:: itchefs-GVCI ::

Grana Padano

Hong Kong: a capital of italian cuisine abroad


Hong Kong, the Chinese gateway to the west, has always had a special love affair with the Italian cuisine. It has been from this unique city that the long wave of quality Italian Cuisine spread throughout all Asia. The pioneers of what has been a real revolution were young chefs, from Italy, where they were born, studied and started on their careers.

It was the definitive end to a century long stereotype for which unqualified migrants went abroad and opened thousand of restaurants with mammà or nonna at the stove. Those migrants were in any case extremely precious to the development of Italian Cuisine in the world, but with the new chefs this history changed. Gabriele Colombo at the Grissini, Mario Caramella at Mistral, Umberto Bombana at Rex were among the first to talk about quality, authenticity, ability, in the context of five star hotels. There were others of course and I ask them to forgive me if I don’t mention them all.
The stories of Paolo Monti and Vittorio Lucariello, two among the most active itchefs-Gvci members are strongly related to Hong Kong.



“I have a lot of great memories of Hong Kong. One that stands out is the very professional working environment that is full of respect and dedicated people. I could always rely on my team, which never let me down.

One negative thing about Hong Kong is the very hot and humid weather. This took a long time to get used to since it was usually paired with high air pollution”. Vittorio Lucariello, has been for many years at the helm of Grissini (Hyatt Hong Kong) were he collected many accolades. He just returned to Italy to open his own restaurant this month. Born In a town close to Naples, Vittorio has an American wife and his new venture will start in Maranello (Modena). The restaurant’s name is Abbracci (via Nazionale Giardini, 80 – 0039 0536 944480). Vittorio says: “My decision to come back to Italy was first based on family. I have spent many years outside Italy and wanted to enjoy some time close to my own family. Secondly, I have always aspired to open a restaurant of my own in a place where the natural quality of the food is strong”.

How Vittorio sees his future? “I see that the opportunities for people of creative talent are unfortunately limited in Italy, which is why many leave to find success in other parts of the world. However, this country offers something that many do not, which is an amazing history, beautiful landscapes and some of the best food in the world. Love and peace”.



This particular chef is a native of Rome and a purist about food; he has worked at some of its most prestigious restaurants such as the Michelin-starred Eden Hotel and Alberto Ciarla. His travels have taken him to Los Angeles where he worked for seven years in leading Italian restaurants, before coming to Hong Kong as Executive Chef for Gaia. However, Rome and the classical training he received there continue to be a source of influence in Paolo’s work.

“I would be lying if I said I hadn’t been influenced by the sheer beauty of the city as well as its tremendous history and tradition. I think this was probably what led me to work at Checco ar 13 ‘mo - one of the oldest trattorias in Rome... I have been in Hong Kong with Gaia since 2001 when it opened. I arrived with the intention of staying here for just six months but it was love at first sight. I am still very excited by Hong Kong and Asia and although I still love Italy, I don’t see myself leaving here for quite some time.”



Paolo’s cooking combines health-conscious Californian attitude with authentic Italian cuisine, resulting in a lighter form of Italian food that embraces seasonal specialities. Chef Monti’s seasonal signature dishes at Gaia include a fresh and tender ‘Seared Blue Fin Tuna served rare with Roasted Veal Sauce’ and beautifully presented ‘Beef Carpaccio with Buffalo Ricotta cheese’. At the picturesque Gaia surrounds Chef Monti presents an inspired dish for the challenge: a slightly spicy Singaporean influenced ‘Spaghetti Il Milione’.

  • 1.jpg
  • 2.jpg
  • 3.jpg
  • 4.jpg
  • 5.jpg
  • 6.jpg
  • 7.jpg
  • 8.jpg
  • 9.jpg
  • 10.jpg
  • 11.jpg
  • 12.jpg
  • 13.jpg
  • 14.jpg
  • 15.jpg
  • 16.jpg
  • 17.jpg
  • 18.jpg
  • 19.jpg
  • 20.jpg
  • 21.jpg
  • 22.jpg
  • 23.jpg
  • 24.jpg
  • 26.jpg
  • 27.jpg
  • 28.jpg
  • 29.jpg
  • 30.jpg
  • 31.jpg
  • 32.jpg
  • 33.jpg
  • 34.jpg
  • 35.jpg
  • 36.jpg
  • 37.jpg
  • 38.jpg
  • 39.jpg
  • 40.jpg
  • 42.jpg
  • 43.jpg
  • 44.jpg
  • 45.jpg
  • 46.jpg
  • 47.jpg
  • 48.jpg
  • 49.jpg
  • 50.jpg
  • 51.jpg
  • 52.jpg
  • 53.jpg
  • 54.jpg
  • 55.jpg
  • 56.jpg
  • 57.jpg
  • 58.jpg
  • 59.jpg
  • 60.jpg
  • 61.jpg
  • 62.jpg
  • 63.jpg
  • 64.jpg
  • 65.jpg
  • 66.jpg
  • 67.jpg
  • 68.jpg
  • 69.jpg
  • 70.jpg
  • 71.jpg
  • 72.jpg
  • 73.jpg
  • 74.jpg
  • 75.jpg
  • 76.jpg
  • 77.jpg
  • 78.jpg
  • 79.jpg
  • 80.jpg
  • 81.jpg
  • 82.jpg
  • 83.jpg
  • 84.jpg