Don't dare ask Mr. Roberto Payer, the namesake of the fabulous restaurant Roberto's Amsterdam, what his style of Italian cooking is unless you are prepared to learn something. And that "something" is simple and basic but a "something" many have forgotten in the quest for making a name for themselves in the worldwide restaurant industry.
Roberto, who is the Cluster General Manager of The Waldorf Astoria, and the Hilton Amsterdam, has a philosophy in the kitchen of what is on hand. He tells me of his upbringing in Italy, "My grandmother, and mother, they cooked with what was growing in the garden, what you raised, what you gathered, what was in the cupboard. That's it." No need for the moniker " farm to table" here, as this is the "something" it always was. Follow? You cook what you have making sure it is the freshest you can get.
Roberto and his Executive Chef Franz Conde have collaborated on a delightful book sharing much of the restaurant's recipes with easy to understand directions for the home cook. "Pure Italian Cuisine" available in English through TerraLandoo/ Terra Publishing is a delightful armchair read for the culinary traveler on Italy and cooking, or a how-to for the one who loves to cook.
If you are in Amsterdam, here is my tip for a memorable evening: make reservations at Roberto's sleek, elegant, comfortable, and delicious restaurant with top food and wine, and perfectly executed service.