Chef Max famed for working as head chef at Olive, Bandra, for three years has quit the A D Singh owned fine dining eatery and launched his own business. Italian Max (who’s real name is Massimiliano Orlati) left Olive in June to start his two ventures - Purple Rain, which he is opening inside Sobo Central Mall in Tardeo in November and a second business, Italian restaurant Penne (formerly Rain), which he took over a couple of months ago.
Max (48), who moved to India in 2003, says: “I left Olive because I wanted to manage my own place. There, I was just a chef running the show. I was born into the trade. Besides, at a certain age, you want to be the manager. Nowadays, most executive chefs in five-stars end up as the general manager.”
Purple Rain will serve Mediterranean-blended Indian food, by which he means Indian food, with premium Mediterranean ingredients. Every few days, he will serve authentic Italian specials, based on what he finds in the market that day. “There’s no point in making genuine Italian food in India,” he says despondently. He feels that the Indian palate loves spicy food and they won’t eat Italian food unless tobasco and chilli is added to spice it up. “The places that serve authentic Italian food barely have any guests,” he continues.
Other than serving that unique food, which he says does not exist in Mumbai, yet, he will differentiate himself by offering top-notch service. ‘That’s the key to kill competition in Mumbai,” he reveals. “In Italy, hospitality is the first thing that attracts a crowd because if you treat your guests well, they will always remember you. In India, you can’t even get the waiter’s attention most of the time, and I have been to all the good places. Plus, these waiters are unable to talk knowledgeably about food, unless it’s Indian,” he adds.
Apart from offering Italian hospitality, Purple Rain will have a dedicated bar area, with a DJ. It will seat 80 to 100 guests and be open till 1.30 am with main courses in the Rs 500 to Rs 1,000 bracket, the focus being on a restaurant till midnight and a rocking bar thereafter.
Max is about to launch a new menu and a wine-tasting area at the bar at Penne. “I do hope it’s my product and not my name that sells Purple Rain,” he ends with a smile.