Culinary Tradition

ZWILLING Culinary World, Destination Italy

Beef cheek with jerusalem artichoke, mushrooms and sweet potato

The kitchens and tables in Italy are always filled with the most wonderful treats waiting to be shared. We went on a culinary journey with the food blogger Meike Peters from eat in my kitchen and collected inspiring recipes. Emiliano Lopez is an artist. When the young chef's busy in the kitchen, he's like a conductor.

Beef cheek with jerusalem artichoke, mushrooms and sweet potato

by Emiliano Lopez


Serves 4

1 kg / 2 ¼ pounds
Danish beef cheeks
Fine sea salt
Ground pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil
Mirepoix (2 carrots, 2 celery stalks, and 1 shallot, diced)
1 medium bouquet garni
(rosemary, sage, and thyme)
Vegetable broth, hot
50 g / 2 ounces Madagascar chocolate, plus more, grated, for serving

Extra-virgin olive oil
1 shallot, diced


3 Jerusalem artichoke roots, peeled and diced
1 glass Marsala
120 ml / ½ cup heavy cream
Fine sea salt

2 sweet potatoes
Fine sea salt
Extra-virgin olive oil
Tin foil

Extra-virgin olive oil
100 g / 3.5 ounces porcini, thickly sliced
50 g / 2 ounces black truffle, very thinly sliced


Preheat the oven to 160°C / 325°F. Trim excess fat off the beef cheeks and season with salt and pepper. In a large heavy pan heat a splash of olive oil and brown the cheeks quickly, set aside.

In a large saucepan, brown the Mirepoix evenly, first the carrots, then the celery, and finally the shallot. Place the meat, Mirepoix, and bouquet garni in a large casserole dish. Add the vegetable broth, covering about 2/3 of the meat. Cover the casserole dish and bake for 2 ½ hours or until tender. Transfer the meat to a platter, cover, and purée the sauce, vegetables, and chocolate in a food processor or blender until velvety and creamy. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.

While the meat is in the oven, prepare the sides:
For the Jerusalem artichoke mousse, in a large saucepan, heat a splash of olive oil and sear the shallot until golden and soft. Add the Jerusalem artichokes and the Marsala and bring it up to a simmer, cover and cook for about 15 minutes or until tender.

Take the pot off the heat and stir in the cream, then purée in a food processor or blender until smooth, season with salt to taste. Let it cool, then pour into a mousse dispenser and cool in the fridge for 1 hour. In case you don’t have a mousse dispenser, set aside and serve the mousse using a spoon.

Preheat the oven to 150°C / 300°F. For the sweet potatoes, season the potatoes with salt and a drizzle of olive oil and wrap in foil. Bake for about 1 hour or until soft. Scrape the soft potatoes out of their skin, discard the skin, and purée in a food processor or blender until creamy; set aside.

For the mushrooms, in a large heavy pan, heat a splash of olive oil over high heat and sear the porcini quickly on both sides for about 30 seconds to 1 minute until golden brown, but not soft; set aside.

Arrange a piece of the beef cheek in the middle of each large plate and glaze with the sauce. Using a spoon or the mousse dispenser, place a dollop of the Jerusalem artichoke mousse and the sweet potato purée next to the meat. Divide the porcini and truffle between the plates, sprinkle with chocolate, and drizzle with a little olive oil. Serve immediately.


Emiliano Lopez, chef and owner of the Big Al restaurant, Rome


"In the kitchen, you are like an artist. You express what you feel like doing at that moment."


A Day in Rome with Emiliano Lopez

by Meike Peters

Emiliano Lopez is an artist. When the young chef's busy in the kitchen, he's like a conductor. His eyes and taste are as sharp as a knife, he's precise, noticing every inconsistency and reacting immediately. The Buenos Aires born chef performs with constant virtuosity. To see him play with flavors, colors, and textures, passionately engrossed in his own world, is captivating. I could have watched him for hours when we met in his kitchen, following every move to get a glimpse of the thoughts and visions behind the man's dramatic creations.

I had the chance to meet him twice while we were in Rome for our culinary trip around the world together with ZWILLING: first at the Italian Chef Academy where he introduces his students to the culinary wonders of meat. He shares his secrets and techniques with the young ones who are eager to learn from the master, but he's critical and demands absolute concentration. The mood in his kitchen is focused, Emiliano talks and works quickly, each step planned, each move coordinated. His recipes are complex, he celebrates a modern haut cuisine that's built on knowledge, skills, and intuition. To achieve the results that he came up with in his mind, he creates dishes that are multilayered, different components merging and contrasting.

A dish from this man is a theatre play on a plate, it's vibrant, and nature guides him. Emiliano strictly follows the seasons. Spring, summer, autumn, and winter dictate the produce that he uses, the colors that he'll work with. The season is the reason why you taste what you taste and why you smell what you smell. He says that he can only get the quality that he aims for, if he respects what nature is willing to give him. Emiliano Lopez's Umidità nel bosco, "Humidity in the Woods", is an ode to late summer, when dense mist rises in the forest, when tenderly stewed venison replaces beef and pork, when pretty mushrooms pop up on the dark moist soil and add earthy flavors to our palate. The man is a perfectionist, he even pulled out a little smoking machine from under the kitchen counter, to add smoke to his stunning creation, for taste and drama!

In the evening, we were lucky to get the chance to eat at his praised Big Al restaurant. It was a starlit night, we sat under the canopy packed with happy people enjoying the master's exciting cuisine. A Roman feast conducted by Emiliano Lopez. It was perfect.

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