Italian Mastery

Valerio Pulitani, Executive Chef at La Spiga, Doha, delves into how his upbringing has shaped his approach to Italian gastronomy.

What inspired you to pursue a career as a chef, and how has your upbringing in Rome influenced your culinary style?
As a child, I was always fascinated with the work that chefs did in the kitchen. Looking at them sparked my imagination, painting a picture of adventures like a world of pirates and authorities. I looked at them with respect and admiration. Furthermore, I grew up in a family that always had good food on the table, and this has played a fundamental role in my journey and fostered an appreciation for good food at an early age. I was also fortunate to grow up in Rome as it’s an area that is known for its culinary tradition and renowned chef schools.

With 20 years of experience in the industry, what are some of the most valuable lessons you’ve learned along the way and how do they continue to impact your cooking philosophy?
Cooking has shaped my character and I have learned a lot from all the people I have met in my career. One of the most significant lessons I learned is the importance of humility and open mindedness as there is always something new to learn. By remaining humble and receptive to new ideas, I’ve been able to continually grow and expand my skills. Also, I’ve learnt to never judge a book by its cover and to never give up! In the kitchen, challenges are inevitable, but it’s how we overcome them that defines us as chefs.

If you were stranded on a deserted island, which three kitchen tools would you consider absolutely essential to have with you?
A knife, a lighter and a pan!

What is the story behind your signature dish at La Spiga, and what makes it stand out among the other Italian culinary offerings at the restaurant?
The fresh pasta we make at La Spiga is one of the dishes I am most proud of. Every time I prepare it, I am reminded of my country. Every batch of pasta at La Spiga is made fresh daily, using only the best ingredients to ensure it’s authentically Italian. It is prepared the same way we do in Italy. ✤