60 seconds with … Cristina Bowerman from Glass Hostaria

Last week, Rome’s Glass Hostaria became one of 24 restaurants in Italy to be awarded its first Michelin star. We spoke to Cristina Bowerman, who returned to Italy to reconnect with her roots and became head chef at Glass after 14 years of living in Austin, Texas.

When did you start your career as a chef?

I started my career in a cafè in San Francisco cooking crepes and making cappuccinos. After my degree in Culinary Arts, Cordon Bleu program, I worked in several restaurants in the USA.

What is the strangest moment you’ve had so far in your career?

It was an important dinner several years ago and even though I had checked and rechecked things, I found myself without enough dessert spoons for my guests. The entire team went across town to gather spoons from our friends because Italian stores are closed at night. It was a race against time but we made it!

What drives a chef crazy in the kitchen?

Cooks who want to cut corners. I cannot stand it, especially when young cooks think that doing one way or the other is the same. It’s not!

What is the biggest achievement to date in your career?

A Michelin star and Two Forks from the Gambero Rosso guide. With a restaurant like Glass which is so different from the ones surrounding it, it was a real challenge.

Do you have a signature dish at the restaurant?

I have dishes that mean a lot to me, like the lobster and prosciutto; the crispy sweetbreads with cauliflower and chocolate sauce; and the risotto with oysters, crème fraiche and artichokes.

Which ingredient would you take to a desert island?

Rice. I would eat it any time, any way, with everything or nothing!

What are the three things in Rome a visitor shouldn’t miss? (Apart from visiting your restaurant of course!)

The interior of the Colosseum (it’s amazing to think they built it so long ago); the Coppedè quarter because of its amazing architecture; and Lo Zodiaco for the most breathtaking view of Rome (take a jacket with you even in the summer: it’s windy!)

Glass Hostaria are offering a complimentary glass of Champagne and an amuse bouche to toptable diners who book for dinner before 31st January 2010. If you’re visiting Rome over Christmas, don’t miss out!

Don’t forget you can book your Christmas parties on toptable.