Isabella Potì, a sweet star
How would you define the pastry chef Isabella Potì in a few words? I am a passionate and incredibly determined woman. I feel these words describe me very well. I also believe that this description is how I am managing to make all my dreams come true as a professional. And I say all because I have always had more than one. At times, I was even able to exceed my own expectations.
What did the opening of Bros’ restaurant in Lecce mean in the panorama of the local and Italian restaurant scene?
When we opened Bros’ nearly five years ago, here in Salento, there was still no trace of haute cuisine. After our opening, many followed in our footsteps. It was not easy to break through the standard mindset that surrounded us. The secret, in fact, was not to blend in with the rest, but to create a sort of door to the world where we could create our cuisine and build our family.
At an international level today, how is Italian cuisine and pastry arts perceived?
I believe that from a foreign point of view, both Italian cuisine and pastry arts are always on the podium. For sure what we as Italians perceive is that we need more professionals like us to come to Italy to realize their projects, be them innovative or not. We need professionals that can truly value the products our land gives us.
What future do you see for our cuisine and our pastry arts?
The future is bright, and especially after the decline that we have experienced over the last two years, we expect an exponential growth in the needs of the client. More and more, the Italian pastry arts are becoming more refined and modern, without leaving behind our traditions.
In terms of prestige and appeal, how much does the quality and the uniqueness of the “dessert course” affect customers?
The moment of dessert, as we already know, is fundamental. I however believe that we do not need to see this moment by itself, but rather as a continuation of the savoury part of the menu. I think that exactly for this reason, the creativity and quality of a dessert must be at the same level of all the other courses.
What are the characteristics that distinguish restaurant pastry arts from traditional pastry?
The main characteristic that defines restaurant pastry arts is precisely the moment of service, possibly the most exciting part, where a good dose of adrenaline
is guaranteed. Another characteristic is definitely the fact that the dessert does not stand alone, but in a restaurant context it needs to follow the logic of the rest of the menu.
What are your favourite dessert recipes?
In terms of preparing a dessert, I adore making soufflé, but as for the taste, I love tiramisu.
What was the biggest professional intuition of your career?
Understanding where my capabilities would have taken me and understanding that quickly; meeting the right people and being able to recognize something special in them that completed me and continues to complete my professional and private life.
The most significant professional error of your career?
Maybe I could have said “no” a few more times.
Women are still a minority at the top levels of restaurants and pastry arts. Which quality should a woman count on to affirm herself in these sectors?
A woman should count on the fact that we have nothing less than any man. Often just the thought of being in a world like that of restaurants which is dominated by men can condition our actions. My suggestion is to feel less like victims and to feel more like your own boss, and do what you love to do.
How does artisanal gelato fit into your menu?
I adore gelato and, in my restaurant, the gelato is always made artisanally with lots of attention to the quantity of sugar. Artisanal gelato is currently living in an incredibly positive time, even if it is a simple product with an affordable price and a great value with an excellent quality / price ratio.
Do you agree with this evaluation?
Absolutely yes, and we in Italy have the possibility to choose from numerous products of extremely high quality as a base for these gelatos.
You recently became the Brand Ambassador of Julius Meinl. Why did you accept?
I chose Julius Meinl only after having compared it with other types of coffee used in our restaurants, and we immediately realized the substantial difference in regard to quality and flavour: in a few words, the extremely high quality of this coffee drove me to accept. Lately, we have developed a project inside the Pellegrino Brothers family that is called Sista. It is a project that looks at the pastry arts with a pop influence, and it often has coffee as a protagonist.
Which projects do you intend to develop with this role?
Among the first activities done in collaboration with Julius Meinl, there is the very new “Coffee tart”: a single portion dessert made with “Vietnam – Whisky Barrel Aged Arabica” coffee. It is a blend of the Julius Meinl “The Originals” line, which celebrates the artisanry and the origin of the beans made with an artisanal production. This production is sustainable and of excellent quality in every step of the process, from the plant to the cup. We wanted to start our collaboration with Julius Meinl with a refined pastry creation that best exalts the coffee flavour combining it with milk and green cardamom.
The coffee offer in a restaurant is particularly important. Which criteria guided you in choosing the blends to serve at the Roots trattoria?
In the trattoria, we needed a coffee that made us feel at home, while still being of utmost quality. It also needed to the prepared in the most traditional method for the Salento area, the moka pot. For these reasons, for our clients we selected high quality blends made specifically for preparation with the moka pot, for example: we offer SriPolson, 100% Arabica originating from the best coffee plantations in India and Brazil, which a me ium roast that gives the coffee a decisive character, balanced by sweet notes of dark chocolate. Another offering is Espresso Giubileo, a perfect blend of the best Arabica beans, that has fruity and floral notes that pair perfectly with our creations.
And at Bros’ restaurant?
At Bros’, coffee is the most complex moment, where you can choose from different types of high-quality coffee, as well as from different types of infusion, such as espresso, Neapolitan moka pot or cold brew, so that the coffee can be as in line as possible with our menu offerings. Furthermore, we guarantee a sustainable coffee production chain and precise characteristics for the single origin blends, as clients are ever more attentive to sustainability along with quality. For this, we selected the blends of “The Originals” line by Julius Meinl, created to celebrate the artisanry and the origin of the beans, presenting a unique specialty coffee experience. “The Originals”, in fact, presents prized coffees that fit into the “Third Wave” of coffee, where every step, from the plant to the cup, is characterized by an artisanal and sustainable production, aimed for excellency.
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