What is the oldest art form? If you ask Ilaria Zamperlin, the Executive Chef of Aqua Italian Kitchen at Aqua Restaurant Group, she will say architecture, cooking and tailoring. With her deep knowledge and passion for Italian cuisine, she artfully weaves architecture and culinary arts together.
Originally from Rome, Ilaria started her career as an architect. However, fuelled by her passion for art and cuisine, she decided to shift gears and explore the world of pastry. Today, she combines her architectural expertise with her love for food, crafting edible works of art. Her passion for creating pastry led her to pursue a culinary career in London, where she rose through the ranks of the best Italian restaurants in the city and spearheaded the opening of the Oswald’s private members club in Mayfair. She later moved to Dubai, taking the Chef de Cuisine role at the exclusive Bulgari Yacht Club where she honed her skills under the lead of three-Michelin-starred chef Niko Romito. After returning to Italy, she worked at gourmet osteria Chic Nonna, where she was shortlisted as Future Great Chef of the Year by Gault Millau UAE and received guidance from Michelin-starred chef Vito Mollica. Chic Nonna won numerous accolades, including “Best Newcomer of the Year” and “Favourite Italian Restaurant”.
The Aqua Restaurant Group recently named Executive Chef Ilaria Zamperlin as the new head chef of their Italian kitchen located at the renowned Aqua restaurant. Situated on the 17th floor of H Zentre in Tsim Sha Tsui, the restaurant provides stunning vistas of the harbour and city. Guests can enter via a stylish mirrored corridor and step into an enchanting "water world". Here, they can indulge in fine dining, savour drinks or dance the night away, all while enjoying the breathtaking sea views and cityscape visible through the floor-to-ceiling glass walls. The interior design and décor, as well as the acclaimed Aqua Spirit bar, have won numerous awards.
With an elevated Italian simplicity approach, Chef Ilaria debuted a series of exciting additions to the à la carte menu. Noteworthy mentions include appetisers such as Sicilian red prawn carpaccio, with sea urchin, egg yolk emulsion, basil oil and crunchy capers, and sweet Alaskan king crab topped with caviar and a vibrant green apple and basil foam.
Three new show-stopping pasta dishes from Chef Ilaria’s collection include Tortelli alla Norma, Braised duck plin ravioli, and champagne and lobster bisque risotto.
The Tortelli alla Norma pasta parcels are filled with creamy eggplant and paired with the three colours of the national flag of Italy – red (datterino tomato sauce), white (aged ricotta) and green (basil).
The colourful lobster bisque risotto includes red prawns, scallops and baby squid.
For mains, Ilaria prepares the Dover sole mugniaia style for the main course. The dish has creamy carrot puree and crispy leeks, generously drizzled with a rich lemon and capers sauce. This Italian rendition of the French's "à la meunière" style involves dusting the sole with flour before frying until it reaches the melts-in-your-mouth sensation.
Apart from the new à la carte dishes crafted by Executive Chef Ilaria, diners can also enjoy the Japanese kitchen helmed by Chef Iwahashi. Diners can simultaneously enjoy Italian and Japanese cuisine, embarking on an unparalleled journey of delectable flavours.