Chef Heros de Agostinis, the Executive Chef at INEO Restaurant at Anantara Palazzo Naiadi in Rome, brings more than 25 years of experience in multi-Michelin starred restaurants and luxury hotels.
Born in Rome a few hundred meters from where INEO Restaurant now stands, Chef Heros draws heavily on his own international heritage and the vibrant multi-culturalism of Esquilino, the neighborhood where Anantara Palazzo Naiadi and INEO are situated. Esquilino is renowned by Romans as a trend-setting urban center where cultures and backgrounds blend.
We recently sat down with Heros who draws us back to his roots in Rome as a child when he would shop at the Esquilino Market in Rome’s Piazza Vittorio Emanuele with his grandmother. In this exclusive interview, he also shares how he develops his signature dishes and how traveling has influenced his culinary career.
Tell us about your culinary journey. Where did you develop a passion for cooking?
Since my youth I have had a passion for cooking. I was always happy spend hours watching my grandmothers and my mother cook. My grandparents’ houses were frequented by many friends from different countries who came to visit them in Rome.
My qrandparents cooked with unconditional love. So I was always intrigued to hear their stories about the countries where they lived and how they lived. I was fascinated and the only job that allowed me to travel, explore other cultures, and live was undoubtedly being a chef. I could work anywhere in the world and also work at a job that I like.
When you visit the farmers market near the hotel in Rome, do you have specific dishes in mind or do you buy whatever sparks your interest?
When I walk through the market I collect some spices, or citrus that comes from the Philippines and some vegetables that I use for my menu. But the spices are the main ingredients because I can buy it on a single quantity and I can mix it to make my recipes to season the meat or some fish or even vegetables for our menu at Ineo.
What thoughts go into creating signature dishes for your menu?
Esquilino is the please where I spend my childhood. The market that we have in this borough its full of vegetables, spices and ingredients that come from all over the world. When I go in the Esquilino market and see these products that are used in the kitchens of other countries, memories of my past travels come to me and from the happy moments spent in Indonesia to Germany or England to Bahrain, France, etc…I combine a remember of that great moment, (could be an evening with friends or particular meal in the place that I lived) that delivers the idea and the inspiration of creating my new plate for INEO.
It is really a métissage of the moment and place where I lived. Each of this play give to me personal memories. This is really in harmony with the place where I born, Esquilino and his market. It is a mix of different ethnicites in a small borough.
How do you stay up to date with culinary trends and decide which are worth pursuing?
More than trends I would say that I like to be update and experiment a new cooking techniques, marinades, fermentations to best enhance my thoughts of metissage cuisine 6. How did you come up with the name for your restaurant? INEO in the Latin language means beginning.
My new beginning in Rome after many travels in Palazzo Naiadi, the new beginning of the Minor Group with its luxury hospitality brand Anantara, the new beginning of the fine dining restaurant. All these three elements together gave arise to the name Ineo.
Has traveling and experiencing different cultures, if you have, influenced key elements in your culinary career?
Traveling and exploring new cultures for me is one of the best things I have done. Cooking helps me a lot in my travels, sitting at the table and sharing a dish different from your origin is a means of exchange, integration and inclusion. You would not eat and would never be able to do a métissage of food if I never emigrated and would be curious to know other countries.