Meet pastry chef Beniamino Passannante
Beniamino Passannante’s passion for pastry is clear for all to see at Hotel Principe di Savoia in Milan. His desserts show true flair and here he shares with us just some of his favourite things to eat.
What’s your hotel signature dish?
The dish that best represents me at Hotel Principe di Savoia is our popular ‘baba’. This famous Neapolitan dessert represents my origins and reminds me about my childhood and family. It’s a versatile choice because you can combine it with lots of different flavours, such as seasonal fruits and sauces.
What do you like to cook for friends at home?
When I dine with family and friends at home, I like to research something new to make for them. Ideally, it would be a dish that reminds them of a special time or trip we spent together.
What made you want to be chef?
I decided to become a pastry chef because I think that cooking, and pastry in particular, gives you the possibility to express your artistic soul in all its shades. From the creative flair of finding the perfect combination of flavours, to the finishing decorations for an eye-catching result.
Have you got any handy chef’s tips to share?
With pastry the real trick is to follow the rules, to treat it like an exact science before you start experimenting with your own personal twist. Another tip is to taste everything you prepare, there’s no point creating a dish that looks wonderful if it doesn’t taste delicious too.
What inspires your creations?
I’m inspired by the change of seasons and like to work with what nature gives us at different times of the year. It’s important to use seasonal ingredients whenever possible because they have so much more flavour.
What’s your favourite food memory?
As a trainee pastry chef I worked on the beautiful Amalfi coast and I really remember how the head chef treated all the ingredients with great care and respect. It’s something that’s stayed with me and still makes me keen to study different ingredients in order to get the best out of them.
Chefs work long hours, how do you like to spend your time off?
My hobby is traditional fencing, it helps me to relax and switch off from the world and live in the moment.
What food could you not live without?
I couldn’t imagine cooking without plenty of fresh seasonal fruits and a selection of dried fruits for added versatility. With these wonderful ingredients I have the power to make all kinds of delicious desserts.
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