> Chefs

Giuseppe D'Aquino

Giuseppe D'Aquino

Giuseppe opened Ristorante Oseleta at the Villa Cordevigo Wine Relais, an eighteenth century Venetian villa with formal Italian gardens and its own olive groves and woods. In 2013, it received a Michelin star, thanks to the beautiful setting, attentive service and dishes which take inspiration from all the different regions of Italy. Instead of restricting what he can use to the surrounding area, Giuseppe uses ingredients from all over the country in his recipes. ‘When I used to work abroad, any Italian ingredients I could get my hands on were like gold dust,’ he tells us. ‘Nothing is as good as Italian ingredients, and now that I have every single one available to me in less than ten hours, why would I limit myself? I can have shrimp from Mazara del Vallo and buffalo mozzarella from Fassona in Piedmont sent to me within the same day. I don’t think being influenced from lots of different places is a bad thing.’

It certainly seems to be ingredients that drive Giuseppe’s food – particularly those from his childhood. ‘I love Piennolo tomatoes that grow on the slopes of Vesuvius,’ he explains. ‘In my house we kept them hanging on the balcony and ate them with hard bread soaked in water – it was fantastic. It’s an incredibly Mediterranean ingredient and I use it at the restaurant when ever I can. We are in the hills of Lake Garda and get customers from all over Germany, the Netherlands and the UK. If you’re in Greece, you eat moussaka. If you’re in Spain, you eat paella. In Italy, people want to eat pizza or pasta with tomato sauce. We try to make the sauce the way God intended, using Gragnano paste and Piennolo tomatoes.’

Three things you should know

Giuseppe loves buying old recipes books, and plans to dedicate a section of his menu to very traditional dishes, as it’s what his customers are asking for.

Whilst France has always been seen as the best place in the world for food, Giuseppe believes Italy is at the same level now, thanks to people taking notice of the country’s chefs and innovative new takes on traditional dishes being covered by the media.

Giuseppe doesn’t sit down and think to come up with a new recipe. Instead, he believes cooking is a moment, and his ideas come from interactions, such as a supplier giving him a certain ingredient that reminds him of his childhood.