On Tuesday, fashion house Gucci dipped into the culinary scene with the luxe Gucci Osteria, a green-walled, 50-seat restaurant nestled inside the new Gucci Garden, an experiential museum-retail concept in the historic heart of Florence, Italy. The chef is Massimo Bottura, the Modena-based chef of three-Michelin-starred Osteria Francescana, in 2016 named the best restaurant in the world.
Now fully open to the public, the menu, glimpsed here, includes the parade of pasta one expects from Bottura considering Osteria Francescana’s carbo-loaded cameo on the Netflix show Master of None.
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Visitors can scarf down decadent plates of golden Parmigiano Reggiano-enriched tortellini, buttery cacio e pepe, and creamy mushroom risotto. But the menu evidently has a sense of humour, too, offering high-end interpretations of a hot dog, a burger (Bottura loves Shake Shack), and for dessert, a piña colada. There are also a fair number of dishes inspired by Bottura’s world travels, including Peruvian tostadas and Asian-tinged buns stuffed with fatty pork belly.
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Main dishes are priced between €20 and €30 (US$24 - US$36) each – this is Gucci, after all. “Haute couture and haute cuisine are a recipe made in heaven,” Bottura told reporters. Not for nothing, Gucci CEO Marco Bizzarri and Bottura are childhood friends as well.
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Gucci isn’t the first fashion brand to court the food world by a long shot. Prada owns the Milan patisserie Marchesi. LVMH will soon open the second location of La Grande Epicerie, its high-end grocery. This year, Tiffany’s & Co opened the robin’s egg-hued Blue Box Cafe on the fourth floor of its New York flagship. Dolce & Gabbana’s Spring 2018 collection, peppered with cannoli-print dresses and dangling carrot earrings, looks like something out of your kitchen pantry – indeed, they even have a limited-edition D&G pasta line for home cooks. And as far back as 2014, Chanel had food on the brain: the brand turned its runway into a giant supermarket that year for Paris Fashion Week.
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Gucci Garden is located inside the 14th-century Palazzo della Mercanzia, which overlooks Florence’s most famous square, Piazza della Signoria. The Gucci space spans an exhibition area, boutique selling items exclusive to the location, 30-seat cinema, and, of course, the restaurant. Entry to the upper floors – which includes rooms dedicated to vintage and modern renderings of the Gucci logo, items emblazoned with Gucci’s recurring motifs (like the horsebit and the red-and-green stripes), and Gucci’s exploration of the iconography of animals and gardens costs €8, with half of that donated to restoration projects around Florence.