MANILA -- Novotel Manila recently introduced its new executive chef, Massimiliano “Massi” Pauletto, an Italian chef who has more than two decades of culinary experience including working with multiple Michelin-starred chefs.
The hotel introduced the new chef in style, which was also a celebration that highlighted the people working in its kitchens.
“It's not enough to have just bricks and mortar. The most important thing about food is the people behind the food, and we're very fortunate here since we've been open for nearly four years to have a kitchen team who have really turned into a formidable kitchen brigade,” said Novotel Manila general manager Mike Brown.
Novotel Manila, located at the newly re-branded Araneta City (formerly Araneta Center), has a total of five dining outlets: Food Exchange Manila, Gourmet Bar, Sabor Bar de Vinos, Indulge Gelato, and 6th Pool Bar and Lounge.
As the new executive chef, Massi now heads the culinary team and oversees the food and beverage (F&B) operations, along with the hotel's F&B director, Matt Salcedo.
“Accor as a company, one of the biggest players now in the world, it's time to be part of it. I'm very happy to start with a business hotel in this part of the city,” Massi said.
Novotel is a brand under French hospitality group, Accor Hotels.
As his introduction, all of the hotel's dining outlets has some new offers to its guests and diners, for a limited time.
Gourmet Bar recently offered an Italian bento, which is an array of Italian dishes served in a bento box. Food Exchange Manila likewise had risotto station and bruschetta bar.
Other new offerings to celebrate the arrival of the new chef include Indulge Gelato's P160 affogato or vanilla gelato with espresso (October 10 to 16); cold cuts, cheese platter, and a bottle of Fantini Sangiovese wine for P1,500 at Sabor Bar de Vinos (Oct. 17 to 23); and 6th Pool Bar and Lounge's Milan Happy Hour apertivo (Oct. 24 to 31) for P350, Italian cocktail paired with a selection of bruschetta, calzone, tiramisu, and more.
Chef Massi is from Castellanza in Varese, Italy and his culinary journey began in the kitchen of his grandmother. He is from a family who makes everything from scratch, from everyday meals to the wine they drink.
“We believe that food needs to be produced by yourself. No MSG. No chemical.... Follow the recipe of my grandmother who is a very good cook and carry on the culinary tradition until today,” he quipped.
After finishing culinary school in Milan, he went on an apprenticeship in the kitchen of Gualtiero Marchesi, at the Michelin-starred restaurant of L'Albereta hotel. Marchesi is known as the first chef in Italy to attain three Michelin stars for his restaurant Via Bonvesin de la Riva in Milan.
“I used to work for a Michelin restaurant and they told me one thing, a good chef can cook in the tin. You don't need big equipment, if you know how to cook, you cook,” he said.
After the apprenticeship under Marchesi, he then worked for the Italian Navy until eventually working again for Michelin-starred chefs Davide Bisetto and Alberico Penati. He then brought his culinary experience around the world working in London, Brussels, and more recently in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.
Now, he brings all these experiences to the Philippines and when it comes to style of cooking, he said that since people in general — including Filipinos — have been introduced or have tried various cuisines, he really doesn't need to tweak the flavors of food.
“I don't believe so much on changing the recipe because I believe that the new generation, they will learn more about food by eating it [as it is],” he said.