This Master Italian Chef Is Eyeing U.S. Expansion

And he's looking to L.A., not New York.

osteria francescana

Earlier this year, one of the world’s great chefs teamed up with one of the world’s great fashion houses to create an exclusive little restaurant in Florence. Now, they’re thinking about doing it again, but this time in America.

In an interview with Eater LA, Massimo Bottura of Osteria Francescana—the reigning World’s Best Restaurant—is in talks with his childhood friend, Gucci CEO Marco Bizzarri, to open another eatery together like their Gucci Osteria in Italy.

“It’s a totally different experience than Osteria Francescana. It’s quick, fun fine dining. We take classic Tuscany meat that we simmer and grind and serve as a hot dog. Or you can have a cheeseburger with beef and pork, and very old Parmigiano-Reggiano, and you think ‘Wow, this is something special,” the Michelin three-star chef told Robb Report about his Gucci partnership. “It’s in the oldest building in Florence, in Piazza della Signoria, where Michelangelo, Raffaello, and Donatello were painting and sculpting,”

For U.S. expansion, there isn’t an analog for the kind of history you can find in Florence, and really, he doesn’t seem interested in looking. He wants to open where the new money is: Rodeo Drive. “I don’t want to open New York, I don’t want to open Paris, London. Beverly Hills or Ginza,” Bottura told Eater. “Ginza would be challenging. They love me in Japan. Japanese people are crazy about Osteria Francescana because we are obsessed about the quality of the ingredients.”

What draws him to Los Angeles is the mash-up of cultures, a place where Roy Choi can create a dining empire by selling Korean-Mexican food. And with Gucci’s rooftop on its Beverly Hills store, he thinks he’s found a winning location.

While Bottura has been groundbreaking with his playful Italian cuisine, he won’t exactly be a trendsetter when it comes to world-renowned chefs opening in LA. In the last few years David Chang, Stephanie Izard, Joshua Skenes, Daniel Patterson, Daniela Soto-Innes and Enrique Olvera, Daniel Humm, Dominique Ansel and more have either opened restaurants in town or told the world they intend to. Despite the glut of celebrity chefs, I’m sure Los Angeles would still be more than happy to have him.

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