L’Officiel Arabia meets Chef Cristian Lisci

When Simplicity Stands Out

"Cooking has been a part of my life for the last 25 years. Like art, cooking is a blank canvas for me to draw and get inspired from. I was born on an island and grew up in a port city, therefore I’m a lover of the sea and all its mysteries." - Chef Cristian Lisci, Bullona Restaurant at Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza

Bullona Milano has recently set its first foot outside Italy, to find a new home in Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza. Boasting scenic views of the Nile from the riverfront, Bullona Cairo is the second outpost of the distinguished Bullona Milano, an exclusive bar and restaurant concept and prominent hotspot for the fashionable elite of Milan.

It is here that Chef Cristian Lisci brings the delights of the Mediterranean to Cairo, following over two decades of experience at some of the most high profile restaurants in the world.

Chef Cristian was born in Sardinia, one of the biggest islands in the Mediterranean sea. He grew up surrounded by the fragrance of ingredients like fresh porcini, bottarga, freshly mixed egg pasta, fish and seafood which are so typical of the region and enjoyed all around the world. Very young he moved to Genova, in the North of Italy, to start his studies in Hotelier Institute “Marco Polo” Genova. Capital city of Liguria, Land of Basil Pesto, focaccia and hundreds of Mediterranean dishes - Genova has historically been one of the most important ports on the Mediterranean sea.

Lisci fell in love with the culinary art at the tender age of 14 and the idea of becoming a Chef began to mature within him, thanks to the home cooking and following the family culinary traditions.

He has rightfully earned his place at the helm, having worked as Sous Chef at Michelin Star restaurant Edilio in Genoa when was only 19 years old, as well as Chef de Cuisine at Il Mirtillo restaurant in Megeve, which appeared in the Pudlo Guide as a best Italian Restaurant in France in 2000. In 2015, after a career around the world, Lisci received the opportunity to bring his culinary expertise in Four Seasons, and he joined F.S. Hotel Bahrain Bay as Italian Sous Chef at Vento restaurant, a traditional trattoria based on Italian Regional Cuisine.

Today Chef Cristian oversees the culinary operation for Bullona, a brand new Four Seasons Cairo at Nile Plaza outlet, and works hand in hand with the masterful restaurant artisans to keep the traditional style and flavors of Bullona Milano.

Chef Cristian Lisci (in the middle) with his team at Bullona Restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza

Tanja Beljanski: What makes you happy when preparing the food?

Cristian Lisci: The idea of creating long-lasting emotions and memories is what always keeps me happy.

TB: Please describe your role at Bullona Cairo. 

CL: I’m the Head Chef at Bullona Cairo where I’m in charge of the menu and ingredients, market, menu creation, and every aspect of the culinary journey.

TB: How do you execute the menu from start to finish? Please take us through the process from the idea to the must have’s on the menu and the specialties.

CL: Our concept began at Bullona Milano where four chefs and I spent several months last year training and immersing ourselves in the kitchen and understanding the menu, ingredients and the preparation process. Basically, every dish is directly derived from the original iteration in Milano. After the opening in Cairo, we also infused the menu with brand new dishes that used fresh local produce to give our guests a greater variety of options and a unique experience that highlights Egypt’s fantastic selection of fresh ingredients.

TB: How do you make the dining experience at Bullona truly memorable?

CL: Bullona is not just a restaurant, it’s an all-encompassing social journey that takes diners to the fashionable districts of Milano. Whether it’s the luscious dining experience, the art-focused ambiance and minute design details, the personalized service or the transformation of the venue to a social hub later at night where we have resident DJs and parades to create a party atmosphere – our team has worked hard to ensure that every little detail lends to a memorable experience.

In terms of the culinary experience, most of our ingredients are gourmet and imported from all around the world – we are proud to have the best seafood in the city!

TB: What is the most important thing to remember when it all goes wrong (in the kitchen)?

CL: It’s important for the chef to take complete control and ownership of the situation. It’s also essential to try to solve the problem in the fastest possible way, keeping guest’s satisfaction and employee’s safety as the top priority.

TB: Who do you trust the most (in the kitchen)?

CL: The entire Bullona team!

TB: Who is the biggest fan of your cooking?

CL: My biggest fan is my family, for sure.

TB: What is your signature dish at Bullona?

CL: The signature is all of our seafood. Our sharing nibbles are also a guest favorite, like the Brioche Bread, Foie Gras and Scallop Spaghetti. In terms of mains, my signature dish is the Spaghetti with whole Canadian Lobster and Squid Ink Black Cod from Hot section.

TB: What type of seafood do you like most?

CL: My favorite seafood are the crustaceans from Sicily and the Mediterranean Red Shrimp Carabineros from South of Spain.                

TB: What is the most challenging type of seafood to cook?

CL: All seafood is usually quite challenging to cook. But I think that crustaceans like Scampi are the most delicate and have to be cooked with great care and precision.

TB: What is your favorite part of Bullona’s décor?

CL: The Ferrari in the center is, undoubtedly, my favorite bit.

TB: What is your favorite dish in general?

CL: TOM KHA GOONG, is a coconut-based soup, with shrimp and vegetables and belongs to Thai kitchens – it has to be my favorite!

TB: Do you cook at home?

CL: Yes, every day.

TB: One thing you always have in the fridge?

CL: Fresh Italian Basil.

TB: The city you love the most?

CL: Madrid.

TB: Your perfect holiday is?

CL: I love escaping to Asia and taking in the myriad set of flavors, colors and sounds. My favorite countries to travel to are Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia.


Author: Tanja Beljanski