Known as the godfather of Italian food, Guy Grossi is a household name when it comes to simple, delicious cuisine. His portfolio of restaurants in Melbourne, including his eponymous establishment Grossi Florentino, have been consistently ranked at the top of the prestigious Good Food Guide in Australia.
Grossi is not only a restaurateur and chef but also a writer, having published multiple cookbooks; his newly launched book Love Italy celebrates the tastes, sights, smells and heritage of the regions of Italy. Grossi is also a celebrated media personality and philanthropist, having appeared on television shows for CBS in New York as well as SBS’ Italian Food Safari, where his authority on Italian cuisine is lauded and respected the world over.
We spent some time with Grossi to get some insight on his love for Italy and its produce and his top Melbourne restaurants.
Can you tell us a little more about the origins and thinking behind your new book ‘Love Italy’?
The idea behind this book was preservation and tradition. I wanted to highlight some of Italy’s products and techniques that are special in the product itself or to the Italian culture. Creating a book like this gives us the opportunity to bring these traditions home with us and share the stories of those who have dedicated their lives to their craft. It is a book of food, family and heritage, three things that sit close to me.
Describe your all-time favourite dish and what it represents to you.
This is always the hardest question to answer and my answer usually changes, depending on what season it is. A favourite would be something that my Mum or Dad used to cook for us. Osso Buco springs to mind. It was Mum’s favourite and for me this dish means family and comfort.
Is there a certain process that you use to come up with your seasonal menus?
The produce itself usually determines our menus. We aim to use the highest quality ingredients and using them when they’re at their prime or when they are in season helps to ensure this. If something is coming into season and it’s beautiful and fresh then it features on the menu pretty quickly.
Besides Italy, where is your favourite culinary region and why?
There are so many destinations that are well known for food. Where we live is one of them. Can I say Australia? We are just so blessed here with the quantity and quality of ingredients and products. If I had to choose somewhere a little further out I’d say France. I’m thinking about cheese.
What special projects should we be looking forward to from you in the near future?
We have a little project on the go. It’s on the go all right! You’ll see it around but that’s all I can say for now.
Latin cuisine took over Melbourne by storm, and now a recent influx of Asian fusion eateries have popped up left, right and centre. What do you see is the next big thing in food?
Like fashion, food trends go in and out. It’s hard to say what the next thing will be but I see things leaning toward simpler cooking methods and style of food. Simple, tasty food I think is what people enjoy.
Melbourne’s Top 5 Restaurants According To Guy Grossi
A great spot for a casual Italian lunch. The food is authentic and tasty.
41 Little Collins St, Melbourne
2. The Builders Arms
Sunday lunch at the Builders never disappoints. It’s relaxed, easy going and the food is always great.
211 Gertrude St, Fitzroy, VIC
I couldn’t go past Melbourne’s best Spanish food.
1 Hosier Ln, Melbourne
4. Three Bags Full Cafe
It’s close to home and the breakfast offer here is spot on. I have a mixed juice and eggs, always perfectly cooked.
Nicholson St & Mollison St, Abbotsford VIC
I love sitting outside in the sunshine. The view is amazing – such a great part of Melbourne – And the food is simple and delicious.
100 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne VIC 3004, Australia
By Mel Yap, in collaboration with Melting Butter
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