To celebrate Italy’s National Day on June 2, 2014, we thought we would have a quick chat to Guy Grossi, as his new book ‘Love Italy’ entails everything you would ever need to immerse yourself in Italian cuisine. Not only has Grossi put together the recipes from different ingredients across the nation, he also spent countless hours writing about the places he visited, how the ingredients were gathered and the people he met. As Guy puts it himself: “It’s a whopper of a book.” If you're in Melbourne you can enjoy Guy's heart warming and chef hatted cuisine at his restaurant: Grossi Florentino.
We will be releasing recipes from 'Love Italy' on June 2. Stay tuned, as links will appear in this blog.
You have a really busy year this year, how do you give your all at each event you attend?
Organisation is key. Obviously you can’t be in two places at once so I think it’s important to really commit to the things you choose to do. I find if I’m organised and have all the information I need for the event then it will be successful. I love participating in all kinds of events so I like to get as involved as much I can. It’s a great opportunity to meet people, learn and find inspiration so you need to give everything you’ve got.
With your new book out ‘Love Italy,’ it must be a wonderful feeling to finally have a book discovering the food in your home nation, explain to me how many years it took in the making to finally make the trip?
The trip took over two years to plan, from research to contacts, to logistics and building the itinerary. We did have a few schedules change here and there too, so that dates changed around a bit. All in all though, the book took 4 years from the inception to print date. It’s a whopper of a book. But good things take time. We are really proud of the book.
How many hours were put into writing the book, creating the recipes and putting it all together?
I spent countless hours writing the text. It was a question of getting all the notes together, making sense of them, remembering and then writing it as I recalled it. Some of the recipes came straight from the producers in Italy. Some of them, however, we created to include the products that we had seen, so these did take some time to write, test and photograph.
What was your motivation and hope for ‘Love Italy’ and its potential readers?
Love Italy is all about going back. I wanted to showcase, not only produce from my heritage, but also the culture and methods of cooking that we may not be familiar with here in Australia. So in a sense I wanted to go back to where I came from and back to some of the traditions that form the foundations of the food we know and love today. The book is about telling the story of passionate people whose lives are all about protecting and preserving their culture and traditions.
Each stop on your Italian journey must have been memorable, but is there a particular story you can share with us regarding one of the dishes in the book?
All of them were memorable for so many different reasons. The generosity, hospitality and warmth that we were shown by all those we meet was incredible. From offering their time and expertise to giving us produce. One that stands out (and this is a hard choice) was our trip to Pestum to see artichokes. Our stay at Lucio’s farm, just out of Salerno was just like being at home. He invited us into his family home with kindness and warmth. It was incredible. He drove us around to visit other producers and continued to offer us help from setting up appointments, making pasta with his mum and sending some loot home at the post office. We could never thank him enough for his hospitality.
If you could be any dish what would you be?
Surely, I’d have to be something with a bit of a kick no? Hot and Spicy? A hard question.. Maybe something that is quite hard on the outside and soft and gooey on the inside. Like a croquette. Mmmmm.
When you have the time for a break what do you enjoy the most?
When I’m at work a coffee and a bowl of vegetable soup or meat and salad and a sit down for 10 minutes is what I go to. But if I get to have break for a little longer, a day off, I like to have lunch or dinner with the family. A home cooked meal is always nice.
What can Australia and the world expect from you in the future?
I’d like to think that we will continue to cook and serve good food to our guests. I would also like to continue to inspire our staff in being the best they can, as well as inspiring those cooking at home and providing them with tools like Love Italy gives them to fuel the cook. When you cook for guests or those you love, and you can see the satisfaction when they taste something you have created, it’s one of the best feelings in the world. This is what we continue to strive to do.
Photos from Guy Grossi's website: http://www.grossiflorentino.com/announcements/love-italy-guy-grossi