Chef Aldo Zilli at Zerruco by Zilli, a passionate Chef and how he eats healthy

I met Chef Aldo Zilli. Yes, I had to tell you all and that I loved what he cooked, the most tantalizing flavours cooked just right and combined just right. I know it feels like a mundane description of obviously wonderful food but when you hear him talking about how he likes to 'kiss' the vegetables with the heat and not kill them, you know how well the food is treated.

I got talking with Chef Zilli at the newly launched Zerruco by Zilli, at Hotel Ashok, Diplomatic Enclave in new Delhi. Zerruco by Zilli is a contemporary Mediterranean fine dining restaurant co branded with celebrity Italian Chef Aldo Zilli.

Now when you go to meet him, you expect a celebrity chef with an aura, and then get stumped by his funny demeanor and a down to earth attitude. He tells that he made a red spicy sauce for the table especially for Indian taste buds. The sauce makes a good accompaniment with the breads on the table and the antipasti platter. Note the heat kissed vegetables that tasted divine.

This red spicy sauce has sun dried tomatoes, capers, fresh basil, garlic and fresh red chillies in it, doused with extra virgin olive oil.

I loved the Olive Tapenade and the tomato topping as well. Not so much with breads but the 'heat kissed vegetables'.

The minestrone soup by Chef Aldo Zilli is phenomenal. I loved the chunky yet smooth soup with cannelloni beans and cubed vegetables. Something I would love to try at home following the recipe in his book Zilli Light. I would have found it easier to maneuver if the soup was served in a smaller plate or bowl. It was that good :-)

Pasta Carbonara was made with slivers of yellow and green zucchini and was really good. I loved the Mushroon and Truffle Risotto a lot, moist yet firm rice and a deep deep flavour of mushrooms is satisfying, you would need to remind yourself to stop taking more helpings.

And then there is a gorgeous Lamb shank with Rosemary infused gravy, sauteed mushrooms and leeks served with mashed potato.

Perfectly cooked juicy meat that is lightly charred outside and pink and soft inside. The rosemary infused gravy with the mashed potatoes is just out of this world. Even the mushrooms and leeks on the side will be polished off completely. The potion is generous so it fills you up quickly.

Chef Zilli kept going in the kitchen to cook and instruct while I had my meal and then I asked him questions regarding how he finds healthy eating practical. Knowing he was obese once and worked hard to loose weight and later kept his fitness intact after several years, I had many questions for him.

He said he had lost 21 kilos in 3 months on a TV show but it was not a good thing to loose weight so fast. He did it as he had to win the show and later he came back the healthier ways of eating well. He joked that he is not getting any younger but he has a young family and wants to stay around with them. Keeping fit and healthy has to have a reason for everyone I feel, we find different reasons in different times sometimes.

Chef Aldo Zilli was the youngest of 9 siblings in a family where his mother cooked for everyone. Young Zilli would help his mother shape gnochhi and other fresh pasta and that how he got his first lessons in food, he had a twinkle in his eyes when he was talking about he older days. He said that now he values that upbringing and that he became a chef because he was hungry. Such a candid confession. Hunger for good food, knowledge and skill can be phenomenal. It has a lot of potential.

Chef Zilli talked about a very important psychological issue which is the root cause of obesity and related health problems. A childhood history of hunger, lack of food, insecurity regarding food or any other trauma becomes an issue that makes food an easy pleasure whenever it is available in plenty. I have always believed eating disorders have a psychological link and when someone talks of experience, it makes sense.

Chef Zilli wrote Zilli Light after his stint with weight loss and when he started experimenting with good food that is satisfying and tasty.

A dark Chocolate Fondant was served, I thought I would have a bite just to taste as I don't eat desserts much. It was so good I ended up taking 3-4 spoonfuls.

Chef Zilli warns for desserts too, occasionally and in small servings. Desserts are better smaller.


  1. If these dishes are Eating healthy dishes! I am all for it :D

    That chef Aldo's smile is so infectious! :D


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