Francesco Acquaviva

crediti: Brambilla - Serrani

crediti: Brambilla - Serrani

Social by Heinz Beck

The Palm Jumeirah, Crescent East
Dubai, Emirati Arabi Uniti
t: +971.4.8182222

When preparing this portrait of Francesco Acquaviva, I was reading his cv, from the first steps to our days, including his internships: La Taverna Angelica, Giuda Ballerino, Splendid Royal, Jolanda Ristorante, De Russie Hotel, Casa del Jazz, Il Convivio Troiani, lHosteria dell’Orso with Gualtiero Marchesi, Open Colonna and La Pergola with Heinz Beck, all in Rome; then Antonello Colonna in Labico, Chalet del Lago in Anguillara, Hotel Des Pecheurs in Corsica, two Spanish restaurants such as El Cenador de Amos in Santander and Quique Dacosta in Denia, Reale with Niko Romito in Abruzzo, in Milan with Carlo Cracco, in Verona with Giancarlo Perbellini. Perhaps I’ve forgotten something.

The point is this: Acquaviva was born in Rome in 1990. He’s very young. How has he managed to concentrate all this in such a short time? When we point this out he answers with a smile: «I started early, at 14. During catering school I liked acquiring experience in the summer. Even now I have a goal: doing an important internship every year, throughout the vacations».

This remarkable determination took him far away, to Dubai, where since December 2013 he’s the pastry chef at Social By Heinz Beck inside the Waldorf Astoria Palm Jumeirah. A fulminating career for a guy who wasn’t even born in the business, coming from a family of nurses («My mother Adelia, however, has always been a great cook») and only has a special link in the field thanks to uncle Orazio, the soul behind a small restaurant in Basilicata, Vecchia Matera, who every time he came to Rome always had the perfect present for his talented nephew: «One time it was Nobu’s book, another it was Ducasse’s, the third a book on French Pastry making…».

His dream, as a kid, was to arrive at La Pergola, «I must have sent my cv to Beck some 70 times, from 14 onwards». Then perhaps out of desperation the German chef answered him, 7 years later. He took him in the tri-starred Roman restaurant where Acquaviva showed all his passion for the sweet side of the meal, «I’ve always liked desserts, as a child my hands were constantly dirty with chocolate».

Now in Dubai he vents his yearning for growing: «The dessert I’m most proud of? Some 3 months ago, there was an important dinner scheduled. The supplier cancelled on us at the last moment, I couldn’t prepare what was planned. Total panic. So I improvised in an hour: pineapple cremoso, coconut mousse, tempered chocolate…». Beck tasted it: «Wow!». Now the dish is in the menu permanently.

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Carlo Passera

journalist born in 1974, for many years he has covered politics, mostly, and food in his free time. Today he does exactly the opposite and this makes him very happy. As soon as he can, he dives into travels and good food. Identità Golose's editor in chief