Twenty years ago, the first high quality Italian Restaurant opened in Hong Kong, the Grissini, in the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Wan Chai. Not by chance, the name was suggested by one of the most prestigious Italian winemakers, Angelo Gaja; and the first chef, Gabriele Colombo had worked with great Italian Chefs such as Gualtiero Marchesi and Ezio Santin.
Angelo and Gaia Gaja
It was the beginning of an era, not only for Hong Kong but for all of Asia, where soon qualified Italian Chefs began to arrive along with the best of Italian products. For the first time in the world, Italian Cuisine was not travelling only with migrants but with qualified professionals. Quality Italian restaurants, opened by the dozens in every Asian capital, many in luxury hotels. In Hong Kong, they soon spread also outside of the hotels; after Grissini, and then Toscana (in the Ritz Carlton Hotel), Mistral (today Grand Stamford), Angelini (Shangri La), Sabatini (Royal Garden), and others, opened Va Bene, a creation of Pino Piano, a forerunner of the quality Italian cuisine in town. Since then, Italian cuisine has become the most beloved cuisine in Asia, after the local ones.
Gabriele Colombo, left, showcasing quality
Italian products at Grissini Restaurant
at the beginning of Ninenties
The Asia Summit is a celebration of the achievements of Italian cuisine in Hong Kong, and in Asia in general, in the past 20 years. It’s an unprecedented showcase of talents, flavours and products and, over all, an overdue acknowledgement of the fact that in cities like Hong Kong, as well as the other Asian cities, there are chefs, restaurants and professionals of the same level of the best in Italy. For the lovers of authentic Italian food and wine the future in Asia cannot look better.
It’s not by chance, then, that this summit is organized by itchefs.gvci.com, GVCI (Virtual Group of Italian Chefs) being the most vital of all the associations of chefs and culinary professional working for Italian cuisine and wine abroad. GVCI President, Mario Caramella, who worked in Hong Kong for a long time, was among the pioneers of quality Italian cuisine in Asia and will be one of the protagonists of the Summit.