The notion that all Italians are inherently great cooks is a misnomer.
This is something Luca Guiotto likes to point out whenever he’s asked about his memories of growing up in Italy.
“My mum was a terrible cook,” he laughs.
“She used to forget the salt when cooking pasta. You use salty water, that’s a basic, but she would always forget to put it in.”
Luckily, Guiotto was exposed to traditional Italian cooking through his nonna, who was employed as a home cook for a wealthy local family in Vicenza, an hour from Venice.
“My nonna was actually a very good cook,” Guiotto says.
“My father isn’t a chef but if he cooks something for you, he does it with love, and I remember I could taste that love and the extra work he put into the dishes on a daily basis.”
Raised in Vincenza, Guiotto says he chose to study cooking out of necessity, as enrolling in the course was relatively easy for him at the time. He quickly discovered he’d made the right career choice, finding a passion for the industry and ending up in Michelin-starred venues.
“They trained me pretty well and pretty hard in the beginning. I learned the basics very well, and from there I worked overseas in Switzerland, France, and Australia.”
Guiotto is a pasta expert and has previously run popular pasta-making classes in Sydney, where he has worked for the past nine years. He has worked in Sydney kitchens such as A Tavola and, most recently, Mister Percy, the restaurant within the Sydney Ovolo 1888 Hotel.
Since moving to Adelaide with his family over a month ago, Guiotto has been appointed as Head Chef at iTL – the destination Italian restaurant within SkyCity’s $330 million expansion, opening this November.
One of four restaurants to open within the new building, iTL will adjoin the Festival Plaza with an expansive 200-seat restaurant across indoor and outdoor spaces.
An open kitchen will form the centrepiece of the restaurant, with two pizza ovens creating a sense of warmth and theatre — a high-energy attraction for customers on the way to or from the Riverbank Precinct, stopping in for a meal after an AFL game or a performance at the Festival Theatre.
The restaurant’s location also has a lot going for it, with alfresco dining offering views of Linear Park and Adelaide Oval.
SkyCity has also announced plans for a Pirate Life microbrewery inside the casino’s level one redevelopment.
While the service and food are touted as top-notch, Guiotto describes iTL as a casual and welcoming venue, not “overly expensive or fancy”.
The menu will feature wood-fired pizza, freshly made pasta, a selection of starters, and house-made ice cream.
“I’m very happy with the menu,” Guiotto says.
“It is going to be a mix of classic Italian and twists on my signature dishes that I’ve done before. When I cook, I want to see personality in every single dish.
“You’re going to find some different flavours; for example, pasta infused with capsicum or paprika. Once everything is settled, the menu will evolve and maybe take a bit of a different direction.”
Luca is known for doing Italian food his way. When opening Mister Percy, he was given a blank canvas to work with and turned the venue into a success.
“This is a big, ambitious project, and I’m very happy to be part of it. It’s quite a challenge to bring it all together,” he says.
Although South Australia is new to him, our produce isn’t — much of what he was using in his kitchen in Sydney came from South Australia. He’s excited to now be plating up South Australian produce for Adelaide diners.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing people at the restaurant to meet me in person and experience what we do.”
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