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.”

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