Busto Arsizio, Italy.
I started to cook while studying at the school for hotel management in Italy. The school I attended was one of the most historic in Stresa where I learnt from an experienced and passionate professor who inspired me to continue on this path.
I continued into my apprenticeship all around Italy in Michelin-star restaurants, where the true experience and learning began. I also travelled to London and San Francisco, where I worked as a private Chef.
Have you always wanted to be a Chef?
As a young girl I was torn as whether to dive into physiotherapy, or to become a Chef, so I decided to become a Chef.
How would you define your style?
My style is elegant and simple with a twist of unusual.
What is your feature flavour these days?
Currently I like experimenting in my cooking with liquorice, carrots and fennel as main flavours of the dish.
I'm obsessive and compulsive in the organisation of working in the kitchen.
Your greatest culinary influence?
You are probably expecting me as an Italian to say my Nonna is my greatest influence in cooking, however this is not the case as I taught my Nonna how to cook. I have to say my greatest Influence is constantly changing, I observe people who are better than me and Chefs around the world who experiment with different techniques and flavours.
What do you love about this business?
The aspect I love most in what I do is seeing people joyful and full of happiness when they eat the dish we worked on. I love watching their expression when they try new dishes and the curiosity they have when they ask about the dish.
I also enjoy the research into new products and techniques to bring forward into our recipes and dishes.
An ingredient you can’t live without?
Olive oil and Grana Padano.
Casoncelli alla Bresciana because it's an historic recipe which Nicola has reinvented into something that today can be considered a signature dish - which a few restaurants in Melbourne have sneakily mimicked.
Why should diners visit your restaurant and what can they expect?
Diners travel on a journey with their mind, good combinations of flavour, new and researched products.
We are passionate about our job and looking for our guests to be happy about their dining experience.
What do you think the past 12 months of COVID has taught restaurants and Chefs about their diners and the industry in general?
COVID has a big impact on the industry. In one way it has shown the ones who have true passion for this field and have been able to remain on this path. In another way, smaller businesses in the food industry that may not have economic resources, haven't survived this situation!
Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
In 5 years...I'll be sitting next to the fireplace in a rustic, country house. Probably sipping a good wine from my own winery and eating the best homemade cheese; having a good conversation with the rest of the family, planning the next move of our own business.