Chef of the Week: Enrico Carloni, Head Pastry Chef at SushiSamba in London

How long have you worked at your current restaurant?
I’ve been working at SushiSamba for 4 years.

Where did your passion for cooking come from and where did you learn your skills?
The passion for cooking was born from when I was little. I saw my grandparents in Italy cooking, and from there I was passionate about the world of cooking. I learnt my skills while working because I never went to a pastry school but I was always a little creative.

What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
The adrenaline you feel during the service and the pleasure of seeing your dishes that are appreciated by the customer.

Name three ingredients you couldn’t cook without.
Chocolate, and I play a lot with bitter and acid tastes.

Which piece of kitchen equipment couldn’t you live without?
I could never live without an ice cream machine which is important for me in every dessert to combine an ice cream to give freshness to the dish.

What food trends are you spotting at the moment?
Now it is very fashionable in confectionery to create desserts in the shape of fruits and give them a particular design.

What do you think is a common mistake that lets chefs down?
A common mistake is to use low quality foods that ultimately devalue your plate.

What is your favourite time of year for food, and why?
The best time for a pastry chef is spring/summer because you have the opportunity to have a wide choice of ingredients.

Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
I am proud of every dish I create because it is developed by me and my team.

How do you come up with new dishes?
Let’s say that when I have to invent new dishes many times it comes from a trip or from a particular period of the year that I feel creative.

Who was your greatest influence?
My great influences were when I worked for chefs of Michelin star restaurants such as: Enrico Crippa, Albert Adria, Claude Bosi and Moreno Cedroni who taught me the balance of a dish and respect for seasonal ingredients.

Tell us three chefs you admire
The pastry chefs I admire are Cedric Grolet, Jordi Roca and the brothers Albert and Ferran Adria.

What is your favourite cookbook?
My favourite book is “Anarkia” by Jordi Roca.

Who do you think are the chefs to watch over the next few months?
The chefs to watch in my opinion are: Nicola Fanetti from the “Brace” restaurant in Copenhagen, Michelangelo Mammoliti from the restaurant “La Madernassa” Italy and  Santiago Lastra from the “Kol” restaurant in London.

What’s been your favourite new restaurant opening of the last year?
At the moment no one has impressed me, but I am always tuned into new openings or emerging chefs.