Chef Aprea presents his haute cuisine project: an epicentre of flavours where the relationship between memories and taste is explored. Located in the heart of Porta Venezia – on the top floor of the new Art Museum of Luigi Rovati Foundation – the one Michelin star restaurant is joined by Caffè Bistrot, which overlooks an hidden garden.
Milan, April 2023 | The Michelin star chef Andrea Aprea, after his adventure as Executive Chef at the Vun Andrea Aprea restaurant, the first hotel restaurant in the history of Milan to receive a Michelin star, presents his first project as Chef Patron. The new Andrea Aprea Restaurant, takes place on the top floor of the new Art Museum of the Luigi Rovati Foundation in the heart of Milan at Corso Venezia 52. It presents a valuable collection of Etruscan objects and artefacts that engage in a dialogue with works of art from various eras and civilisations. The restaurant brings together, in an aesthetic setting of pure proportions, all the values of the gastronomic experience that Aprea has defined in his twenty years of research. The environment, designed by architect Flaviano Capriotti, is characterised by a space with great scenic impact, where a surprising window opens up to reveal a panoramic view of the Porta Venezia park and the city skyline.
The interiors develop the relationship between waiting and delivery of the gastronomic experience in a contemporary key, creating subtle sensory relationships with the new vocation of the Palazzo, the context of signs, the noble materials and the continuous dialogue with the site-specific artworks created by artists Andrea Sala and Mauro Ceolin.
“I am happy to be able to inaugurate this project, which for me is a dream come true. We have worked to create a place where space, time, sight and taste could be found in each other, to offer guests an emotional and sensory context of unprecedented strength and originality, – says Andrea Aprea. – All this would not have been possible without my team: a group of highly skilled professionals with great enthusiasm and passion. I would also like to thank the Luigi Rovati Foundation, with whom the dialogue has been a continuous source of inspiration.”
The restaurant spans 400 m2, divided into 210 m2 of dining room, private dining space, wine cellar, entrance hall and 190 m2 of kitchen. The space seats 36 diners, with eight tables arranged in the central hall, where the guests’ gaze meets the ineffable expressive linearity of the kitchen: completely on view.
The large central room of the restaurant is characterised by walls covered with bucchero, the characteristic black ceramic used by the Etruscans to make their vases. A spectacular circular chandelier in Murano glass and gold leaf, made to design, is the centrepiece, dialoguing with the inclined perspectives that make the entire space a sort of proscenium for watching haute cuisine at work.
A scenography of the senses, where guests come to experience the relationship with food, from the expectations created by the decor to sharing the gustatory consequences: in a dimension of continuous aesthetic surprise, between intimacy and completeness. Aprea’s cuisine, in fact, aims to trigger a process of exchange between the different locations of the experience – the memory, the sight, the sense of smell, the palate – in search of new experiences through which to define the flavour of contemporaneity. Concepts that we find in the three gastronomic itineraries offered to the public:
- Contemporaneità, a 5-course experience dedicated to the relationship between memory and innovation
- Partenope, a 6-course journey into the charms of the Campania region
- Signature, the ultimate, absolute experience of the chef’s philosophy in 8 courses.
The design of the gastronomic experience
Flaviano Capriotti has designed an aesthetic frame to contain and express Andrea Aprea’s gastronomic philosophy, providing a setting for its meanings, a background for expectations, and a context for the relationship between form and substance. The interior of the restaurant has been designed to create a path of discovery and surprise, in a continuous alternation of light and dark, as in the dialogue between the black bucchero surfaces and the long glass path, designed to give a sense of theatrical intensity to the space. The walls and ceiling of the central room run at an angle, directing the eye towards the open kitchen, the centre of the entire performance and the aesthetic counterpoint of the palatial experience. Scenic effects designed to foster surprise and amazement render the relationship between movement and unveiling of space in a sequence of gradual discoveries. The materials are pure, left in their natural state, without decoration or added colour; the textures are those of the original materials: wood, bucchero, plaster and stone.The project as a whole does not add frills or make concessions to affectation. The space remains intact, training the concentration on the experience of the senses, where the only protagonist must be the relationship between man and food, intimacy of taste and wonder of the gaze.
In the secret green courtyard of the building at Corso Venezia 52, Aprea is also opening Caffè Bistrot, based on an unprecedented concept for which he has redefined the canons of popular cuisine through a selection of great classics offered to the public in all their natural, original glory. A space capable of evoking the tradition of the cafeterias of cosmopolitan and bourgeois Milan in the early 20th century, with a rich variety of influences offered by matter and colour to frame a different way of understanding the relationship between time and food. The bistro revolves around an iconic semi-circular counter to showcase the fundamentals of Italian cuisine, from breakfast to dinner, with an offering capable of accommodating the desire for conviviality and good taste at any hour. The glassed-in space accommodates 22 guests, plus 12 more en plein air, in the outdoor area overlooking the Palace’s secret garden. The space – designed, like the restaurant, by architect Flaviano Capriotti – expresses the characteristic themes of the finest Milanese design tradition in a contemporary style, offering the Foundation’s guests and the city’s public a new place where beauty, nature, good taste and savoir faire can be combined.
A gastronomic philosophy between memory and innovation
Andrea Aprea’s cuisine sets out to trigger a process of exchange between the different locations of the experience: the memory, the sight, the sense of smell, the palate. Time is a fundamental ingredient of this journey through the senses. Because the chef’s greatest source of inspiration is memory: the emotions, the knowledge of the territory and the culture that has forged Italian cuisine. It is memory that creates a suspension of the present to accompany the guest into another temporal dimension. The gastronomic journey begins from the choice of the raw materials. The relationships between acidity, savouriness, bitterness and sweetness are the basis of the proposals on the menu, as are the formal and textural relationships of the food on the plate, precisely to allow an alternation of palatal vibrations: between soft, savoury, sour, sweet, slightly spicy, in a continuous dialogue between similar and contrasting flavours.
Andrea Aprea’s cuisine is based on his pursuit of new experiences through which to define the
flavour of contemporaneity. This is why Aprea prefers to devote himself to the theme of contemporaneity rather than to the concepts of innovation and modernity, defining it by combining technique with experience, emotion with culture, aesthetics with precision of gesture. Because if what we call tradition is nothing more than the present of our ancestors – a present that has deserved lasting attention, that has stood the test of time, of fashions, to become an absolute present and come down to us – contemporaneity, on the other hand, is the ability to interpret the spirit of one’s own time, and to build on it hypotheses for the future.
The wine list, consisting of 650 labels from all over the world, tells a story of transforming emotions into flavours, places and climate into olfactory notes. Selection is indeed a fundamental element of the experience. Not only in the nobility of great wineries, in the marks of the brands that make the history of fine wines, but also in small, rare gems that testify to stories of love for the land. The choice of wines and spirits is part of the journey of knowledge and discovery of territories and traditions. The guest is drawn to the slopes of hills and the summits of distant landscapes, entering into a relationship with the contents of the plate, dialoguing with the dishes and adding further levels of perception.
The collaboration with the artists of the Luigi Rovati Foundation
The link with the Luigi Rovati Foundation is manifested through the presence of works of art from
the Museum’s collection in the Restaurant and Caffè Bistrot spaces. Some of them have been created especially for these spaces. In particular, the tympanum facing the restaurant’s window hosts the work by artist Andrea Sala, “Il vestito di un riflesso”. The guest, when sitting at the table, will have the sensation of seeing a reflection: a series of terrazzo shapes that compose a landscape. In the bistro, Mauro Ceolin is the first protagonist of the project to promote Italian art developed by the Foundation in collaboration with the Chef. On the wall, the watercolour entitled ‘Entrare nel tempo, omaggio a L.R.’ will make way in future for other visual interpretations in the spirit of the Foundation.
Other works by artists Thomas Ruff, Mimmo Jodice, Giulio Paolini, and William Kentridge enrich the restaurant’s spaces.
Andrea Aprea: biography
Andrea Aprea brings to the Italian gastronomic scene the sense of a quest between memory and the present, anteriority and contemporaneity. Born in Naples, after years of training spent in some of the most important kitchens in Italy and abroad, he has chosen to develop his own personal poetic journey by defining a new sense of the relationship between food and the experience of the senses. Look and texture, appearance and substance are thus brought together in a renewed harmonious balance. From 2011 to 2021, he was Executive Chef at the Vun Andrea Aprea restaurant: the first hotel restaurant in the history of Milan to receive a Michelin star, in 2012. The second star arrived five years later, in 2017. Today, he is the Chef Patron of the “Andrea Aprea Restaurant” on the top floor of the Fondazione Luigi Rovati, at 52 Corso Venezia in Milan, which was awarded its first Michelin star just a few months after opening, in a splendid period building with a secret green courtyard.
The opening marks the start of Aprea’s entrepreneurial project, which returns to its public to continue the research path of always, and to define in one place a holistic approach that looks to the total quality of the experience.
Fondazione Luigi Rovati, established in 2016, is committed to the promotion and enhancement of cultural, artistic and historical heritage and is named after Professor Luigi Rovati – physician and entrepreneur, Cavaliere del Lavoro and Cavaliere di Gran Croce of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic. The Foundation brings together the long-standing entrepreneurial experience gained in the pharmaceutical sector with social responsibility initiatives focused on art, its educational and training activities and the contamination between art and health. The Foundation operates as an open, connecting system, carrying out initiatives in different disciplines and creating projects and interchanges with a strong innovative and socially useful value.