Italian chef inspired by Colombian cuisine

A New York-based Italian chef has been inspired by Colombian cuisine and wants to bring some of the nation’s flavors and recipes home to his restaurants.

“The world inspires me. This trip to Colombia has inspired me, when I return to New York, I’m definitely going to get more potatoes. You have to open your mind in order to be inspired,” explained world-renowned Chef Iacopo Falai.

Falai’s claim to fame has been his conversion of La Trattoria Santa Lucia into Caffe Falai, now one of the best Italian restaurants in the world.

After a recent visit to Bogota, his second time in Colombia, Chef Falai decided to bring some of Colombia’s traditional dishes home to New York.

He became fascinated with the variety of products available in Colombia, including it’s immense diversity of vegetables, fruits, dairy products, and meats.

“The fascination I have with Colombia’s products is that one can walk through the market with closed eyes and easily choose the different kinds of potatoes and vegetables,” Falai said, with eyes closed and a smile on his face.

“I want to come back here and investigate a little more, because it seems unbelievable,” the chef gushed.

His first night back in New York Falai prepared a meal inspired by the flavours of Colombia; fresh octopus cooked with vegetables, accompanied by an assortment of potatoes and an antipasto bathed in sweet vinegar.

Falai restaurant is 68 Clinton street, between Rivington and Stanton, on Manhattan’s lower East Side and features contemporary Italian cuisine.

In 2006 and 2008 the Italian chef opened Falai Panetteria in the lower East Side and Caffe Falai in SoHo, offering homemade pastries and breads, as well as casual Italian cuisine.

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