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Phuket culinary experts reveal the secrets of fine cooking

Bellini Kitchen Club: Aspiring home chefs in Phuket rejoice, three of the island’s premier experts on everything fine dining are collaborating on a new monthly foodie column Bellini Kitchen Club.

By Steven Layne

Tuesday 3 May 2016, 10:09AM

Three-time Pizza World Cup champion, Chef Danilo “Lucky” Sangrigoli, and fellow Phuket culinary experts, Chef Francesco Greco, executive chef at Cape Sienna Hotel & Villas, and Chef Ronnie Macuja, executive chef at Higher Restaurant, are coming together to share their techniques and demonstrate how easy and fun cooking can be.

At the forefront is their intent to create a better understanding of quality ingredients, especially why some are more expensive than others.

“As chefs, we aren’t magicians. If I buy an old tomato, it’s still an old tomato, I cannot change that. But of course if you give me a fantastic red tomato, I can work that tomato to another level,” explained Chef Danilo, who adds that the column is aimed at people who like to eat well, but who may not have time to take a three-month course in fine dining.

“Our readers are those who learn by doing, by following the recipes which we will provide in the column,” he said.

Key to the column’s success will be feedback and interaction between readers and the chefs.

“If something is not working, we welcome readers to approach us, as a group, or individually, with questions, something they want to know, perhaps from a recent meal they had with us,” says Chef Danilo.

Chef Francesco elaborates. “Becoming a chef is a long way, it takes years and years and years of training, and learning. It took me over 15 years to arrive to the level of being able to manage a kitchen at a fine dining restaurant.

“We do not expect to transform an ordinary cook reading this column to become a brilliant chef, that would be silly. However, being a chef means catering food for a lot of people, a lot of people who all want different things. It can be quite demanding.

“But that’s not necessarily the case for cooking at home, where one might only need to prepare food for three, four or five persons at a time, who sit down at the same time and all eat the same thing. Given this relative simplicity, then we can definitely help people at home put on the table something really nice with minimal effort and fair expense. This is what being a chef at home means.”

Chef Francesco personally cooks dinner for his wife and three kids nearly every day, which he boasts only takes him between 10 to 30 minutes per meal.

Chef Ronnie is looking forward to contributing to the column, likewise.

“This will be a good chance, as a chef, to give back to the readers of The Phuket Newsand the greater Phuket community and provide them with simple recipes and advice. They can then use this at home or for hosting small social gatherings, in which they can, for example, show off their fantastic villa to guests. You don’t always have to go to an expensive restaurant to enjoy fine dining,” he says.

Chef Danilo is confident that this column will encourage readers to eat at quality restaurants more often, when they appreciate that eating quality food can at times actually be cheaper in a restaurant than at home.

In the meantime, readers are encouraged to send in questions they may have about fine dining and would like featured in a future column, by writing to Chef Danilo (, Chef Francesco ( or Chef Ronnie (

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