Today we have the pleasure of having the Chef Fundim Gjepali among us. Fundim lives and works in Italy, in Rome. In Italy it is now present by well 21 years. He came from Albania when he was still a boy, with many dreams to fulfill.
But he was not a simple dreamer, he proved to be a great worker, not pulling back from hard and heavy commitments, those that Italy could offer to a young emigrant. So, start by being a dishwasher in a restaurant, until it is discovered by its obvious manual skills with the tools and kitchen products, by the owner of the restaurant. In this way, Fundim begins to work as a cook assistant, to try to get better and better in his true passion, the kitchen, through various courses and experiences, until today he becomes Executive Chef in the Restaurant "Antico Arco "In Rome.
A modest, humble, reserved person. Despite his fame gained in his profession he already speaks so much and very well about him, he prefers to stay away from the spotlight and in the meantime, work, invent, propose new ideas that satisfy his professional expectations towards him and that, consequently, satisfy the customers of local.
His cuisine is based on the exchange of flavors and recipes from both sides of the Adriatic, on the "Philosophical line" as he himself specifies, of the curiosity that arouses the taste of the fusion that comes from this exchange. In her culinary imagination, Albania is always present. Try to coordinate and unite elements of both our countries, Italy and Albania, creating a unique and special bridge of tastes and flavors.
This is the strength of his genius and his success, in addition to his great and serious commitment.
Hence the idea of working also in Albania, opening a luxury restaurant, and therefore Fundim is Chef of theHotel-Restaurant "Padam " in Tirana.
The "Padam" restaurant brings together the retro charm of its interior, with a "nouvelle-cuisine" menu (new cuisine) without comparison and a carefully selected wine list. Located in an elegant villa in Tirana, in the villa that the Albanians remember as a place for filming and making the film "The Prefect" - "Prefekti" with the great Albanian actor, Robert Ndrenika.
Fundim is also involved in the jury of the Albanian TV program Master Chef Albania.
Let's get back to us.
Let's talk with Fundim about the most recent event that sees him as the protagonist and winner once again.
This is the event for tourism and gastronomy, organized by the Italian Touring Club.
The staff of the experts of the Italian Touring Club, after various performances and tastings in restaurants throughout Italy, choose to reward the best chefs in their preparation of various recipes and products.
The Italian Touring Club is a non-profit association, fwave of the 8 November 1894 from a group of 57 velocipedisti, with the intent to spread the ideal and practical values of cycling and travel, the Tci immediately attracts the interest of Italian society, reaching the 16.000 members already in the 1899.
At the end of the 1980s, the Studies center , which inaugurates the activity in the field of tourism consultancy, and the commitment in the field of vocational training of tourist operators is strengthened. In the 1992 the Study Center publishes the first of the White Books, dossiers concerning fundamental themes for tourism, the environment and cultural heritage. In the 1996 the Tci proves once again a pioneer and is the first Italian tourist association to have a website!
The Italian Touring Club stands out in the course of its centuries-old history for its strong commitment to the "development of tourism, understood also as a means of knowledge of countries and cultures, and of mutual understanding and respect among peoples. In particular the T.
I. intends to collaborate in the protection and education for a correct enjoyment of the Italian heritage of history, art and nature, which it considers as a whole irreplaceable asset to be transmitted to future generations ”. (From the first article of the Italian Touring Club Statute)
So, in this event, ours Chef Fundim, received the award La Granda, "Best meat recipe".
The Prize awarded to Fundim, “Best Meat Recipe", Bears the name"La Granda".
"La Granda" is of a well-known importance in the agri-food fair, as Sergio Capaldo is the founder of the association that bears this name, and also President of the "La Granda" Consortium of breeders and it was he who financed this event.
The entire course of Sergio Capaldo is to be considered a constantly evolving research whose aim is to improve and optimize all the steps of the food chain, protecting its quality and becoming a reference for those who make it a lifestyle choice.
We ask him for an opinion on the matter:
Hello Chef Fundim, welcome to ALBANIA NEWS.
We congratulate you on this new and well-deserved award you have recently received.
Can you explain what this recipe for meat consists of, what's so special that it led the jury to award them the prize?
I think my philosophy of cooking and gastronomic ethics was appreciated, my commitment to working ingredients that are produced in companies, where the environment is respected and the rights of the worker.
My creativity and my continuity at the "Antico Arco", where I have been chefs for almost 9 years.
What ingredients are the strong point of this recipe?
The raw material, the freshness of the dish. Being a plate of raw meat.
I made a dish of simple ingredients, but with a fantastic result.
A dish that reflects myself.
In this recipe, did you consider any element of Albanian gastronomy?
No, in this recipe there is no element of Albanian gastronomy.
What is the wine with which you recommend to accompany this dish?
An important Piedmontese red!
And in Albania, in his "Padam" restaurant, is this dish on the menu?
This dish is also present in Tirana in our restaurant, it is very popular and very popular.
Other events in sight?
I have so many wonderful ideas to do in both shores of the Adriatic! Slowly as I have done until now, I try to make my dreams come true.
And at the restaurant in Tirana, how often do you come back?
I am very present and when I am not around, my collaborators are present from the "Antico Arco".
I am very happy with the way we are proceeding to the "Padam" restaurant, where customers are very fond of us and really appreciate my kitchen.
All the international personalities who come to Albania stop at our restaurant to learn about and try the new Albanian cuisine.
His experience as a member of the Master Chef Albania jury: How do you see the Albanian youth potential in the gastronomy and cuisine sector? Have you noticed any real talents among them?
Young Albanians are full of determination and hunger for success.
The restaurant is very tied to the economy of the country.
Albania is a dynamic country, but has difficulty in supporting gourmet catering, which has very high production costs.
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