Italian Chef Paolo Collavini has a steely determination in his eyes as he animatedly outlines his plans for Echo, the Cinnamon Grand’s signature Italian Restaurant.
“Clean but aggressive Italian flavours,” he professes. “That’s what I plan to bring to the table,” says this man on a mission, focusing on an ideal that hearkens back to his childhood.
Chef Paolo grew up in simple surroundings in Italy and always had an inkling of what he wanted to do in life whenever he would watch his mother cook. At the heart of his upbringing, was a deep respect and love for fresh, seasonal and simple food.
This innate curiosity helped to develop his culinary skills and set him on a path which would take him around the world. After serving in the army, Chef Paolo decided to take his culinary skill set around the world.
The globetrotting chef has worked in thirteen different countries, mainly Asia and the Middle East. As part of his dream of becoming a world traveler, Chef Paolo worked for Princess Cruises as the Italian Chef on one of their flagship cruise ships.
“That was an incredible thrill. It was great to be in that environment and I absorbed everything, learnt all I could, watched and listened,” he said.
With over 30 years experience, Chef Paolo sees himself as an ambassador of the cuisine, a chef who brings an authentic taste of Italy wherever he goes. On several occasions, he has declined an Executive Chef position to continue working as an Italian Chef.
Paolo’s goal is clear – he is driven to source the best quality produce from Italy and prepare his dishes with the true taste of Italy. “It is not necessary to over-complicate and use superfluous flavours when you are only using the best ingredients available. If you are a traditional Italian chef you can focus on improving the quality of the food,” he explains.
His vast experience has given him insight into the lives of working chefs, advice he is willing to share. “You have to be in love with your job,” he opines. “For me food is from the heart and that translates beautifully onto the plate. As long as you cook with your customer’s interests in heart, you can be a brilliant chef,” he says.