Issue 74- Musings On food
Ipoh is about to expand its culinary horizons when decorated Master Chef, Ricky Parlanti starts giving Master classes on fine dining and the art of preparing gourmet taste treats, Italian style.
It was a serendipitous meeting. I was lunching with Bernard Tan, CEO of Kinta Properties, and his family at the Dome Restaurant in Meru Golf Resort Ipoh and there was his guest, Ricky Parlanti bubbling away with his infectious enthusiasm, talking nineteen to a dozen, sharing his vision of setting up a gourmet restaurant and giving Master classes to those interested in preparing fine western food.
True Blue Italian
No Pizza Hut and what passes for pasta here, but true blue Italian: pasta ‘al dente’ served with homemade sauces, melt-in-your-mouth, aged-minimum-36-months prosciutto from his family farm in Italy, lightly grilled peppers, zucchini, eggplant drizzled in the finest virgin cold pressed olive oil, cannellini bean and fresh tuna salad with just a hint of vinegar, onion and parsley frittata, hand-pureed vegetable soups in delectable broths, delicately pan-fried fillets of local fish, and out of this world Tiramisu whipped up in a matter of minutes. This was the taste treat a few of us had the pleasure to sample in a friend’s home recently.
Ricky, with his wacky sense of humour, had almost caused a fainting fit for my friend who had invited 18 people home for dinner one evening when he said to her that morning, “Oh, I’ve got nearly everything we need for tomorrow, just a few more items to pick up!” Then he laughed his wickedly infectious laugh and apologised, saying he’ll be over in the afternoon to begin preparations. And this he did with gusto in his pristine white chef’s tunic, concocting sauces, grilling vegetables, preparing soup, fish, and serving a magnificent meal with seven antipasto selections, in a seven course dinner, all whipped up in a matter of four hours.
Ninth Generation Chef
Ricky was born into the business, being the ninth generation of chefs in the Parlanti family tree. At the tender age of nine, his passion for food was ignited in his father’s kitchen which led to his revolutionising his father’s restaurants in Italy, London and Florida, where he worked both front and back of house. Soon after, his zeal spiralled into a professional career that has taken him to Germany, England, North America, The Middle East, India and China, where he held senior positions in a variety of five-star restaurants and many Leading Hotels of the World before arriving in Malaysia more than fifteen years ago.
In Kuala Lumpur, he was responsible for establishing the first fine dining Italian restaurant in 1992. He then moved to Carcosa Seri Negara as Executive Chef cum Resident Manager, where his cuisine won numerous accolades and awards, not to mention delighting the palates of many Heads of State and dignitaries including former PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad, Nelson Mandela, the King of Spain and the Emperor of Japan, to name a few.
Mangotree Restaurant – First ‘Open Kitchen’
He designed and opened his own restaurant, The Mangotree Restaurant in 1996 show-casing Kuala Lumpur’s first “open kitchen” concept. The Mangotree has been in Malaysia Tatler’s Best Restaurant Guide regularly since her inception. He has also been awarded the Hospitality Asia Platinum Award 2005/2006 for Excellence In Hospitality Chef of The Year and The Best Chef in Malaysia (Expatriate) Award in the Millennium Gold Awards 2001/2002. He was one of the top four finalists for Hospitality Asia Platinum Award 2005/2006 Entrepreneur of the Year. He has on numerous occasions also enjoyed working in front of the TV camera, having teamed up with local celebrity chefs, introducing TV viewers to his recipes.
Ricky is Vice Counseiller in the Confrerie De La Chaine Des Rostisseurs Baillage De Kuala Lumpur, and also a member of the Ipoh Wine & Food Society. He also dedicates time to young professionals by way of training and apprenticeship programmes with Taylor’s University/College School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Kolej Damansara Utama Kuala Lumpur School of Hotel Management and Lycee Hotelier D’Occitarie De Toulouse,