Face to face with Gerhard Passrugger
Talkative, full of enthusiasm and passion for his job, but especially in love with every aspect of China, from food to people to culture. This is Gerhard Passrugger, Director of Food and Beverage and previously Executive Chef of the prestigious Park Hyatt Shanghai.
In thebeautiful context at the 87th floor of the Shanghai World Financial Centre, Chef Gerhard narrates us his career and his feelings about China: “I started to be trained to European cuisine at the age of 14 in Salzburg (Austria) by one of the most important chef of Austrian traditional food. It was him, for the first time, to suggest me to go to Asia since it could be one of the best moments for my career. However, at that time, China was not in my mind yet”. After having sharpened his skills in London, Sidney and Honk Kong, ten years ago he was invited to come to Shanghai. “I came to Shanghai to work in the famous Three on the Bund hotel and I immediately fell in love with the Chinese culture and dynamics.” He adds: “I love Asian mentality because is genuine, warm and friendly. I love the way Chinese people approach to food and their hospitality. They are absolutely open-minded to try every kind of food. Indeed, since they do not have any preconception, they appreciate every sort of cuisine and dish”. Chef Passrugger seems to appreciate not only Chinese predisposition but also Chinese food. He reports us how Chinese cuisine has already become for him familiar as European food, to the extent that he could not live without it since he will start to miss it: “Chinese food is for me now a symbolic link to my home!”.
But Mr. Gerhard is not only fond of China; he in fact reveals us to love any country culinary tradition: “There is no country in the world which does not have a wonderful culinary history. When you travel in one country, one of the first things you think about is food.” Regarding his favourite flavours he reports: “I don't like complications. I believe in very straightforward kind of flavours. I like strong direct tastes. This is the reason why I love Italian food. You can combine only three ingredients and get very impressive delicious dishes.” And this also what he thinks about Amarena Fabbri food application. Indeed, he has always preferred to combine Amarena as a garnish of simple recipes and not to imply it in complicated creations.
This is how Chef Gerhard defines our Amarena: “Amarena Fabbri is a classic, a beautiful product full of history. It brings back emotions and memories to any person who tastes it. Sweet, slushy, “sticky”, when you try Amarena, you cannot stop eating it!”. He adds: “Amarena Fabbri reminds me about my summer internship in Italy, almost 20 years ago. I remember an afternoon when I was serving to my guests Amarena with gelato. During a moment of relax, I decided to taste this delicious, refreshing dessert. Well, once I tried I could not stop eating Amarena cherries for all afternoon!”. Speaking about his recipes with Amarena, Mr. Passrugger tells us to like combining Amarena cherries with chocolate, in the classical mousse au chocolate. On the other hand, regarding Amarena with cocktails, he says to usually put Amarena in the famous Manhattan drink or in combination with pink grapefruit and rose to give origin to a very particular cocktail. “The sourness of this cocktail perfectly matches with the sweetness of Amarena cherry!”.
The passion and creativity of Mr. Passrugger culinary art results in the elaboration of unique and personalized dining experience to his guests, not only using food but also decoration and flowers. Chef Passrugger personally takes care of special table-ware and floral arrangement for every client so that to let his guests live unique and unforgettable moments. According to him, indeed: “The way you choose and arrange flowers, music, furniture can create any time different atmosphere and give you different emotions. Everything depends on what is around you: what you want to eat is related to your mood and your mood is intrinsically linked to the surrounding environment”.
Thanks to this talent, Chef Gerhard has now raised the standards of private catering at the highest of the city. Asking him which is the culinary moment in which he gets the best from himself, he answers: “The best culinary moment ever is when you throw away your brain out of the window and you act following your heart. The best creations gets indeed out of inside!”
Name: Gerhard Passrugger
Distinctive Features: Constantly hungry and hyper Most important goal reached: Anyone in particular. “Do not ever stop reaching” is my motto
Austrian favourite dish: Beuschel (heart and lungs of the cow served in a sauce of anchovy, lemon, garlic, parsley, vinegar and mustard)
Chinese favourite dish: ??? Dongpo pork
Culinary signature: Anti-Borscht soup caviar and braised pig head
The ingredients could not ever miss: Caviar, lobster, foie gras and black truffles.