On January 9, 2018, when the stove gucci osteria from Massimo Bottura they were lit for the first time, she was ruling them, karime lopez, born in 1982, the first Mexican woman chef to receive a Michelin star. If the maximalist and oneiric aesthetic of the historic Italian brand is transposed on the catwalk through the lens of Creative Director Alessandro Michele, after meeting chef Karime López, it became clear that the same magic that characterizes thegucci aesthetic has been translated into the kitchen, where each member of the team wears a pair of black joggers designed by Alessandro Michele and shares their own inclusive, curious and passionate philosophy.
Perhaps the most surprising thing about the chef is her calm and focused attitude, which radiates calm and order as soon as she enters the room, the energy of a person who has embarked on a lifelong journey in search of unique cultures where food was an integral part. . part of the experience. The important 5 years spent as a sous chef at Central in Lima, Peru, with Virgilio Martínez, was only the last in a series of stages: Can Fabes in Catalonia -where he trained as a chef- Mugaritz to San Sebastián, Noma in Denmark , Pujol in Mexico City, RyuGin in Tokyo. Finally, precisely, theOsteria Francescanawhere she also arrived because in the meantime she was married to Takahiko Kondou, Bottura’s sous chef. His passion for food stems from a mixture of traveling and growing up cooking as a family, together with his mother, he shares reminiscences through a menu in which the recipes are enriched by the contribution of a multicultural team, chefs who travel together and they learn from each other. bringing an international perspective to every dish.
“Taking an example – He says – a Venezuelan chef could bring arepas to work one day and the Italian chef would say “hey, I have an idea on how to cook them” – Gucci is truly exemplary in supporting the learning and growth of their staff”. Most chefs aren’t used to working in corporate settings, but Lopez praises Gucci’s ability to listen and adapt to what its creatives need to do what they do best. Inspired by the speed with which the brand’s designer teams can put together collections, the chef makes sure to watch each show online, capturing images and colors that can inspire her on the plates. “Of course we are inspired by Alessandro, he is fantastic, a creative and wonderful person, his ideas are valid for all ages, a concept that also applies to food». Also for this reason, in the kitchen, the imprint of the Creative Director is present, if only in the uniforms of the staff: “The Gucci Run sneakers are so comfortable that we now wear them all the time.”
The Osteria’s menu is not simply a mix of methods and ingredients, but a veritable tapestry of the Chef’s and her staff’s culinary adventures, a mix that has earned the Chef, the team and the Osteria di Firenze their first Michelin star in 2020. A success that also goes through the city chosen to house the restaurant, described by López as “A Renaissance City” in which “Everyone has gone to exchange products, languages and ideas and that is what we want to do in the restaurant.” That’s why at Gucci Osteria you won’t find a particular hue or ingredient, but rather an ever-evolving menu that explores all the senses, using only what’s available, in season, and at its peak of ripeness. Pre-Covid, the kitchen even had a local forager sourcing local wild ingredients to use throughout the week, giving the team the opportunity to improvise, always pushing their creativity while working within the confines of what’s available. Sustainability and creativity are important issues for the restaurant, but so is luxury: «The exclusivity is in the way the raw material is treated, which is prepared and brought to you in its maximum freshness. The concept that came to mind is “Travel with us around the world” and was born from that need for human contact, from the idea of awakening ancestral memories. We have been closed for two years. We know that after all this there is a need for human contact. We wanted each dish to be a different memory, and obviously one of those memories that I want people to leave with is Mexico because it’s in my heart.”