Q&A: Italian Michelin chef Paolo Gramaglia on what inspires him and the food he loves

Chef Paolo Gramaglia was in Abu Dhabi recently for the Italian World Food Summit. Courtesy Luciano Furia
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Michelin-starred chef Paolo Gramaglia, the founder of The President restaurant in Pompeii, Italy, was in the capital recently as part of the Italian Cuisine World Summit. We chat with him about his favourite food and what inspires him.
Q. Why did you become a chef? What are you influences?
A. After I finished my bachelor's degree in mathematics, I realised that my destiny is in food. I travelled to many countries - United States, Portugal, Spain, France, United Kingdom - to gain the experience which I incorporate in the food I cook. Soon after I got back, I met my wife, and a year after we got married, we decided to buy a small restaurant in Pompeii, and two years later I was awarded the Michelin stars. History and travel experiences have been my biggest influences.
Q. How would you describe your style of cooking?
A. Experimental. I take whatever knowledge I have gained during my travels and applied it to my food. For example, I took inspiration from Asian cuisine and fused it with Neapolitan style and created a Neapolitan sushi!
Q. What is your favourite meal to eat?
A. I am a chef, I love everything.
Q. What is your favourite meal to cook?
A. Even though I love to cook everything, the one thing I love are eggs. There is a particular dish I serve at my restaurant - The President in Pompeii - which took me about 10 years to conceptualise - it is worth making a trip for.
Q. What do you think of Abu Dhabi? Is this your first trip here?
A. I absolutely love it, but I feel this is not a city to just love, but to live in. I feel you need to live here to understand it. It is not my first trip to UAE - I have been to Dubai before - but this is my first trip to Abu Dhabi, and it certainly will not be the last.