You sold your house to buy a farm so you could grow fresh ingredients. Do you enjoy working on the land? 'I do work with nature. For example, tomatoes are very important in our cooking and we must respect the seasons. A tomato picked in May is one thing; those grown in September are another. Each season demands a different cooking method. I use modern cooking techniques and computerised equipment to guarantee the cooking time is correct and the freshness of ingredients is maintained. I wouldn't be able to do what I do if I did not have quality [produce] and a healthy respect for nature.' How would you define your recipes? 'We offer fusion cuisine based on traditional ingredients. My cooking looks very simple, although it is not. But it is extremely healthy and offers a balanced dietary combination. Today our recipes can be a little different from the past; we used to use vinegars to conserve food but we don't need them anymore. I have my own concepts, many chefs think the more things they put in a meal the better. I don't see it this way. I want to give my diners one ingredient at a time. If we start with mushrooms, I want them to see, smell and taste mushrooms. The mushroom is the subject. If a lobster is a second course, I will focus on it, not mix it with mushrooms and so on.' You say you prepare real Italian food. What makes it 'real'? 'The problem is that real, quality Italian food is not well known worldwide. People think it is pizza or spaghetti Bolognese. Italian food has much more to offer and we want people to know that. When I started to cook in Sant'Agata sui due Golfi [in southern Italy] in 1975, I was preparing a very traditional type of food. With time, I slowly changed it; adding new ingredients to old recipes but still respecting tradition. I was only adding modern touches. Now we are replicating that in Asia. People keep asking me if this is Italian food - they love it. Every region has its own ingredients and ways to cook them. The south of Italy, with its Mediterranean influences, is very different from the north.' What ingredients do you favour? 'Besides pasta, we use a lot of mozzarella, ricotta, beans, lentils, fish, meat and all sorts of seasonal vegetables, including eggplant.' Is there much difference between Chinese and Italian tastes? 'Sometimes [in Italy] we use bottarga [dried fish roe] but it is too salty for many Chinese. Chinese patrons like spaghetti with fresh tomato and, of course, they love rice. They also look for big pieces of lamb and fish. The locals don't like to eat small sardines, for example, and we love them.' How do you view modern cooking? 'There are two kinds of cooks. Those who spend their time concerned about money and those who cook from the heart. I call the first ones, 'big mall cooks'. The second type - cooks like me - only use seasonal ingredients grown with care.'