Meet Mattia Agazzi, the young and ambitious Head Chef of Gucci Osteria da Massimo Bottura Beverly Hills who is cooking up a storm in the culinary world. And so much, very impressively, he’s gained his first Michelin star with an approach that combines Italian fair, creativity, and the very best, seasonal ingredients. Agazzi tells us more about his heritage, his inspirations, and his approach to Michelin star dishes.
How did you get into the industry?
I have been interested in cooking since I was a child. After school, I started working at the three-Michelin-starred Da Vittorio, with chef Enrico Cerea. Four years later, I traveled around the world, to gain more experience. Amongst the places I’ve worked in, I particularly remember Joël Robuchon’s restaurant in London and the St. Hubertus in the Dolomites. Even if for a shorter time, I have also had very formative experiences with Romain Meder in Paris at Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athenée, and at Yellow, a vegan restaurant in Sydney, where I was introduced to a whole new world of creativity with vegetables including fermentation. Eventually, I returned to Italy, but I was about to leave again for another experience when I received an email from Osteria Francescana, where I had sent my resume months before. I didn’t think twice: the day after, I was driving right to Modena. After a period at Osteria Francescana, Massimo Bottura offered me the role of sous chef for Karime Lopez at Gucci Osteria Florence. As the new restaurant here in Beverly Hills began to take shape, they proposed this incredible opportunity to me.
Who or what is your biggest inspiration as a chef?
I grew up in an environment where food has always been a big part of my life, and where family time also meant time spent around the table. A humble family, but I could say that I strongly felt the example set by my parents, who have always worked hard all day long. Regarding my cooking style, I try to develop my ideas in a personal way, allowing the everyday experiences and travels to influence me.
How would you sum up the look, feel, and taste of Gucci Osteria?
The atmosphere at Gucci Osteria Beverly Hills is intimate and cozy. We want guests to feel relaxed on the top floor terrace of the Gucci building overlooking Rodeo Drive. With regards to the taste, it’s about experiencing our Italian cuisine set within the incredible Californian surroundings. In relation to the taste of Gucci Osteria, I would say it tastes like Italian food, without being completely traditional. The fact that we, unfortunately, don’t have access to all the products we are used to having in an Italian kitchen, it’s made us strengthen and develop our cooking style. We find ways to create dishes that feature a certain nostalgia for conventional Italian recipes while using the finest ingredients in California. Our Uni Carbonara is a great example where we reinterpret the traditional carbonara, using the finest fresh seafood in the area.
How do you approach a menu and dishes?
We use the finest American and Italian produce sourced through local markets, that we playfully intertwine through our own stories and dreams. It’s also the result of great and inspiring teamwork. It’s very important for us to convey our emotions with a playful twist. The fun element of the process could at times be quite a challenge, but, once successfully achieved, can result in the greatest satisfaction. With just a pinch of imagination, we can travel anywhere in the world through food.
Which are the signature dishes there?
A must is ‘Risotto camouflaged as pizza’, one of the most fun with a curious story behind it. With this dish, we bring together two very recognizable Italian flavors: pizza and risotto. I named it this way because it tastes more like pizza than the pizza itself and because it is a reference to Massimo Bottura, who joked with me: “Come on Mattia, get ready – quick! – we’re going to Beverly Hills to open a pizzeria!”. Obviously, keeping me in the dark – it was anything but a pizzeria! It turned out to be Gucci Osteria that we were going to open. Another to mention is definitely ‘Coming from the Hills’ “I Love Rock Climbing”, local white trout, hazelnuts, and mushrooms. In Beverly Hills, the fish is simply incredible: the quality, the variety…for this recipe, I have added an Asian touch. In addition, as the title already reveals, it inherently talks of my style and my passions.
What are your favorite dishes on the menu currently?
I would say the SoCal Spaghetto Splashworks is for sure one of my favorites! The dish reminds me of my first experience in a Michelin star restaurant with my parents at Gualtiero Marchesi’s, where they really showcased the local seafood in a spectacular way.
What’s coming up for 2022?
Last year was incredible: after the reopening, we earned our Michelin star, thanks to the incredible team we have built. For 2022, we want, of course, to keep up the good work and continue to prepare new dishes. My mind and my heart are in a continuous creative state!
See more on gucciosteria.com.