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Q&A: Godi La Vita chef Federico Godi on his cult favourite melted cheese pasta

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At Godi La Vita on King William Road in Hyde Park, Federico Godi’s melted cheese-wheel pasta is legendary. The Forager speaks with Federico about how his upbringing in Florence shaped his passion for modern Italian cuisine.

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What are your favourite memories of growing up in Italy?

My family, Florentine culture, love of food, riding my Vespa through the hills and Sunday family lunches.

So, how did you come to live in Adelaide?

I was raised in Florence with my three younger siblings by very entrepreneurial yet traditional parents. As a result, it was my parents’ expectation of me, as the oldest, to take over the family textile business. Fast forward to having met my beautiful Australian wife Laurie and having two kids, we went to Australia for a holiday, but two months later we decided to stay. All this gave me the opportunity to start a new life in Australia through studying at Tafe while working in various restaurants.

How did you acquire a love of cooking and food?

We would sit at the family table every Sunday, overlooking the city of Florence with our relatives and guests. I have always been influenced by travelling and experiencing different cuisines around the world, all driven by the Florentine style of cooking.

Both of your sons are engineers. Were they ever interested in becoming chefs?

In part, we moved to Adelaide to give our sons the opportunity to learn English. We made sure to let them choose whatever career path they wished to follow. They love what they do, however, they do like to show off some of the recipes they’ve learnt to their friends.

Describe your cooking style…

I aim to surprise with simplicity with a fusion of flavours coming together. We also provide vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and dairy-free options.

What lead you to start your own restaurant, Godi La Vita?

I needed the opportunity to fully express myself, and establishing my own business gave me that chance. Godi la Vita means “to enjoy life” and fittingly, Godi is my surname.

Tell us about your signature cheese wheel dishes…

Our massive wheels of cheese are first set on fire and melted down. The pasta is bathed in the melted cheese before ending up on your plate. Three different cheeses are matched with three different pastas, and we also make all of our pasta in-house.

Federico Godi of Godi La Vita at Hyde Park.

How did you get by during COVID restrictions?

COVID-19 affected our business and our livelihood. We immediately turned to our takeaway, but that was not enough to pay bills. Fortunately, after reopening, we were completely booked out. People were positive and could not wait to get out and come back to support us, although COVID still affects our capacity numbers.

I think we are in a better place than other states and if we keep respecting the guidelines hopefully we will go back to normal soon. We certainly have not stopped because of COVID, creating our new wine, lunch and dinner menu, which is out this week on our tables. This is our tasty Italiana tapas selection, bringing different regions of Italy to the table.

We are embracing all the positive attitudes and people have been very considerate in accepting the new COVID guidelines that are in place.

Do you have any other talents outside of the kitchen?

I am a fourth Dan black belt in karate after 20 years of training.

Happiness is?

Doing what I love every day.

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