What do you do and how did you get into the industry?
Hi, I’m Federico Zapperi the chef de cuisine of Terrace Restaurant (at The Danna Langkawi). It has been 15 years since I first joined this amazing industry. I stay because of my satisfaction in producing and serving experiences that are imprinted in our guest’s memories. I am extremely grateful for working to make other people happy!
Share with us an interesting story from behind the scenes.
Every experience is made from interesting happenings; a lot of them happy and funny, few others (unfortunately) sad. Every day’s life in the kitchen has stories, for example, the creation of a new dish (it can happen in many different ways and it can take short or long periods of time), the delivery of an important ingredient, the expectations of some guests, the success of an event. One I can recall recently at Terrace was when we had an important wine dinner. I ordered an extremely delicate and expensive product from Europe. It happened that due to bad weather in that country, the delivery of this product was delayed and I wasn’t sure I could get it on time for the event. Well, luckily the supplier went out of his way and brought it personally a couple of hours before the beginning of the dinner – all done to make guests happy.
What’s the best/ worst part of your job?
The best part of my job is that from raw materials I can create emotions for our guests. The worst part is that sometimes our efforts and final results are not appreciated by the diners.
What’s one of your favourite meals in Malaysia?
The roasted duck is great, but the wan tan soup is out of this world at Hong Kee Bamboo Noodle in Georgetown. It’s my favourite place on every getaway to Penang.
The perfect day off would be…
… simply chilling and have a good time with my wife and our beautiful daughter Sofia. If we talk about the perfect holiday, then is travelling and seeing as much as possible, but always with my girls.
A day in the life of a chef is…
To me, the production (mis en place) in the morning and the servicing of the dinner are the most important parts of the day. Preparing the mis en place you focus and concentrate on the success of the dinner service. The service in the evening is the summary of your work during the morning and daytime. To describe it in three words: passion, dedication and gratification.
What do you do for fun?
Cooking, travelling, eating and drinking.
What’s something you’d like guests to know about Terrace Langkawi?
It’s a cosy restaurant, where the people can find honest and humble food, close to the Italian traditions but with an international twist.
What’s your favourite food and beverage pairing?
A wonderful bouillabaisse with a glass (or maybe two) of Pouilly Fume.
What’s your view on the hospitality industry in Langkawi?
Great potential! In the last couple of years, it seems that something is moving in the right direction with the addition of very good new restaurants and hotels. The organization of successful events – I think that is improving, slowly but steady.
What’s in store for you in the upcoming months?
I will update the menu with some new dishes and fresh ideas. In the meantime, we are working with some wine suppliers to organize a couple of interesting wine dinners around August…
Find more interviews such as this one with chef Federico Zapperi here and check out some of Federico Zapperi’s recipes in this article.