Fashion and food are not the most natural fit, but when I see Massimo Bottura sporting a colorful Gucci sweater it all makes perfect sense. The stylish Italian chef was in New York for a brief visit and he couldn’t conceal his excitement for a project in Los Angeles: the new Gucci Osteria which is opening stateside in spring 2020.
“It will be a very cool rooftop terrace on Rodeo Drive,” the Michelin three-star chef says. The smart-casual venue will be the second that he and the storied fashion house have opened together. The first Gucci Osteria da Massimo Bottura in Florence, Italy, opened in 2018 and has been an overwhelming success, earning its first Michelin star earlier this month.
Segueing slightly from the fine dining format that put him on the map—Bottura’s Osteria Francescana has been dubbed the World’s Best Restaurant twice—the chef is vying for a more relaxed atmosphere within the new LA joint.
“Just like the Gucci Osteria in Florence, we want it to be fun and casual Italian,” Bottura says. “We’re planning to use high-quality produce from the LA Farmers Market and it will look amazing thanks to Alessandro Michele.”
Michele, the creative director of Gucci since 2015, was responsible for designing the Florence space—which is adorned in shades of lush green and panels of plush velvet—and he will also helm the Los Angeles fit-out. Food-wise, diners can expect elevated yet lively dishes—the Italian counterpart serves up pork buns, burgers and tortellini, for instance—which capitalizes on the mash-up of cultures found in the West Coast city. And will Bottura be in the kitchen? “I’ll be there for the launch, yes.”
The partnership between the chef and luxury label spans many decades—Gucci’s CEO Marco Bizzarri and Bottura have been best friends for over 40 years—and Bottura believes this relationship is a catalyst for ongoing success. “When ideas are born of friendships, they harness a different strength, and this is just the beginning of an exciting adventure.”
The pair are also working on the first American refettorio—which is basically a soup kitchen that also fights food surplus. Bottura launched the very first refettorio at the 2015 Milan Expo and is now bringing the concept stateside, “For the fragile souls. For the people who need it. For the community.”
Bottura will leverage his relationships with the country’s top chefs to turn the excess food from supermarkets into comforting meals, while Gucci focuses on transforming the old Church—located in Harlem around 19th Street—into a beautiful new space.
“With beauty, you really can rebuild the dignity of the people,” Bottura says.