Food and the Unexpected Journey into Memories
To travel is to experience – to open yourself up to the unexpected, to journey through different cultures and lives. In the culinary world, travel is inextricably linked to the creativity of a chef, whose senses become repositories of food memories, collecting every smell, flavor, emotion, which are expressed through the dishes they make. The very idea behind the creative, playful cuisine of Gucci Osteria has always been to capture the heritage of Italian cuisine – home to the House of Gucci and the first Gucci Osteria da Massimo Bottura – while being an intermediator of cultures, reflecting the chefs’ diversity of identities and the environments that surround them.
From Florence to Tokyo, Seoul and Beverly Hills, food at every Gucci Osteria is therefore, an invitation to journey into the chefs’ personal experiences, a journey that often feels grounded in Italy but travels all over the world. “Our entire menu is about travel: we bring guests around the world with us – Mexico, Japan, Singapore…They also embark on a journey through our memories and the most memorable and important experiences we had with friends and family,” say Karime López and Takahiko Kondo, Co-Executive Chefs of Gucci Osteria Florence.
For the traveling chef, food also becomes an intimate affair. Being far from home brings them even closer to it, with nostalgia becoming a “critical key” in transforming dishes that create connections to their past. Take Risotto Camouflaged as Pizza at Gucci Osteria Beverly Hills, for example, where Italian Chef Mattia Agazzi combines techniques picked up from all over the world, transforming one iconic Italian dish – pizza – into another – a risotto. It is a dish that speaks to the international audience of Beverly Hills but at the same time recalls his home in Italy. Over in Tokyo on the other hand, Chef Antonio Iacoviello commemorates his father, through The Parmigiana that Wants to Become a Ramen, where an eggplant parmesan meets a garlic oil and chili spaghetti, served with a fermented broth of Japanese eggplants.
The experience of travel is how chefs create their dishes, constantly introducing new discoveries from nearby while drawing from their personal repositories of taste. “By traveling our chefs have encountered new cultures, people, stories, arts, ancient architects, and new exotic ingredients which inspired and fostered their creativity,” say Chefs Davide Cardellini and Hyungkyu Jun. At Gucci Osteria in the bustling metropolis of Seoul, they combine their traveling trunks of experiences into Farinata – a savory pancake made with chickpeas, topped with tomato confit, stracciatella cheese, fried capers, and Peranzana olive powder. Italian ingredients like tomatoes, olives, cheeses, capers, and olive oils that Hyungkyu fell in love with during his first visit to Italy come together with Davide’s newfound fascination with the myriad flavor combinations of jeon, savory pancakes ubiquitous in Korea.
The diverse career paths of the chefs at Gucci Osteria have taken many of them all over the world across Europe, Americas and Asia, and their travels are a key ingredient in developing their culinary creativity. As put by Karime and Taka: “Traveling is fundamental…Travel is culture. Travel is sharing. Travel allows you to have an open mind and to learn about other people, their culture, food habits, ingredients.” Meanwhile, Antonio, whose travels have taken him across the world from his native Italy to the Michelin-starred kitchens of France and Denmark, notes how in Japan he has encountered entirely new techniques and ingredients, “developing a much more direct precise language of food that is full of nuances and colors.”
Through the foods they create, we encounter unexpected insights into the chefs’ intimate experiences. It’s why every Gucci Osteria is the embodiment of ‘travel’ – the traveling of tastes, of the chefs, their memories, each becoming an open trunk of stories to be shared with its guests.
Our Chefs’ Favorite Spots
Our chefs, based across Florence, Tokyo, Beverly Hills and Seoul, shared some of their favorite places in their current cities. Discover them when you visit one of our Gucci Osteria restaurants:
Florence, Co-Executive Chefs Karime López and Takahiko Kondo: Giardino 25, Gucci’s all day casual dining cafe and cocktail bar; Fiesole for a peaceful walk in the countryside; the Boboli Gardens and Farmacia Santa Maria Novella for inspiration.
Seoul, Chef Hyungkyu Jun and Chef Davide Cardellini: Samcheong-dong, a neighborhood in Seoul full of traditionally built houses, alleys, and restaurants; National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art for art spotting and a calming break from the busy metropolis.
Tokyo, Executive Chef Antonio Iacoviello: Toyosu Fish Market in the Nihonbashi district, with its history of over 500 years and fresh produce shopping.
Beverly Hills, Head Chef Mattia Agazzi: Joshua Tree National Park, for a walk in the early morning or late at night for stargazing; Santa Barbara for the fish and farmers market (where Mattia finds sea urchins and fresh produce, among other things, direct from the farmers for the restaurant).