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Mamma Mia!

Italian food does a roaring trade all over the world.

But there's no secret ingredient for its popularity, according to Maurizio Bosetti.

He's Italian himself of course. And working as executive chef at Frankie's Italian Bar And Grill in Dubai Marina, he sees first hand why Italian is best for diners from all around the world.

Maurizio is from Cortina d'Ampezzo in the Alps, near the border with Austria, and did his training in a part of the world which is like a tourist resort for the rich and famous. It's a beautiful part of the world, famous for skiing and the A-list celebrities like George Clooney and even Audrey Hepburn who have enjoyed their winter holidays there.

Visitors love to indulge in the beautiful food on offer in Italy. Little wonder really, when you consider the fact that pasta, so often our main meal, is served up as a delicious course on its own ahead of a meat-based main course.

Although happy to fly the flag for his country's rich and varied cuisine, to Maurizio, Italian food is simply about cooking from the heart. It's all about families, and the special care taken over food and mealtimes.

He says: "It's how we grew up with our grandparents. Forget about 'molecular gastronomy', cooking with foams or whatever.

People are looking for simple products. Food that was almost lost before to nouvelle cuisine, is now back and so popular.

"Take for example the simple red beans (and pasta), which in the old days was food which fed a farmer.

"Think of the sardines, marinaded in oil too. This was traditionally food for a fisherman because sardines were so cheap.

But this 'poor' food is cooked so beautifully, people want the classic food and the classic flavours. People are searching for these flavours."

World-renowned British chef Marco Pierre White and celebrity jockey Frankie Dettori co-own the popular Dubai restaurant, giving it that glam factor.

White's impeccable CV reads like a virtual who's-who in fine dining he trained with the world famous Roux family at Le Gavroche in London and also worked with Raymond Blanc. Dettori, meanwhile, is also a regular high-profile diner throughout the UAE's horseracing season.

But there's a more straightforward reason for the restaurant's popularity, according to Maurizio.

"What I have noticed in Dubai, where a lot of people cannot eat certain foods, for religious or vegetarian reasons, is that Italian food is the most complete," he explains. "We have that variety of seafood, meat and also a lot of vegetarian dishes.

When I'm working we serve people from all nationalities, and maybe it's because Italian food makes all these people happy.

For example with food from another region take something like sushi.

Some people don't like sashimi, With other foods, some don't eat butter and some don't eat cream but with Italian food, when you throw in pizza too, you know you have this complete variety!"

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Publication:7 Days (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Date:Jul 15, 2010
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