At La Loggia di Villa San Michele, Chef Alessandro Cozzolino draws inspiration from the rich tapestry of Italian culinary history, the serene landscape of Fiesole Hill, and the timeless allure of Florence's Renaissance architecture. As the Executive Chef of Villa San Michele, A Belmond Hotel, Florence, he meticulously curates three tasting menus for the signature dining experience, La Loggia, showcasing his culinary prowess. These menus are a testament to his commitment to the art of gastronomy, seamlessly blending premium ingredients, nutrition, and exquisite flavour profiles of Tuscan cuisine.
Hailing from Caserta, Chef Cozzolino's culinary journey spans from the culinary excellence of San Bonnet le Froid in France to the vibrant culinary scene of Hong Kong, from Michelin-starred establishments to recognition in the World's 50 Best Restaurants. Here, Chef Cozzolino reveals his profound admiration for Tuscan cuisine, nature, and his remarkable mini-farm, ensuring the freshest produce for his culinary creations!
1. How would you describe your cooking philosophy?
My cuisine is based on three important pillars: nature, arts, and personality.
2. What do you love the most about Tuscany, and Tuscan cuisine?
Rather than being a fan of Tuscan cuisine, I’m in love with the bounty of produce that this land can offer. The land and the sea of this fantastic region are rich, and the ingredients you can get are endless.
"Rather than being a fan of Tuscan cuisine, I’m in love with the bounty of produce that this land can offer."
- Chef Alessandro Cozzolino
3. How did you discover your passion for cooking and nutrition?
My first approach to cooking was with my family, but honestly, I don't know precisely how my passion was born. I have simply always been attracted to good food and dining in general. Studying and gaining experiences in different cuisines over the past 15 years have refined my way of understanding cooking, making it healthier but at the same time attractive.
4. How has your research in nutritional biology influenced your craft?
Nutritional intake is essential to calibrate a multi-course menu for me. When I put together a new my goal is to impress the guests with technical preparations and distinct flavours, but I always want La Loggia menus to be nutritionally correct as well.
5. You have a little farm around the restaurant for your greens. Can you share with us some tips for growing and managing a personal farm?
This is a new project for me, and I'm still learning how to manage our little farm, so perhaps you can ask me this again in a few years. I consider myself lucky as at Villa San Michele we have a team of professional gardeners who help me take care of our vegetable garden and help me develop a plan for the vegetables and herbs to grow.
"I would like them to take home a beautiful memory of a gastronomic experience that speaks about the Tuscan territory, my story and the energy of my team."
- Chef Alessandro Cozzolino
6. What do you hope guests will walk away with after dining at La Loggia di Villa San Michele?
I would like them to take home a beautiful memory of a gastronomic experience that speaks about the Tuscan territory, my story and the energy of my team.
All imagery is provided by Lotus International.