While in Brussels I meet a successful ‘expat’: Chef Rosa Caldarola.
Rosa was born in Minervino Murge, a small town in the province of Bari, since a child she was fascinated by the culinary skills of her mother Raffaella, often in the kitchen as there were 4 children in the family.
At 10 y.o. Rosa already used to cook or rather ‘mess around’ triyng to make desserts. Her passion has become a vocation, she attended the Canosa Hotel School and then invited to be the executive chef of the luxurious Juliana Restaurant located in the 5-star Juliana Hotel located in the spectacular Place des Martyres.
The restaurant boasts the work of the Italian designer Eugenio Manzoni, who created an eclectic environment, full of stylistic references, from the gigantic clock of the film Metropolis, to a mirror by Philippe Starck, to the beautiful Art Déco ceiling.
I met Chef Caldarola for a nice interview.
Buongiorno Rosa, classic question: which car do you drive?
Well, Brussels is not a huge city, the distances are quite small, so I can menage to live without a car, plus I live a few steps from the restaurant, so … let’s walk!
Do you miss the pleasure of driving?
A little, but I make up for it when I’m on vacation in my beloved Puglia. There I have a very dear friend who lends me her legendary blue Fiat 500 that takes me up and down my wonderful region.
Is there a bit of her homeland on the Juliana menu?
Of course, some dishes reflect my Apulian heritage. I love to enhance my native country with giving space to its products, such as oil and burrata, but in the menu there are also some classics of Belgian cuisine, such as the famous ‘croquettes de crevettes’ or ‘legumes du potager‘, very fresh vegetables or the ‘king’ champagne that becomes the protagonist of my tiramisu or the chocolate desserts inspired by the famous Belgian ‘maitre chocolatier’ Pierre Marcolini, awarded as the best pastry chef in the world.
Do you cook at home?
Yes, I like to invite friends and cook either to improvise or to go typical Apulian, like the ‘tiella’, rice, potatoes and mussels...
Wow, that’s my favorite dish … are you inviting me next time?
(laughs) With pleasure, but we have to wait for the right season, when the mussels are, bite, tasty and juicy, now they are too small…
A ‘family’ dish?
Certainly the traditional Sunday’s dish: Nonna Rosa’s ravioli, with ricotta, bufala mozzarella, spinach, lemons and thyme.
Well, let’s take a jurney on your legendary 500. What’s in the picnic basket?
A delicious dish, which is a tribute to one of the national glories of Belgian cuisine the croquettes which I make in a slightly more Italian version, such as ‘croquettes with parmesan’.
Here the recipe!
300g flour 00
500 ml of fresh milk
3 egg yolks
450 gr grated parmesan
350 gr of white bread crumbs
4-5 eggs for the breading
Pepper as needed.
Salt to taste.
Nutmeg to taste
2 l oil for frying
In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Sprinkle with 160 grams of flour and cook for 1 or 2 minutes without browning the flour, whisking constantly.
Pour in the milk. Bring to a boil, stirring regularly.
Add the parmesan and beaten egg yolks. Salt and pepper and mix. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes over low heat.
Pour the mixture into a 20 cm square pan. Level the surface. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.
With the cooled Parmesan mixture, create balls and mash them lightly. Prepare three soup plates. In the first pour the rest of the flour. in the second beat the whole eggs, in the third pour the breadcrumbs.
Flour the parmesan croquettes, pass them in the beaten eggs, then cover them with breadcrumbs.
In a deep fryer, heat the frying oil until it reaches 190 ° C on a cooking thermometer.
Fry the parmesan croquettes. Drain them on absorbent paper.
Sprinkle some fried parsley and have a good picnic!
Travel, food & lifestyle.
Milanese by birth, lives between New York, Milan and the rest of the world.
Cesare photographs and writes about cities, cultures, lifestyles and either traditional or innovative gastronomic delights.
Cesare meets and interview top chefs from all over the world, ‘steals’ their recipes in a ” non touristy tourist ”