Inspire | Human Stories

On Dedication and the Importance of Food with Chef Francesco Bettoli

Senin, 06 May 2024 15:36 WIB
On Dedication and the Importance of Food with Chef Francesco Bettoli
On Dedication and the Importance of Food with Chef Francesco Bettoli/Foto: CXO Media/Dezky Oka
Jakarta -

"Have you got yourself something to eat before?" Those familiar words are often the first thing that our family asked the moment we visited them.

Indonesians often view food as a symbol of closeness and intimacy between the cook and those who devour it. Interestingly, Italians share a similar perspective on food, as Chef Francesco Bettoli, the executive chef of Trans Luxury Hotel Bandung, pointed out, "In Italy, the most important thing in life is food. When you eat something really good, it makes you feel better." Bettoli's perspective on food has inspired him to follow a career in the culinary world, especially since he is supported by a family that shares his passion for food. He sees the enjoyment of good food akin to encountering a close friend: the longer you're with them, the more they uplift you.

Chef Francesco Bettoli and Culinary Journey

Indulging in a delightful full-course meal at The 18th Restaurant, Trans Luxury Hotel Bandung, while discussing Chef Bettoli's passion and experiences in the culinary world was a truly heartening experience that few have the opportunity to enjoy. Welcomed with tuna tataki and wagyu saikoro as starters, the dishes helped to ward off the chilly breeze on the 18th-floor lounge. As the conversation flowed, more dishes arrived, including capellini di mare and homemade tagliatelle, both showcasing the excellence of Italian cuisine and the unique touch of a chef who traveled from Italy to ensure the authenticity of each dish.

Having more than a decade of international cooking experience including in Italy, Japan, Thailand, Dubai UAE, Hong Kong, Australia and other parts of the world, Chef Bettoli is no stranger to various cooking techniques and preferences of each locale. However, he is dedicated to displaying the brilliance of authentic Italian flavors through his creative approach that will please each guest with his gourmet masterpieces. His perspective on moving from one country to another over the years is that traveling has become "the best drug in life", as it allows him to meet new people, new cultures, new flavors, and new vision of life.

His global culinary voyage has now taken him to Bandung, Indonesia. Adapting to the locale, the preferences of the locals, and various other aspects presents him with a new set of challenges. Chef Bettoli observed that Indonesians typically favor bold, flavorful dishes, making it challenging for them to appreciate subtler tastes due to their familiarity with spices. "I found that being a chef is like being water, because you have to adjust to the situation all the time," he remarked.

During the conversation, Chef Bettoli served us the evening's main course: Aged USDA prime tomahawk accompanied by three side dishes of his choosing-creamy spinach, Italian style sautéed bell peppers, and sautéed mushrooms. The meat, seasoned with rock salt, was exceptionally tender, melting in the mouth effortlessly. The flavorful tenderness is complemented perfectly by the delicious side dishes, which provides texture and contrast to the flavor notes. Undoubtedly, the main course stood out as the highlight of the evening.

We had a relaxed and easy chat about his journey to becoming an executive chef. However, he stressed that being a key figure in the kitchen isn't as simple as many would think. "Being a chef requires a lot of sacrifices," he noted. The initial five years of this career path demanded consistency and perseverance. Without a clear goal, dreams remain just dreams without the motivation to make them real.

One thing he said stuck with me: "Every day is a chance to learn, so never give up. It's important to dine in both exceptional and challenging places to experience the best and worst. Embrace new experiences, evolve each year. What you did yesterday doesn't matter; it's your actions today and tomorrow that count. You might be respected by your family, but to others, you're a different story, so you always have to prove yourself." While this is the first time I've ever met him, he's more than proven his passion through his dishes.