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Home > The Chef > Interview: A culinary exploration with Social’s Chef de Cuisine Carmine Faravolo

Sponsored: Embark on an extraordinary culinary journey at Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah’s Social, where Chef de Cuisine Carmine Faravolo invites discerning diners to an exclusive Chef’s Table experience

Carmine Faravolo, the skilled Chef de Cuisine at Social, brings a wealth of culinary expertise and a deep-rooted passion for Italian cuisine to Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah. His culinary journey began under the guidance of his grandmother, Nonna Maria, who imparted the art of cooking. With over a decade of experience, Chef Carmine’s international career commenced in 2008 at Era Ora restaurant in Naples, Italy, followed by stints at renowned Michelin-starred establishments such as La Cantinella and Portici Hotel in Italy. His global adventures continued with culinary internships at Quique Dacosta in Spain and positions at prestigious London restaurants, including Quattro Passi and Fera Restaurant at Claridge’s Hotel.

In an exclusive interview with Chef Carmine, he shares a glimpse into the behind-the-scenes at Social and what to look forward to at the Chef’s Table:

Can you tell us about the inspiration behind the menu at Social, Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah?

The blind menu is modern yet has a playfully quirky take on authentic Italian peninsular cuisine, where hearty favourites combine with innovative flavour pairings, that have been inspired by my work around the world, my childhood, and most importantly the seasonal produce and ingredients are a huge factor to the ever-changing blind tasting menu.

How has your culinary journey around the world influenced the dishes you create at Social?

My journey across the globe has truly left an indelible mark on the way I approach cooking today. The diverse culinary landscapes I’ve encountered have influenced not just my palate but also the way I present my dishes. When it comes to plating, I’ve picked up styles and techniques that transcend borders, creating a visual symphony on the plate that reflects the beauty of different cultures.

The spices of the Far East, the boldness of Latin America – they’ve all found their way into my repertoire. But here’s the magic – I’ve managed to weave these global influences seamlessly into the rich tapestry of traditional Italian flavours.

It’s like taking a journey around the world while savouring the comforting embrace of a classic Italian dish. So, when you dig into one of my creations, you’re not just getting a taste of Italy; you’re experiencing a culinary adventure that’s been shaped by the sights, sounds, and flavours of every corner of the globe. It’s a celebration of diversity, an ode to tradition.

Could you tell us about the process of selecting and sourcing the finest ingredients for your dishes at Social?

Absolutely, selecting the finest ingredients for my dishes at Social is a meticulous process that revolves around authenticity and sustainability. I believe in bringing the true essence of Italian flavours to each dish, and that starts with the ingredients.

A significant portion of our ingredients is sourced directly from the heart of Italy. There’s a unique authenticity that comes with ingredients cultivated in the Italian soil – whether it’s the richness of olive oil from Tuscany or the exquisite flavours of tomatoes from the Campania region. It’s about capturing that genuine taste that transports you to the streets of Rome or the hills of Sicily.

However, I’m also deeply committed to supporting the local community and embracing sustainability. That’s why you’ll find a selection of ingredients sourced right here in the UAE. Fresh produce from local farms adds a unique touch to our dishes while reducing our environmental footprint.

It’s a delicate balance – a dance between the authenticity of Italian flavours imported from the homeland and the commitment to sustainability through locally sourced ingredients.

Carmine Faravolo

As the culinary landscape evolves, are there any particular ingredients or specialty products that you’ve discovered in Dubai and integrated into your dishes at Social?

I have found and been exposed to so many new and different spices that go well with the philosophy of my cuisine. For example, cumin and turmeric pair very well with Italian flavours if you do it right which I have incorporated in my menu.

Could you describe some of your signature dishes on the menu and the inspiration behind them?

My absolute favourite, a true homage to Nonna Maria, is La Parmigiana – an eggplant dish straight from the heart of my hometown. This dish, inspired by cherished memories, is what ignited my passion for cooking. It’s a taste of nostalgia and the roots of my culinary journey.

There’s also ‘Da Amalfi to Dubai.’ Picture the journey from the Amalfi Coast to Dubai – that’s what this dish is all about. It’s a celebration of the freshness of seabass, prepared the way we do it in the heart of Italy. A culinary journey from the Mediterranean to the Middle East.

And then, the showstopper – ‘Drop Me Down Tiramisu.’ You know, Tiramisu means “pick me up.” What I did here is play with the words and turn it into an art piece. It’s an innovative, modern twist where the entire Tiramisu is crafted into a ball. You have to drop it down and break it to unveil the delightful secrets inside. It’s not just a dessert; it’s an experience, a playful take on a classic that adds a touch of excitement to your dining adventure.

Carmine Faravolo

You mentioned that you were taught to cook by your grandmother. How has her influence shaped your approach to Italian cuisine?

With the new menu, I wanted to show that Italian cuisine is much more than just pizza and pasta and to showcase the culinary history, architecture, and romanticism of the country in my cooking. My Nonna Maria is the Chef de Cuisine of my life, she has been my biggest culinary influence and cheerleader and along with my experimental creations, I am delighted to bring some of her traditional dishes and my childhood to diners.

What is your culinary philosophy?

Modern Italian cuisine, often referred to as “Cucina Moderna,” represents a contemporary evolution of traditional Italian cooking. While traditional Italian cuisine is deeply rooted in regional flavours and time-honoured recipes, modern Italian cuisine embraces innovation, creativity, and a fusion of global influences.

What excites you the most about welcoming guests into Social?

What truly excites me about welcoming guests into Social is the opportunity to share my passion for modern Italian cuisine. It’s more than just serving a meal; it’s about creating an experience that fuses tradition with innovation. I love introducing guests to the vibrant flavours, creative presentations, and stories behind each dish.

Social is not just a restaurant; it’s a culinary journey, and I’m thrilled to take our guests on this adventure of taste and discovery. The joy comes from seeing smiles light up as they savour the unique flavours and enjoy the ambience we’ve crafted at Social. It’s about making every dining experience memorable and leaving a lasting impression on our guests.

Are there any exciting future plans or culinary concepts you’d like to explore in your role as Chef de Cuisine at Social?

In addition to our exciting new à la carte menu, we’re also launching a Venetian-themed Masquerade night. This exclusive dining experience promises a gastronomic journey that will surprise and delight your senses, all while showcasing the unparalleled richness of Italian flavours. As well as a new concept called “Culinary Journey through Italy” where each month will highlight a specific part of Italy that is dear to my heart and showcase the unique dishes of that region.

Guests are encouraged to join us every month to indulge in every region and at the end of their month-long Journey they will receive a special prize for completing the entire journey through Italy.

For reservations, call +9714 818 2222 or email DXBPD.FBReservation@waldorfastoria.com. Visit website.

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