Chef Gianluca Re Fraschini is one of the best in the world. This understated culinary genius was brought to the ever so chic resort, Eden Roc at Cap Cana to take the visitors of this resort on a culinary journey out of the Dominican Republic and to the coast of Italy. His cuisine is some of the best in the world, with all of the freshest and finest ingredients from South America and Europe executed with classical European techniques by his brigade of expertly trained European staff. I had the pleasure of dining there and was blown away by the professionalism of service and food at each meal I had at the resort. The chef heads up four restaurants on property: Mediterraneo Restaurant, Gastronomico Restaurant, Blue Lagoon Pool- Bar Restaurant and La Palapa by Eden Roc, insuring a first class dining experience three meals a day whether it be beachside or in a fine dining setting. The wine cellar is stocked with all the best vintages of wines from around the world, the kitchen is pristine, this place is not to miss and certainly worth the trip. I was lucky enough to spend some time with Chef Gianluca and learn a more about him and what brought him to work in the Dominican Republic from Europe.
Finish this sentence. Gianluca is: super excited to travel, enjoy life, learn new things, meet new people, and most of all, bring the best of my experiences around the world to my current position at Eden Roc at Cap Cana through menu designs, event planning ideas and product selection.
Where did you receive your training?
I was trained in Italy and France by various widely renowned chefs. In Milano, I trained with Gualtiero Marchesi, a 3-Star Michelin Chef and one of the founders of modern Italian cuisine. I also trained in Paris with world-renowned Chef Pierre Gagnaire, a 3-Star Michelin Chef, and Angelo Paracucchi, father of the Creative Italian Cuisine, at the Hotel Royal Monceau in Paris. Also, I had the privilege of training with Pierre Orsi, a 3-Star Michelin Chef, and with Jean-Paul Pignol, Pastry Chef MOF in Lyon and also a Master Chocolate in Lyon Benachon. Thanks to this latest opportunity I became close friends with the Bocuse family, an illustrious family of chefs.
Who was the most demanding Chef you have ever worked for? The two most demanding chefs I have worked for are Pierre Gagnaire and Pierre Orsi.
Why did you decide to move to the Dominican Republic and work for the Eden Roc Cap Cana?
Eden Roc at Cap Cana is focused on offering its guests a refined culinary experience. As a new resort, I have had the privilege of not only overseeing the culinary operations and the opening of all dining establishments, but also the pleasure of developing Eden Roc Cap Cana’s different menu offerings. It has been an exciting opportunity. I am also happy to have come to the Dominican Republic to work. It is a fantastic and joyful country, full of nice people.
Where do you source your ingredients from? The ingredients used for our dishes are a mix of local ingredients and the finest products from all around the globe.
What new additions have you made to the food and cocktail menus at the Eden Roc Cap Cana?
The menus of the restaurants at Eden Roc at Cap Cana are of my design. When I joined Solaya Hotels & Resorts in March 2012, La Palapa by Eden Roc at the Caletón Beach Club was already operational. I did a complete transformation to the menu, while keeping its aim of serving fresh seafood and Italian specialties. I added dishes such as the Freshwater prawns served on Himalayan rock salt and Tuna tartar on a guacamole bed with red pepper coulis, just to name a couple.
Is it hard to find chefs that can work to your high standards in the Dominican Republic?
Yes, it is hard. They are still not used to fine taste and palate, and the staff cooks are “virgins” on new cooking techniques and products. However, this is what makes the challenge most stimulating. Actually, this is one of our objectives at the resort: to elevate the experience level of the local cooks by training them to use higher culinary techniques.
Talk about the culinary program at Eden Roc? What are your visions for it in the future?
We are working to position Eden Roc at Cap Cana as a top-notch culinary destination and place our restaurants and bar among the finest in the world. This is our most important vision for the future.
I hear that you frequent Miami. What are your favorite hangouts there to Stay, Eat and Drink?
I always find Zuma to be very exciting, as well as Azul at the Mandarin Oriental Miami. I like hip hotels, so the hotels of the South Beach Group are my favorite.
Describe your culinary style? Has it changed since you moved to the Dominican Republic? In a way my culinary style has changed. It always does according to the market needs, the trends and the products of the location where I am working.
In a battle of Chefs who would be your stiffest competition?
I don’t like to battle. I like to exchange ideas and talk about food, as well as trends in the field. There is always something new and exciting.
What is your favorite meal to eat? Veal tongue and sweet bread are my favorite. I also like oysters.
When cooking for VIP guests how do you “wow” them? With a smile…and my charming personality [laugh].
How would you describe your personal style? I would describe my personal style as light with a sense of organic food. I also use local ingredients as much as possible.
I ate in your restaurants and found them to be some of the best I have ever been to in the world. How does that feel to know that you are creating such memorable meals for your guests? I like to challenge myself and push my team also, that’s what makes a dinner great.