The sweet side of Heinz Beck in Dubai

The story of Francesco Acquaviva, pastry chef at the Bavarian chef’s restaurant in the Emirates

25-05-2016
Born in 1990 he already has plenty of experience w

Born in 1990 he already has plenty of experience with great chefs, with Heinz Beck above all. The latter has now sent him to direct the sweet side of his Social by Heinz Beck restaurant in Dubai: Francesco Acquaviva tells his nice tale of career pastry chef at Identità Golose

Having been blessed to arrive in one of the best restaurants in the world, Heinz Beck’s La Pergola, after having visited like every young person many kitchens in Europe in search for an opportunity, I began a first “hands on” training experience in pastry making in the three starred restaurant in Rome.

Everyone arriving in one of the chef’s restaurants follows the same process: you start working hard right from the start – a decisive element in order to learn the job – something necessary so as to have the professionalism on which a future career is to be based.

The dessert presented by Acquaviva at Identità Milano 2016: born by a provocation of Beck’s, it’s a homage to the great Ennio Morricone. Eight ingredients, as many as the films in the composer’s career, creating a dessert of contrasts and exaggerations just like Quentin Tarantino’s films (Morricone won the Academy Award for the soundtrack of the latest film by the splatter genius’, The Hateful Eight)

The dessert presented by Acquaviva at Identità Milano 2016: born by a provocation of Beck’s, it’s a homage to the great Ennio Morricone. Eight ingredients, as many as the films in the composer’s career, creating a dessert of contrasts and exaggerations just like Quentin Tarantino’s films (Morricone won the Academy Award for the soundtrack of the latest film by the splatter genius’, The Hateful Eight)

In my very case, I obviously started from the very bottom; I slowly began to work with greater confidence inside the team and most of all I always tried to present myself to Beck with the greatest humbleness and desire to learn. After the training I was offered to move to Dubai and to my greatest surprise the offer was for the position of pastry chef.

When you work in a place such as La Pergola you obviously don’t immediately feel you’re constantly being observed by the chef, but I can assure you that he’s always present, whenever you make a mistake and in every instant in general. He looks over every step of yours, not to speak about the constant lessons which have made my luck as a pastry chef, still do and I hope will continue to do so in the future. Indeed, putting aside all the research I autonomously do on each dish, every dish is always created by sharing its shape and content with Beck himself.

Acquaviva at Identità Milano 2016

Acquaviva at Identità Milano 2016

This is essential when you work with him “remotely” (even though he’s not that remote); in Dubai I found a world of flavours that were new to me or at least little known in pastry making and this only increased my curiosity and the need to share my ideas with the chef. My day, on top of the daily work, is always planned so as to find the time to do some research in spice markets – the famous suk – and in the old city, but even at the “competition”, so as to understand what surrounds me and, in general, observe. The first rule I learnt in Beck’s kitchen is indeed this one: curiosity, observation, creativity while always keeping your feet on the ground.

The city of Dubai engages you by surrounding you with colours, perhaps it’s even aggressive and the common image of a land of luxury and excess is true. But for those working there, it’s a great stimulus and professional challenge.

At the end of Francesco Acquaviva’s lesson at Identità Milano, the coup de theatre: a live streaming of Heinz Beck from Tokyo saying hallo to the congress and thanking Paolo Marchi

At the end of Francesco Acquaviva’s lesson at Identità Milano, the coup de theatre: a live streaming of Heinz Beck from Tokyo saying hallo to the congress and thanking Paolo Marchi

Following this process I had the possibility of presenting my humble work even in some important events such as Identità Milano 2016 [here’s the portrait we made of Acquaviva on that occasion and here’s the report of his lesson], for which I’ll always be thankful to Beck. It was exactly at Identità Milano that I experienced the pleasure of being on a stage in front of hundreds of people, it was a very big emotion… And a huge responsibility.

Now I must go on: I try to follow the indications of my superiors and I always hope to continue to be so lucky as to be guided by great culinary masters such as Beck, as well as perhaps acquire training experience in different cultures. And to find in these great professionals the availability to teach to young people like me the most important elements for my professional future.


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