The Mediterraneo chain of restaurants in Nairobi, is one of the city’s longest standing and most consistent Italian eating establishments. For this we have Chef Dario Aloisio to thank.
Close your eyes and imagine an Italian chef and chances are that someone broadly resembling Chef Dario, executive head chef at all three of the city’s Mediterraneos, will spring to mind. Maybe it’s the goatee, the Roman nose or his brooding yet imperious stare, but there is something about him that simply states: “I know good food”.
Chef Dario interprets Mediterraneo’s brand of Italian cuisine in a modern and refined way. His dishes are skilfully prepared to capture a delicious and exciting range of flavours, textures and aromas. While remaining true to the Italian core of his recipes, he does not shy away from adding local ingredients and flourishes to his beautifully presented meals.
Born and bread on the Italian island of Sicily, Chef Dario harks from a tradition of fresh and simple cooking which exalts the nuanced flavours of locally sourced ingredients.
Self-taught in the kitchen, Chef Dario honed is cooking skills while living in London in his early twenties.
Starting as busboy in a local Italian restaurant as a means to pay the bills, he discovered he had a talent that deserved to be nurtured.
Through diligence, perseverance and a natural passion for the art of food making, he began to make his way up through the notoriously difficult ranks of the Italian restaurants he was employed by in London. From there, he moved back to his home town of Palermo the capital of Sicily, where he spent a few years refining his talent before being head hunted by Mediterraneo to come and work in Nairobi.
For Christmas this year, Chef Dario will not be headed home but will stay in Nairobi to make sure the Mediterraneo Christmas spread meets its clients’ high expectations. The menu will showcase a selection of traditional Italian festive dishes with a few Kenyan touches thrown in for good measure. In Sicily, Christmas dinner is generally framed around a large salted codfish stew and a focaccia stuffed with sausage and cauliflower. Keeping true to his roots, a variation on the dish will feature on the menu, as will a slow roasted pork belly with a spicy apple compote and a new addition to the menu: a melody of calamari cooked in three different ways.
For the Mediterraneo Christmas dessert, Chef Dario has gone out on a limb and devised a mouth watering variation on the classic “Cannolo Siciliano” which involves crushing the fried pastry dough and mixing it in with sweet, imported ricotta cheese. If you can’t fly to Italy for Christmas this year, let Chef Dario bring a slice of Italy to your plate.