All-new Ibiza dining hotspot On The Rocks Ibiza is a slick operation. Boasting not one, but FOUR head chefs in the multiple kitchen spaces, your dish – be it fresh like mama made Italian pasta, Argentinean style grilled meats, hot and cold starters or lush desserts – comes direct from an international chef to your plate!
We caught up with two of the men responsible: Gianfrancesco Teodori and Dino Paoloni – that’s pasta and grill respectively – to find out what makes them tick!
Tell us about your background – what inspired you to become a chef?
Gianfrancesco: Ever since I was four years old I wanted to be a chef! I’ve always liked to cook, to invent new things… it’s a passion – the way some people love motorbikes, I love restaurants. When I was 13 I started out as a bartender, then moved onto being a manager and then a cook.
Dino: I’ve been traveling since I was 12, first through Argentina and then to Europe. I went to Rome and ended up alone, without money – just my backpack – and so I got a job as a kitchen helper. I didn’t speak Italian or know how to cook, but after I managed a season of 300 meals per day, I realised getting kitchen work was easy while on the move. Then I traveled and worked through over 30 countries in Europe – I did a little professional study but I was lucky to work in great restaurants with people who knew so much. I’ve even worked for free just to learn!
How do you describe your style in the kitchen?
Gianfrancesco: I look much more at ease than you’d think! The flavours I use are very natural, and while I like the plate to look beautiful, I prefer more flavour, quality, and great work rather than presentation. I think a great dish should be 80% about the food, and 20% on the eye.
Dino: My style is neither classical nor Ferran Adrià, I try to do new things every day, but I’m practical. I won’t put 20 ingredients on a plate, but I’m still going to make it rich and full of flavour. I treat everyone equally, and I cook to the standard as if I were going to eat it, whether for a wealthy sheik or a person from the street. That’s my style.
What is the style of cuisine at On The Rocks Ibiza?
Gianfrancesco: Italian! The secret to cooking well is actually very easy – just buy high quality ingredients and put your heart into it. Make with your heart and the plate will go well.
Dino: For the grill, I have very good meat suppliers, from the best places in the world. For example, we have an Argentinean Chorizo Beef tenderloin, Black Angus of Ireland, a cut from Nebraska, USA, steak from Galicia, sirloin from Denmark… We also directly import products such as some pasta, win, olive oil and even some sausages directly from Italy.
What is your signature dish?
Gianfrancesco: All of our pastas! They are all homemade… but in particular, gnocchi gorgonzola with porcini mushrooms and truffle raviol.
Dino: For me, it is the Galician strip steak, with homemade chimichurri – a dish that has triumphed here this summer.
And your own favourite food?
Gianfrancesco: Meat! [laughs, looking at Dino]
Dino: I like to eat everything, fish, meat and pasta… [grinning at Gianfrancesco]
What are your favourite restaurants in Ibiza (aside from On The Rocks Ibiza of course!)?
Gianfrancesco: At Chiringay, you can eat really well at a reasonable price, then in San Antonio I like the seafood at Es Pujols. Las Dos Lunas is also a great place, with very very good service and I also like Sa Capella, Ama Lur – they all have great chefs ad food.
Dino: I don’t get much time off but from what little I know, I like Cap des Falco, to watch the sunset, and enjoy rich seafood and at Can Cosmi in Santa Ines I had the best tortilla of my life! Here on the island there is a lot of glamour and little value, so I prefer typical restaurants such as Can Caus and Casa Colonial.
What do you like most about living in Ibiza?
Gianfrancesco: What I like about Ibiza is that it is like you are always on vacation. Although you work hard, you can go to the beach before or visit the discos afterwards, it’s always festive!
Dino: I don’t think we live on vacation but I do have a good time! We have a great quality of life in Ibiza – you can live in the countryside with a garden and you have peace. I like to go swimming in the sea, I like to go out, hear music… and because we work at night we have the day off to do those things. I’ve lived in Barcelona, Berlin, London, Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, but there is a peace here that you just can’t get in a city.