What to expect at the Spanish food and wine celebration hosted by the executive chef of the Torres winery
The first thing I ask chef Sergio Millet Corbera is about working right next to a vineyard. “The restaurant is located in a typical, old Catalan house, surrounded by vineyards and organic gardens. We have our own chickens that graze in the gardens,” he tells us, about the private restaurant of the Torres winery in Spain, where he is the executive chef. I try to brush aside images of a day at said vineyards, and we get to discussing the purpose of his first visit to Chennai. “We will be doing an a la carte menu at Foccaccia, and I will create a special tapas menu for the bar. As for the wine dinner, I will be doing a traditional Spanish Catalan menu,” he shares plans for tonight’s wine dinner at Hyatt Regency, that will be paired, obviously, with a selection of wines from Torres’ cellars.
Sauces and wines
Though it is not his first time in country — he has made trips on similar Spanish food and wine promotions, to Delhi and Bangalore in the past — he is quite excited about this visit. “My last trip was about a year and a half ago, and now I will be seeing Chennai and Goa for the first time. So there’s a lot for me to look forward to on this trip,” laughs the chef, who says that he tries to adapt to the ingredients available in a country. “Finding the right ingredients is a challenge, so I try to keep it simple. And that is the beauty of Spanish food — our methods are simple, but the food is tasty,” he beams. And that said, he promises us a Paella done with Italian rice, ham with romesco sauce and desserts like cream Catalan. “All paired with wines of different oaking and from different parts of the Catalan region.”
Lessons from Spain
The wine dinner aside, there is more to look forward to, as the chef, who will be in the city for a week, will also be conducting cooking classes. “For the class I will be preparing everything from scratch. We will do a four course meal and I will teach you to make a simple Spanish dessert — choco cream with olive oil and salt,” he promises, and leaves me with a quick lesson for a Catalan base sauce. “Cook onions with olive oil till they caramalise and then add tomatoes – that’s sofrito, and you can make anything with it.”
The Spanish wine dinner takes place tonight at Rs 4,000 plus tax. The cooking class on December 2 costs Rs 2,500 plus tax, inclusive of lunch. Details: 61001234
— Ryan Peppin