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David Rocco’s Dolce India sees the celebrity chef adding a touch of Italy to our local cuisine

He’s experimental, self-taught and hates liver. The Canadian-born Italian has donned the role of author, chef and even his kids’ soccer team coach—but you would know him better as the host of David Rocco’s Dolce Vita, where  he explores the Italian way of life and food. After about 10 weeks of filming in India (Mumbai, Jaipur, Chennai and New Delhi), his upcoming series, David Rocco’s Dolce India, is just days away from being aired on Fox Traveller, and Rocco says that he spent countless hours cooking. “When I wasn’t cooking, I was eating. It’s a tough life, but someone’s gotta do it,” he begins, adding that all his research was done post the filming of each episode. “I like going in with an open mind, open heart and just exploring… trying the different spices and ingredients first hand instead of just reading about them.”

Best of both
On the show, Rocco explores Indian food, coming up with an exciting fusion of Italian and Indian recipes along the way. “In Jaipur, I made mutton Bolognese. We started with Indian style minced mutton, cooked with garam masala and spices, and then added extra tomato sauce and served it over pasta,” says the celebrity chef who has fallen in love with mustard oil. “It’s now my second favourite oil! I’m still using it now, at home, for some of my dishes,” says Rocco, who enjoyed the chutneys and the fish markets that Chennai had to offer. “It was an amazing experience. Being there at 5 am and seeing all the fish come in. Except, I didn’t realise I was seasick until it was too late. I made the chutneys and dosas my morning ritual.”

Al dente, please
After having tried the likes of lamb eyeballs in Jordan, one would think that Rocco would have a stomach of steel, but he admits to being shaken at what he saw in a slaughter house. “I love goat, but watching one slaughtered before we cooked it gave me a lot to think about,” says Rocco. And as far as fusing two cuisines goes, he admits, “In reality, the cuisines are so similar that it was hard to go wrong when combining them. The biggest difference is that Italians like their rice and pasta al dente.”

Premiers on March 20 on Fox Traveller, and airs on Thursday and Friday at 9.30 pm

-Ryan Peppin

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