What’s a typical day like for a head chef in a five-class hotel? Alfonso Santomauro, the head chef of Prego, the Italian restaurant in the Westin Hotel Guangzhou, said “I normally like to come to the kitchen earlier. Then I would check the mail, to see what we do today and prepare for tomorrow.”
Chef Alfonso in the interview.
Alfonso likes to be in the kitchen a lot. Having worked in the kitchen for about 20 years, he never gets bored and still feels “not enough and satisfied”. “I always have a motivation to improve myself”, he said.
He seem to be born with a strong passion for cooking. He went to culinary school in his 14 years old. “My grandmother and my mon inspired me a lot when I was a kid”, said Alfonso who would discuss new dishes with his parents from time to time.
When creating new dishes, Alfonso would draw them on paper. His dishes look like paintings.
Three months ago, he ended his 4-year chef job in Dubai, and chose to start a new adventure in Guangzhou. It’s his first time in China. “I don't know why, I just feel Guangzhou is the right place to go”, said Alfonso who’s always interested in different culture.
Working in Prego is a new experience for him. He is not only the chef, but also a team leader, “To be a team leader, not a boss. I want them to see me as a friend, then colleagues.”
Alfonso is training his staff.
Alfonso has worked in both Europe and Middle East, but he always cooks Italian dishes. “I never find another food better than Italian”, he said.
Now what will he bring to foodies in Guangzhou?
“My dish is always my dish. Some chefs abroad make fusions, but that is not really Italian food, and I don't like that. You come to Prego, you have best food, different food, and it’s pure Italian”, said Alfonso proudly. “Some dishes I make, you can only try them in Prego”, said Alfonso proundly.
“My dishes are healthy and fresh. When you eat, you feel very comfortable, you don't feel heavy and thick. I don't like much frying. It is not how I present the food”, said Alfonso.
One of his signature dishes, slow cooking herbs marinated cod fish and cherry tomatoes soup.
This is one of the traditional dishes for Christmas. “The traditional way to cook cod fish is to deep fry. But that’s not my philosophy. So I started to think of a new way. By slowing cooking, all the ingredients absorb the flavor of herbs. And it’s both healthy and tasty”.
Alfonso’s signature dish. Beef tenderloin, mashed potatoes, green apple, gorgonzola sauce.
Alfonso enjoyed his work very much.
When asked about the most amazing thing of being a chef, Alfonso said, “When I see people enjoying my food, it makes me proud. It’s also nice for me to work in such kitchen (Prego). Here I’m a teacher, a friend, or like a father, especially for the young generation. It’s special to me.”
Do you want to encounter Alfonso in Prego’s lively open kitchen and have a taste of pure Italian?
View from Prego & Lounge.
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