It’s not every day that a chef who heads a 2 Michelin star restaurant comes calling in the city. For the next few days, Norbert Niederkofler (right), who heads the award-winning St Hurbertus restaurant at the Rosa Alpina Hotel & Spa in the idyllic Dolomites — the part of the Alps in north-eastern Italy — is all set to wow Delhi gourmands with his fabled culinary skills.
“It’s my first time in India, and so far, more than me, it’s the Indian cuisine that has made a fan out of me,” says Niederkofler as he remembers the dal and naan he had earlier in the day. But while he is fast becoming a fan of the Indian curry, his signature Alpo-Italian-meets-Austrian cuisine is raking in brownie points of its own. “My learning began in my family’s kitchen, which is why I rely so heavily on local produce. A dish is the perfect expression of the region it’s from, and where it’s being served. The best means to marry these two influences is simply to rely on fresh, locally sourced produce,” he says, explaining the secret behind his culinary prowess.
It is this exceptional knack to interpret local sources into innovative cuisine (his signature Foie Gras, a resplendent appetiser of foie gras, crème brûlée and green apple is just one of his legendary creations) is what got St Hurbertus the coveted 2 stars, the first in 2001 and the second in 2006. “But more than any such recognition, the best accolade for a chef is the appreciation of his food by the people he cooks for,” says the affable Niederkofler.
And that appreciation for him has been bountiful. Niederkofler has cooked for the likes of George Clooney, Tom Cruise and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. “Be it an actor, a politician or a normal visitor, they are all alike. I cook to give them an experience, and that experience has to be the same for everyone,” he says. And now, he’s all set to share the same experience with the city’s culinary crowd.
Niederkofler’s specialties are available at Travertino at the Oberoi till November 20.
Lunch timings: 12.30pm-2.30pm Dinner timings: 7.00pm-11.00pm