ANDREA DE PAOLA, 26 OSTERIA ART
Andrea de Paola, chef de cuisine of Osteria Art, a silver-service Italian restaurant and bar under the ilLido Group, is one of Singapore’s semi-finalists going into regionals to vie for the San Pellegrino Young Chef 2018 award.
Chef de Paola started his career at 18, and was eager to become head chef, pronto. To do so, he worked 15-hour days, studied culinary books, experimented with ingredients to know what works and what doesn’t and to develop his own style of cooking. But he did not do it alone. He considers boss and restaurateur-chef Beppe de Vito of the ilLido Group his greatest mentor. Chef de Paola has worked in the group for the past four years across their various concepts such as &Sons Bacaro and ilLido restaurant and has been helming Osteria Art since 2015 as its chef de cuisine.
He says, “To be a leader, you have to follow a leader. For me that person is Beppe de Vito. He’s played a key role in my career, showing me how to be better at managing a kitchen, giving me advice on how to be better whenever I face any challenges.”
At Osteria Art, chef de Paola gets a chance to incorporate some of his favourite hometown ingredients, like tomatoes from Naples. “Because of the ash from Mount Vesuvius that acts as a natural fertiliser, the land there cultivates tomatoes with a unique flavour. The thick tomato skin holds all the sweetness and aroma that can’t be found in all other tomatoes. At Osteria Art, we use these Neapolitan tomatoes in our sauces, such as the bronze dye spaghetti with octopus and smoked paprika.”