Exciting times are ahead at the Hilton Colombo’s Il Ponte restaurant, with Chef Massimo Zampar on board and a whole new menu on offer.
Committed to serving up healthy and authentic Italian cuisine prepared using the best of ingredients, Chef Zampar is very passionate about what he does, which shows in every dish he serves up – as was evident at the ‘Chef’s Table’ hosted by the hotel for the media recently.
Healthy food to the fore
“I have my own style of cooking, which is all about healthy food, using good ingredients and providing value for money. My mission is to promote Italian food around the world and educate people on how to eat. I hate fast food. Cooking with a microwave is not the way to eat,” he asserted in an interview with the Daily FT.
Healthy food of good quality is often simple yet nice, stated Chef Zampar, adding that all around the world, the most successful restaurants are casual restaurants which are not expensive.
“I want to promote a good food culture. Food shouldn’t be expensive, but it should be healthy. This is the concept I want to give the people here,” he emphasised.
The new menu at Il Ponte, which was launched about two weeks ago, features over 50 new items and underscores Chef’s ‘eat healthy’ message. Most of the ingredients are sourced from Italy while fish and vegetables are locally sourced and some of the meat is from Australia.
Trying out his new dishes at the ‘Chef’s Table’ was an outstanding experience, with a wide and varied selection served up, from the sensational USA Pan Seared Scallop Wrapped with Bacon (with forest mushroom ragout and saffron sauce), Mozzarella Caprese (with fresh tomato, pesto dressing and basil leaf) and Fritto Di Calamari e Gamberi (deep fried calamari, tiger prawns and sun dried tomato mayonnaise) to an excellent Italian Cold Cut Platter with Parma Ham, Coppa, Salami Milano, Forest Ham and Spicy Calabra Salami and an equally impressive Italian Cheese Platter featuring a selection of Italian cheeses – Gorgonzola, Parmesan, Pecorino, Asiago and Fontina, served with balsamic and toasted croutons.
Then it was time for the mains – Squid Ink Tagliatelle, Linguine Aragosta (baby lobster in spicy tomato sauce, garlic and parsley), Spaghetti Aglio Olio and Gamberi (sautéed prawns, garlic, chili flakes and fish stock) and Risotto Con Funghi Misti (carnaroli rice, mix forest mushroom and parmesan cheese), plus two kinds of yummy pizza – Quatto Formaggi (featuring four types of Italian cheese – Mozzarella, Fontina, Asiago and Gorgonzola) and Di Mare (homemade tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and mixed seafood).
The meal came to a close with some delicious desserts – an absolutely exquisite Tiramisu, a passion fruit parfait with chocolate sauce and tiramisu ice cream, and a divine chocolate mousse with hazelnut and orange sauce.
Having tasted and enjoyed all these dishes, this much is evident: Chef Zampar’s new menu is destined to be a sure-fire hit and shine a spotlight on Il Ponte, drawing foodies there in droves.
Chef Massimo Zampar
Chef Massimo Zampar was born in Palmanova, Italy in 1978. Born and raised in the north-east of Italy, he has always been a passionate cook. When he was young, he was mainly interested in his own regional cuisine, where the Mediterranean tradition merged with Austro-Hungarian influences.
After graduating from the Chef’s School Friuli Venezia Giulia in Grado in 1999, he began his career between Atlantic Hotel, in Lignano Sabbiadoro and Alleluya, Baglioni Hotels in Tuscany.
Once he was deeply specialised in Italian cuisine, he moved to London, where he worked as Chef de Partie from 2002 to 2004, in Carlton Tower at Grissini Restaurant which is a member of Jumeirah International Group. His first assignment in Hyatt Hotels took place in 2004, in Amapola Restaurant, Hyatt Regency La Manga in southern Spain. He later worked in” Il Gusto” Restaurant, Madrid, one of Spain’s leading Italian restaurants.
Before venturing to Turkey, he returned home to Venice, Italy and worked in De Pisis Italian restaurant, Bauer Hotel. He worked as Chef de Cuisine in “Spazio” Italian Restaurant, Hyatt Regency Istanbul from 2006 till 2008, where Felipe Massa, the Ferrari team driver, was a famous guest.
In 2008 he returned to Bauer Hotel, Venice, Italy where he furthered his training under the tutelage of Chef Giovanni Ciresa. Here Charles, Prince of Wales, and Camilla Parker Bowles, Duchess of Cornwall, were highly esteemed guests.
In spring 2009 Massimo moved to Manila Philippines. He worked in the Italian restaurant Paparazzi in Edsa Shangri-La Hotel and after a successful stint there, Zampar opened his own restaurant, Café Murano in Makati City, Philippines.
In 2010 he was given the opportunity to work in one of the world’s best resorts, Four Seasons Langkawi, where he enjoyed his position as Italian Chef of Serai Restaurant until 2012. Thereafter he moved to Kuala Lumpur as a consultant for Nero Teca Restaurant (Italian restaurant). He also worked in a Bavarian group where they had a chain of restaurants which also served Italian/Mediterranean food.
In 2014 Zampar moved to Double Tree by Hilton in Johor Bharu and assisted the team in their opening of the hotel. He also brought their restaurant Tosca to the No. 2 position out of 550 restaurants in the city.
Now at the Hilton Colombo, he’s already making waves with his all-new menu and commitment to healthy, authentic and delicious food.
This article originally appeared on Dailyft