Umberto Bombana Slow Food ‘chef talk’ at The Fringe Club


“First of all you need to produce great food”. It’s a pretty simple mantra from Umberto Bombana. His Otto e Mezzo is the only three-starred Italian restaurant anywhere in the world outside of his homeland. So when he talks restaurant advice, you listen.
At the first Hong Kong Slow Food chef’s talk, a crowd of more than 75 were doing just that. Bombana made for a very likeable interviewee over 90 minutes, questioned smartly and well accompanied by photos throughout his career and a nifty video from Otto e Mezzo deconstructing one of his dishes.
The evening also took me back to the first time I met him, in 2005. I’d been in Hong Kong all of three weeks when I got an invite to attend ‘The world’s most expensive dinner’ at Toscana, his former restaurant at the Ritz Carlton. I was one of sixty diners who helped to consume a 95,000 euro white truffle, documenting it for CNN at the time:
Chef Umberto Bombana with another huge white truffle
Chef Umberto Bombana with a monster white truffle
There are more chef talks to come in the months ahead and are all worth checking out –  Vicky Lau from Tate and Richard Ekkebus from Amber are top of my list, while self-styled ‘Demon Chef’ Alvin Leung will doubtless be shy and retiring. Here’s the lineup and further details: