Born in 1984, Claudio cut his teeth working alongside some of Italy’s greatest chefs, including Andrea Berton at Il Ristorante Trussardi alla Scala*, Gaetano Trovato at Arnolfo Restaurant ** and Andrea Migliaccio at L’Olivo** in the Capri Palace. This was followed by time spent at Enoteca Pinchiorri *** in Florence and Assaje * at the Hotel Aldrovandi in Villa Borghese, where Claudio was lauded with his first Michelin star in 2016.
Today, Chef Mengoni has returned to Florence to bring his authentic and sincere cooking philosophy to the kitchen of Borgo San Jacopo. Using carefully selected Italian produce, he presents creative dishes bursting with rigor. At the core of his cooking lies extensive knowledge fueled by continuous research. From insight into the raw ingredients to investigating new and complex processing techniques, his cooking shows now compromise.
Underpinned by robust flavor, the colors, shapes, tastes and textures of his cuisine come together in exquisite dishes. Some of Caludio’s signature plates include Cooked and raw vegetables with tomato sorbet and fig molasses; Suckling pig with roast pork, port shallots and Dijon mustard and Calamarata pasta with redfish, broccoli and tarragon.
Accompanying the chef’s outstanding cuisine are equally breath-taking views across the Arno River, earmarking Borgo San Jacopo as a truly epicurean destination. An unforgettable journey of elite Italian and Tuscan cuisine, the restaurant also boasts more than 950 bottles of the best regional and international wines in the cellar.
The décor by architect Michele Bönan pays tribute to Italy’s glamour-filled 1950s – the time of the Italian “new deal”; the birth of “Made in Italy” and an era closely-tied to the extraordinary creativity of Salvatore Ferragamo, the “shoemaker of dreams”. Inspired by this magical time, the interiors are truly captivating. The walls are adorned with re-produced designs, sketches and images of the iconic fashion epoch while contemporary furnishings are dotted all around the two-story space, which features an arch-shaped window overlooking the river at its heart.
Continuing on the glam theme, the custom-made lighting reflects the ambiance of a 50’s film. Designed to guarantee intimacy while focusing on the center of the table and its décor, the lighting provides just the right amount of illumination without obscuring the view of the other guests. Two grand mirrors, positioned opposite one another in front of the mezzanine area, make the space feel infinite, reflecting an endless river view to the guests’ tables. The soft linen and cotton accents in varying off-white hues blend gracefully with the mineral grey notes, accentuating the beautiful oak floors.
After opening its doors in 2004, the gourmet venue has become one of the most renowned addresses in Florence, accumulating a host of awards along the way including recognition in the L’Espresso Guide, Gambero Rosso, and the highly coveted Michelin Guide.
What is your culinary philosophy?
My sincere culinary philosophy is to elaborate ingredients with creativity and rigor, without compromise. At the base of it all is great research in raw materials and complex processing techniques, but distant from the abstract and molecular imprint. Flavors, colors and shapes come together in order to become memorable dishes with concrete flavor.
What is your greatest inspiration and how do you incorporate this into your cooking?
I find great inspiration in my territory, the seasonality of ingredients, valorizing the Mediterranean
If you could take a plane to any restaurant in the world, where would you go and why?
I would not have to go far as this would be Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée in Paris, France, a place and country with an important and strong gastronomical story. I am very intrigued not only by the culinary experience here but the historical Hotel Plaza Athénée as well.
Who is your culinary hero and why?
Although I have never met him personally when I was younger I was inspired by Santi Santamaria, his simplicity in processing and building dishes of flavor without destroying or compromising the raw material, but knowing how to enhance them with innovative and respectful techniques.
- 1 Michelin star
- 3 hats | L’Espresso
- 85 points, 2 forks | Gambero Rosso 2019
62/R, 50125 Florence