When he was just 27 years old, Chef Enrico Derflingher became the first Italian to be employed as a personal chef to the British royal family, working mainly at Kensington Palace from 1987 to 1990.
He then went on to become a personal chef to George Bush senior during his presidency in the 1990s. After managing restaurants in both Japan and Italy, and earning a Michelin star along the way, Chef Enrico has now arrived back in Italy to add some royal expertise to the local cuisine. Earlier this year, he took the helm at the five star CastaDiva Resort and Spa, which overlooks the picturesque Lake Como, as consultant chef.
Chef Enrico spoke to Country Living about returning to his roots, cooking for a president and what the royal family like to eat.
Chef Enrico Derflingher
WHAT WAS YOUR EXPERIENCE LIKE COOKING FOR THE ROYAL FAMILY?
I had the
One of my
WHAT LESSONS DID YOU LEARN IN YOUR ROLE AS A ROYAL CHEF?
In many ways, my experience has inspired the dishes I have added to the menu at CastaDiva, the most notable being the Queen Victoria Risotto, a
The ingredients for the risotto includes Sicilian red shrimps, parmesan, herbs and Italian sparkling wine. The baptism of the dish took place during the first encounter between Ronald Reagan and Michail Gorbachev at the end of the Cold War. I then put my twist on it and served it at important state events at Buckingham Palace and the White House.
A shrimp risotto
I have also learnt how to work with large, professional teams for the preparations of big banquets and have been able to transfer this knowledge to work with the team at CastaDiva who are accustomed to cooking for the highest level of clientele; so really the transition has been seamless.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN COOKING FOR A STATE BANQUET AND BUSY HOTEL RESTAURANT?
Whether cooking for state banquets or hotel guests at CastaDiva, the occasion is still very special for the person dining and the setting is just as formal. Expectations are always high.
That said, one notable difference is that guests at restaurants and hotels have
L'Orangerie restaurant at CastaDiva
HOW DIFFERENT IS IT BEING A PERSONAL CHEF TO A HOTEL CHEF?
My return to the world of hotels started with Jumby Bay in Antigua and the Hotel Eden in Rome after that, where I stayed for nine years and achieved a Michelin star. The fundamental difference is, of course, dedicating all your time to cooking for one family in contrast to cooking in a dynamic restaurant, filled with many guests, all with different preferences and expectations that are forever evolving.
It is always a proud moment when I get the opportunity to welcome the private clients I previously cooked for to CastaDiva here in Lake Como.
CastaDiva Resort overlooking Lake Como
WHAT HAS IT BEEN LIKE RETURNING TO LAKE COMO?
Having spent the last 20 years abroad, I've enjoyed returning to my roots to admire this wonderful corner of Italy once again.
My heritage and returning back to Como itself has inspired the style of the menu here at CastaDiva, as well as the dishes themselves. At L'Orangerie, we have created a tasting menu which consists of entirely local dishes. [There are] several fish dishes, including
This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors