I was excited to try my first Master class and it happened to be with Leonardo Maltese, the Italian Head Chef at Bice Mare. The first thing that I learnt at the restaurant is that Bice is not pronounced like B with an Ice but Bee-che or Beach-ay, Italiano style. And Mare doesn’t sound like Mayor, it’s pronounced as Maa-Ray!
The chef started off with some brief history of pasta and how its been around for centuries and now expanded globally. It is very easy to tell when a chef is passionate about his food and Mr. Maltese certainly was.
The Chef was in the center with his table ready and we had 4-5 tables surrounding him with similar equipment. Flour, eggs, Hand roller, cutter and a manual machine for pasta rolling and shaping. The guests were mainly media and food bloggers based in Dubai.
If you see in the 8 pictures above, it might look very easy and simple to make Pasta from scratch! But its NOT. Pasta making is hard and a lot of work goes into it. You have to perfect the dough and the rolling. You must stretch out the dough in the machine a lot of times and at multiple size adjustments in order to get the perfect thickness of Pasta.
There are approximately 350 different types of pasta around the world – and about four times that many names for them! For example, due to its shape, farfalle pasta is often called “butterfly” or “bow-tie” pasta. Cooks use different shapes and sizes of pasta for different purposes.
After the chef was done with his demonstration, we tried making the pasta from the scratch ourselves.I was partnered with Elizabeth from Aquarius Magazine. The chef was guiding us at critical points. I did manage to squeeze out some Tagliatelle and some fine Linguine aka Spaghetti. Believe me..It is time consuming and an art but can be perfected by anyone willing to learn.
Pasta making is losing its ground to the commercial and packed products. The chef did narrate as well how back in the day, the grandmas use to make pasta from scratch all over Italy. Now, in a busy world, no one has the time to do so. There is a huge difference in quality between the fresh and the commercial pasta. That is why it is just the high end and fine dining restaurants that are making their own pasta.
Bice Mare is now offering to learn the art of making the perfect pasta with Executive Chef Leonardo Maltese. The class also includes 3-course lunch for AED 470, every Friday at 1 PM.
We had a fabulous 3 course lunch (Restaurant review in next post) as well and then were presented our Certificates of Excellence. I would like to recommend such a class to increase your knowledge on Italian cuisine and plus you get to eat what you made with feed back from the chef!