Federico Zanellato: Italy, Japan and Australia on the plate!

Federico Zanellato: Italy, Japan and Australia on the plate!

Walking or sailing through the picturesque Darling Harbour in Sydney Australia one will immediately be intrigued by the cityscape as well as the bustling and modern restaurant overlooking the boats coming in and out. LuMi Dining became the Best Italian Restaurant in the world (2019) and keeps being on top of the prestigious ranking. The restaurant could be characterized by its flavor and elegance. Serving photogenic platings with views of the water and the  Sydney skylines. The Italian chefs, Federico Zanellato and Michela Boncagni are the heart and soul of this institution.  They had the courage to contaminate Italian cuisine with Japanese cuisine with imagination and creativity, creating a winning mix. The proposal focuses on the seasonality of the ingredients, the raw materials are from the fresh market and the fish is king. It is also possible to order a completely vegetarian, or vegan menu enriched with gelatos or sorbets. Fresh pasta and filled pasta are always delicious and dictate the stylistic code of the menu, which usually mixes hot and cold temperatures. Another mix can be seen on the wine list, which offers a long selection of imported Italian wines as well as a large range of Australian bottlings.

Frozen Art Chef is pleased to interview Chef Federico Zanellato.

1.Hi Chef, tell us more about you!

I graduated in commercial cookery in Italy and immediately at a very young age moved to London, UK where I worked my way through a few Italian restaurants before landing at The Ritz London.

After realizing that London was too cold and rainy for me, I tried to live in Australia for a few years and so I worked in an Italian restaurant in Leichhardt, New South Wales.

Due to my visa expiration, I had to go back to Italy. There I had to step up my career, and I worked for 2 years at La Pergola in Rome.

Before moving back to Australia, I had other experiences in Copenhagen (Noma) and Tokyo (Ryugin). Here I first worked at Ormeggio at The Spit, as Head Chef for 5 years and then had the opportunity to open my own restaurant in Pyrmont, LuMi Dining.

2. What did you do in order to make your dream come true?

Despite having studied hospitality at school and always working on the floor and in the kitchen after graduating, the breaking point came after working at La Pergola in Rome (3 Michelin star led by Heinz Beck).

Working in such an up-scale environment, the commitment of the whole brigade and the detailed execution of fine dining cuisine made me realize that creating and cooking dishes was my real passion.

Only by trying and failing, you can really improve!

3. What about Australias passion for frozen desserts?

Frozen desserts don’t have a specific season here in Sydney. As my daughters can testify, people consume them all year round as there’s no real season for it.

4. What’s your relationship with Frozen Desserts?

Obsession! At LuMi there has always been at least one frozen dessert on the menu. And also frozen desserts are very pleasing after heavier courses and help to cleanse the palate.

5. What about the similarities and differences between Australian and European frozen desserts?

Probably the main difference is given by the ingredients used to create those desserts. One of my signature gelato flavours is Buffalo Gelato with popcorn. I’m pleased to share the recipe with you, Frozen Art Chef lovers, so that you can understand what I’m speaking about.


For the Buffalo gelato
  • 2200 g Buffalo milk
  • 400 g cream
  • 120 g dextrose
  • 72 g skim milk powder
  • 380 g sugar
  • 40 g trimoline
  • 14 g pro crema stabilizer
  • Combine sugar and stabilizer in a bowl and set aside
  • Bring all other ingredients to 40C
  • Add sugar and stabilizer mix and bring to 84C
  • Chill over ice and allow to mature overnight
  • Freeze in paco jet containers
For the coffee caramel
  • 300 g coffee
  • 300 g sugar
  • 150 g cream
  • soya sauce
  • Make a dark caramel with sugar then add coffee
  • Reduce until thickened
  • Add cream and reduce till desired thickness
  • Season with soya sauce
For the Caramel popcorn
  • 60 g salted popcorn
  • 220 g sugar
  • 100 g water
  • kombu powder
  • bring water and sugar to 110 C 
  • Add popcorn and allow to caramelize 
  • Place on a tray and allow cooling whilst moving so it does not stick
  • Season with salt and kombu powder
For the 


  • 200g Tasmania cream
  • 20g icing sugar
For the Tasmania cream

Semi-whip the cream with the sugar and set aside


  • Place a quenelle of gelato in a frozen bowl
  • Drizzle over the coffee caramel 
  • Spoon over 1 spoon of the cream
  • Cover in popcorn

6. Moreover, is Frozen Art a good match with the pastry/bakery?

Well, if you think that one of Sicily’s most famous baked products is a brioche filled with ice cream that can be enjoyed any time of the day, definitely a yes for me.

One of our latest desserts at LuMi features in fact an infused chiffon cake topped up by frozen yogurt and fruit reduction.

7. Which are your bestseller recipes?

My clients always find on the menu my Evergreen- sorrel sorbet, mint merengue, basil granita, shiso gelatin, my Yuzu ice cream and licorice, and my Macadamia ice cream, Coffee cream, caramelized buckwheat. Also, the Douglas fir Ice Cream & Edoo is becoming more and more popular.

Would you like to try out my Evergreen-sorrel sorbet? Follow the recipe below.

For the basil granita
  • 250 gr Basil leaves
  • 220 gr Cold water
  • 180 gr Sugar syrup 1:1
  • 82  gr Lemon juice
  • 1    pinch Ascorbic acid
  • 1    pinch Citric acid
  • 0.1 gr Xantan gum
  • Blanch the basil leaves in abundant boiling water for 1 minute then cool  down in water and ice.
  • Take them out from the icy water and squeeze as much water as possible
  • Put the  basil leaves and the rest of the ingridients in a vita prep mixer and blitz them at full speed for 30 second max (otherwise you lose the color)
  • Strain through a fine chinoise directly in a container and freeze at -20 degrees
  • When fully freeze scrape with a fork and keep in the freezer
For the sorrel sorbet
  • 450 gr water
  • 157 gr dextrose
  • 105 gr sugar
  • 6     gr sorbet stabilizer
  • 260  gr Sorrel leaves
  • 220  gr Cold water
  • 70    gr lemon juice
  • pinch  Ascorbic acid
  • Prepare the sorbet base first
  • Mix the sugar with the sorbet stabilizer
  • Mix the water with the dextrose in a pot and bring to 40 degrees
  • Add the sugar and stabilizer and bring to 85 degrees
  • Cool down in an ice bath
  • Let it mature for at least 6 hours in the fridge
  • For the sorrel
  • Mix all the remaining ingredients in the vita prep mixer set at high speed for few second
  • Strain through a chinoise and add it to the sorbet base previously prepared
  • Pour everything in a Pacojet canister and freeze at -20 degrees
For the mint merengue
  • 40 gr Mint leaves
  • 120 gr Cold water
  • 24 gr Egg white powder
  • 65 gr sugar
  • 40 gr Fresh egg white
  • 12 drops Mint extract
  • blanch the mint leaves in boiling water
  • Cool  down in icy water
  • Take them out and squeeze the excess water
  • Blitz with cold water 
  • Strain Through a chinoise and oil filter
  • Add egg white to the mint water 
  • Blitz with the stick blender to fully hydrate 

the egg white powder

  • Pour the mixture in a kitchen aid bowl and start whisking at low speed
  • Add the sugar and increase to high speed until the amount triple  its original volume
  • Put the mixture in the pimping bag
  • Squeezed out small dots on a dehydrator sheets 
  • Dehydrate at 55 degrees for 5 hour
For the Shiso Gelatine
  • 22 gr shiso leaves
  • 135 gr sugar syrup
  • 135 gr. Water
  • 1 leaf titanium gelatine
  • 15 gr. Lemon juice
  • pinch of salt
  • Hydrate the gelatine in icy water
  • Blanch the Shiso leaves and cool down in icy water 
  • Squeezed excess water
  • Blitz them in a vita prep mixer with the rest of the ingridients
  • Strain through a chinoise 
  • Heat in a pot a small amount of the mixture and dissolve the gelatine.
  • Add the rest of the mix and put in a container in the fridge to set
For the Parsley salt
  • 100 gr Parsley leaf
  • 100 gr fine salt
  • Blend together in the Thermomix until you reach a fine powder
  • Let dry on a paper towel at room temperature


For the Garnish
  • Lemon bulm
  • Baby shiso leaves
  • Picked chervil
  • Crushed Fizz from texturas


  • Place a scoop of shiso gelatine on the bottom of a cold bowl
  • Place a quenelle of sorrel sorbet on top
  • Sprinkle the shaved granita on top
  • Add few pieces of merengue
  • Finish with the herbs and the fizz

8. Any advice for young students who want to become successful Chefs and champions in Australia?

Perseverance is the key, hunger for success, and a very humble mindset.

7. Which would be a frozen dessert trend in the next years?

Definitely something more healthy, less refined sugars, and alternative dairy products.