Chef Heinz Beck is a global culinary superstar, with 11 restaurants around the world. He’s usually found in his flagship establishment, the legendary La Pergola in Rome. The German-born chef has the only three-Michelin-star restaurant in the foodie city. La Pergola is located inside the stylish Rome Cavalieri hotel, which is a Waldorf Astoria property and when Chef wanted to showcase his menu to an American audience, he chose the swanky new Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills. Chef Beck hosted a tasting dinner at Jean-Georges, the beautiful fine dining restaurant inside the Waldorf Beverly Hills and I had the opportunity attend.
Before the dinner, I had a chance to join Chef Beck in the kitchen to interview him and to watch him at work. It was amazing to watch him fly around the kitchen, overseeing the preparation of eleven different dishes, tasting portions of dishes served at La Pergola. Those dishes were truly amazing and demonstrated how the Chef is able to offer a fresh, modern take on some classic Italian and Mediterranean dishes (and why he has three Michelin stars).
We started with amberjack marinated in yuzu on guacamole with soy macarons. Then we had duck ham on watermelon with melon and duck foie gras gems. This was also delicious and a unique combination of textures with the foie gras gems bursting in your mouth. Next was a pinzimonio, a traditional Italian crudite-style vegetables and dip. There was a scampo in a spicy ‘nduja (a kind of spreadable Italian sausage) crust with an eggplant puree and an infusion of smoked tuna. Pasta was represented by a warm De Cecco spaghetti with seafood and mullet roe on rocket foam. There was fish, a seabass served on kidney beans with parsley powder. My favorite was probably the loin of lamb in a cereal crust, prepared with wild fennel and goat cheese pearls. Desserts were a fruit salad on lemongrass jelly with ginger ice cream and a variation of coconut, banana and lime.
I had the pleasure of visiting La Pergola a few months ago and aside from the world-class food, the views are spectacular. The Rome Cavalieri sits on a hill, Monte Mario, about ten minutes from the heart of Rome. The hill-top location, next to the city’s observatory, give it sweeping views of the Eternal City, views no other luxury hotel can offer. Aside from the views, the luxury hotel is more like a resort, with 15 acres of Mediterranean gardens, terraces and pools. La Pergola is on the hotel’s penthouse level, taking advantage of the elevated location to offer those beautiful views of Rome to the lucky diners.