Gucci Osteria, an intimate restaurant by world-renowned chef Massimo Bottura, opened in January 2018.
The partnership originates from a childhood friendship of Gucci CEO Marco Bizzarri and Michelin-starred chef Bottura and celebrates their shared love of food.
The city of Florence holds great importance for both Massimo and Gucci.
Creative Director Alessandro Michele in fact conceived the Osteria within the Gucci Garden, the eclectic palazzo in Piazza della Signoria in Florence, the birthplace of the House
Gucci Garden houses gallerias of rich archives and a boutique featuring unique Gucci pieces and products not available for sale anywhere else. It is a place that represents Renaissance culture, a melting pot of creativity, and the gathering of the most innovative minds of that time. These themes are truly significant for Gucci Osteria’s approach – a place that mixes different culture offerings with cutting-edge creativity.
At the helm, is Massimo’s chef de cuisine Karime Lopez, a Mexican-born chef with a stellar culinary experience at some of the world’s best restaurants. Karime grew up in a food-oriented family, who owned and ran several traditional restaurants in Mexico City. However it was her passion for art that took her to Paris, where she studied at the Sorbonne. As a student, she regularly frequented the city’s boulangeries and fell in love with a novel form of cuisine, the art of patisserie. She subsequently transferred to culinary school in Spain, before her first restaurant job under Santi Santamaria at the two Michelin-starred Sant Celoni. Her career took Karime all over world, from three Michelin-starred culinary temples Noma in Copenhagen and Ryugin in Tokyo to Pujol in her native Mexico City and Mugaritz in Spain. She eventually joined Virgilio Martinez at his Lima restaurant Central, where she worked for five years and met her husband Takahiko Kondo, sous chef at Massimo Bottura’s Osteria Francescana. She moved to Italy and also began working with Massimo. Their shared love of the arts led Karime to work on Massimo’s book ‘Bread is Gold’ before taking up position as chef de cuisine at Gucci Osteria.
Karime’s menu is inspired by her international career and culinary travels, the global origins and experience of her team, as well as her passion for art and music. It also echoes Florence’s historical significance of being a cultural confluence and creative melting pot during the Renaissance period, an important theme and inspiration for both Massimo and Karime.
Karime likes to challenge the traditional perception of Italian cuisine, creating playful takes on classic dishes. Her ‘Purple Corn Tostada’ reflects her Mexican heritage, yet turns tradition on its head by serving the corn tostada on top of chopped marinated bonito, avocado, with hints of spice and citrus to make it easier to eat. Her ‘Taka Bun’ is a tribute to her husband and the comfort food they enjoy at home, featuring crisp sweet-sour pork belly coated with an umami-rich balsamic miso sauce.
A steamed bun encloses red cabbage and tender pork belly, coated in umami balsamic-miso sauce.
Massimo’s signature dishes are also on the menu such as the Tortellini, a dish that truly demonstrates Italian pasta craftsmanship and offers an authentic taste of an Italian childhood. The chef’s legendary burger also features, with an Italian spin of beef, Cotechino and Parmesan patty, topped with two sauces: a salsa verde and a light mayonnaise highlighted with Modena balsamic vinegar, served in a pink Gucci Garden takeaway-style box.
To finish, one of the desserts, ‘Charley’s Sandwich’, plays homage to Massimo’s son, a chocolate aficionado, and takes different forms according to the season, most commonly a chocolate hazelnut ice-cream sandwich. Made in Italy, all the tableware is crafted in Richard Ginori porcelain, hand painted with the Gucci Herbarium motif. Finally, the wine collection features a wide selection of local Tuscan bottles and Italian classics.
Ice-cream sandwich created out of chocolate and hazelnut.
Gucci Osteria’s carefully curated interiors are a nod to its Florentine history, and feature a vibrant green palette. Rich teal velvet banquettes complement the pea-green panelling, and hand-painted painted floorboards adorned with a leaf motif. The restaurant features merchant’s coats of arms in stone, from the building’s origins as a 13th century court of commerce and the inscription of Lorenzo de’ Medici’s 15th Century carnival song, canto carnascialesco. From April, a 20-cover terrace opens for al fresco dining in one of the world’s most renowned piazzas.
Hidden behind a decorated door of the 30-seat restaurant, is an ornate private dining room named Foliage, which hosts up to 12 guests. The detailed design of Gucci’s Glade fabric is available to purchase on Gucci Décor and is part of a range of curated wallpapers that can be printed on vinyl, paper, or silk.
Gucci Garden is dedicated to an exploration of the eclectic creativity that lies at the very heart of the House, and is located within the elegant, ancient Palazzo della Mercanzia in Florence. Through curating a wide range of pieces from collections dating back to the House’s Florentine origins in 1921 and marrying these with recent work, memorabilia, ephemera and contemporary art, Gucci Garden is not only a celebration of a rich archive, but a lively, interactive experience.