World Chefs: Philippe Orrico's white truffle dreams in Hong Kong

Philippe Orrico isn't afraid to take risks. He abandoned a fledgling career in art at the age of 24 to venture on a culinary journey with French chef Pierre Gagnaire.

This apprenticeship with a leader in the fusion cuisine movement whisked Orrico, who was born on Reunion Island, to Paris, London and Hong Kong, where finally - after seven years under Gagnaire - Orrico has struck out on his own.

Now executive chef of the Michelin-starred St. George at Hullet House along Canton Road in Hong Kong, Orrico is once again taking risks, this time on the white truffle - showcasing its intense pungent aroma on his beef carpaccio and its savoury qualities in a ricotta parfait.

Reuters caught up with the 39-year old and asked him about how he's developing his own culinary style beyond Gagnaire and his obsession with white truffles.

Q: What's your favorite memory involving white truffles?

A: "I remember the first time I smelled white truffle, I thought it was a kind of garlic. It was not. I am still dreaming about the day I will eat the perfect white truffle risotto."

A: What's with the obsession over white truffles?

Q: "White truffle is something definitely unique, nothing else smells like white truffle. The season is short, each year is different and it is expensive. When you taste a good truffle in a good year it is like a good wine in a good year. Those kinds of moments can be moments of grace, when time stops and you fly somewhere else..."

Q: White truffle season came late, but I hear the quality is so much better?

A: "The quality is better at the beginning of the season but it's still not a big year. After saying that, white truffles are always good. I just need to put more slices on my dishes to make everybody happy."

... contd.

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