental breakfast buffet, we would like to recreate in our restaurant the ambiance of a free standing down the street breakfast shop, giving to our guest the feeling of not being in a hotel restaurant but in a much more casual and informal environment. we decorate the room with book shelves filled with breakfast items to be eaten in door or taken away, you also can find a variety of newspaper and WiFi if you want to stay longer in the hotel, homely atmosphere is our model.

Guest can have selection of shoot glasses like bircher muesli, individual basil marinated fruit minestrone, mini berry shoots home made smoked salmon, selection of freshly baked pastry and Italian style breakfast items. Luxury breakfast must put people in the right mood for a good start of the day and make you fell well. In order to achieve this set of mind food of course play a very important role but service and ambiance are equally important.

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