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Born with a Whisk in His Heart: Chef Chat with 83-year-old Alfredo Forte.

By Leigh O’Connor, Editor.

Alfredo Forte wasn’t just born with a spoon in his hand – he was born with a whisk in his heart.

At 83 years young, this Italian Chef declares he will never retire from Basilico Café on Main North Road in Prospect – he will die in the kitchen!

From the vibrant culinary landscapes of Italy to the thriving gastronomic scene in Australia, Alfredo’s culinary journey has been a testament to his unwavering passion for the art of cooking.
We talk exclusively to this icon of the kitchen about food, life and family:

"At the tender age of 17, I embarked on my culinary apprenticeship in the heart of Italy, where I honed my skills in the most authentic restaurants. The aromas of freshly baked focaccia, the symphony of bubbling sauces and the joy of creating delectable dishes ignited a fire within me.”
Born with a Whisk in His Heart: Chef Chat with 83-year-old Alfredo Forte.

As fate would have it, Alfredo’s family relocated to Australia when he was young allowing him to seize the opportunity to share his culinary heritage with the Land Down Under.

"I opened eight restaurants across Australia, quickly establishing myself as a maestro of Italian cuisine. With each dish, I poured my heart and soul into recreating the authentic flavours of Italy, using only the finest ingredients and traditional techniques.

"My restaurants became culinary destinations, renowned for exceptional pasta, succulent seafood and mouth-watering pizzas.”

Alfredo says over the years, his passion for cooking has only grown stronger and he has shared his knowledge through cooking classes, workshops and television appearances, always eager to inspire others to embrace the joy of creating delicious food.
Born with a Whisk in His Heart: Chef Chat with 83-year-old Alfredo Forte.

"Food has always been my passion, a symphony of flavours and textures that sing to my soul. My mother, a woman who could conjure magic from a simple pantry, instilled in me an unwavering love for Italian cuisine. From her, I learnt the art of balancing bright, fresh ingredients, the magic of a slow simmer and the importance of a well-seasoned sauce.”

Alfredo’s style in the kitchen is not about following rigid recipes or adhering to strict culinary rules – it is about a pursuit of perfection, a constant striving to create meals that are both visually stunning and bursting with flavour.

At 83, we have to ask: "What keeps you in the kitchen?”

"Age, they say, is just a number, a mere inscription on a calendar page. For me, at 83, I feel a vibrant truth to that statement. I am not defined by the years that have passed, but by the life I have lived, the experiences I’ve gathered and the wisdom I’ve gleaned.

"It’s as if, with each passing year, I’ve added another spice to my life’s tapestry, another layer of flavour to my being.”

Basilico is not just a restaurant, it’s an experience – a journey to the heart of Italy from the heart of Adelaide.
Born with a Whisk in His Heart: Chef Chat with 83-year-old Alfredo Forte.

"With every bite, you will be transported to sun-drenched Tuscan hills, smelling the fragrant herbs and the earthy aromas of freshly baked bread. Basilico’s authenticity is a passion, evident in the meticulous sourcing of ingredients and the traditional, time-honoured recipes passed down through generations.”

Alfredo shares his quintessential recipe for penne carbonara with AGFG home cooks:

"Carbonara is more than just a recipe to me; it’s a tangible connection to my heritage. My grandmother, with her weathered hands and warm smile, taught me the secrets of this simple yet divine concoction – the rich, creamy sauce made with only the freshest eggs, pancetta and pecorino Romano cheese, is a testament to Italian culinary ingenuity.”
We leave the last word to Alfredo:

"It infuriates me when people cheapen the artistry of Italian cuisine by sacrificing authentic flavours for cheap marketing tricks. It’s not just about a few herbs and spices; it’s about generations of tradition, a respect for high-quality ingredients and the delicate balance of flavours that makes Italian food so exquisite!”

Featured Locations

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Basilico Cafe

Experience timeless Italian mastery at Basilico Café on Main North Road in Prospect. Heading the kitchen of this Adelaide dining destination is 83-year-old Chef Enzo, who brings decades of authenti...

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