Giorgio Locatelli: buying, storing and using truffles

Giorgio Locatelli: buying, storing and using truffles - The Restaurant Co. Stories - Chefs - Culinary tales
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The ‘king of truffles’ chef Giorgio Locatelli of Ronda Locatelli at Atlantis, The Palm in Dubai gives us the lowdown on buying, storing and using the much-loved ingredient, truffles.

Considered one of the finest Italian chefs in the world, Giorgio Locatelli was born into a family of restauranteurs in Northern Italy. He has since worked at some of the UK’s most sought-after restaurants including the Savoy and opened Zafferano, where he earnt his first Michelin star, followed by a second star at his restaurant, Locanda Locatelli. In Dubai regularly to touch base with his team at Ronda Locatelli, here’s what chef Giorgio shared with us about truffles.

Talk us through the difference between white and black truffles…

I’ve been sourcing my truffles for several years from truffle hunter San Pietro a Pettine, based in Trevi. Although the truffles are from the same family they are totally different and have completely different characteristics. For example, my grandfather wouldn’t eat black truffle, only white. He barely acknowledged that black truffle existed! At the beginning of the year we created a delicious one off menu at Ronda Locatelli with black truffle signature dishes. Although the white truffle aroma is intense, it tends to fade quickly, as opposed to the black truffle, which has a subtle taste, but lasts much longer.

When buying black truffles, what should you look for?

When I’m buying black truffles for my restaurants I always make sure they are hard but not too heavy. This is because if they are heavy it can be a sign that they are spoiled. As a rule I only choose fresh black truffle, as this tastes the best, and recommend that you avoid jarred or pickled products. I like to speak directly to my supplier to ensure I know exactly where the truffle has been sourced from as this can also affect flavour and taste.

How should black truffles be stored and prepared for use?

The best way to store black truffle is in a cloth within an airtight container in the fridge. I’d also recommend taking the truffle out of the fridge and leaving in room temperature for one hour before you start cooking. Make sure you then give them a good clean using a small brush, being extra careful to get in the crevices and never to put the truffle under running water, as this will spoil it.

What’s your take on truffle oil? So many restaurants are using it these days, but we hear mixed reviews…

For me this is an ingredient I never use. Truffle is best served fresh, and grated directly onto the dish.

Taking it back to the beginning, what got you started in the kitchen?

Since as long as I can remember I have always loved food. I actually spent most of my childhood at my family restaurant; it is all I have ever known and a life-long passion of mine.

For more information about Ronda Locatelli at Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai, visit https://www.atlantis.com/dubai/restaurants/ronda-locatelli.