Obicà Sunset hosted LA’s first live “aperitivo” recently at their Sunset Blvd. location. “Obicà” is Italian for: Here it is! Something that is created right before your eyes, made ready to eat. They take classic Italian products of centuries of tradition, and present them in “an uncompromising contemporary style.”
The aperitivo celebrated Obicà’s new ‘food to share’ menu, created by internationally renowned Italian Chef Alessandro Borghese. Chef Borghese developed the brand new menu of shared Italian plates for Obicà.
Chef Borghese flew into town from Milan for just one night only to showcase the brand-new menu centered around ‘food to share” at Obicà Sunset. This new casual Italian concept featured authentic Italian small plates paired with wine, Italian margaritas, and other handcrafted cocktails.
Alessandro Borghese is an innovative and eclectic chef with extensive experience in San Francisco, New York, London, Paris, Copenhagen, Rome and Milan. Borghese’s creative and generous cuisine, satisfies the taste of who those who love refinement without forgoing tradition. Obicà’s exact approach.
Chef Borghese talked a lot about the experience of shared plates which celebrate love and allows guests to try many bites and flavors. Obicà’s menu, ambiance, and dining experience deeply embodies food as love. In the dialect of Napoli, Obicà means right before your eyes, like a freshly made Mozzarella, still dripping from its brine and ready to be eaten.
I had a chance to chat with Chef Borghese to gain more insight into the celebrated Italian chef:
LATP: Tell me about your background of becoming a chef?
Chef Borghese: Worked on cruise liners at the age of 17 at the kitchen. I wanted to do a job that was manual. Was on the cruise ships 3 years then traveled all around the the world. Then I went back to San Francisco, then New York then London and fell in love with a ballerina. Then when I was 26 or 27, I was considering to move to China to be a reality star on an Italian show on the Discovery Channel. I ended up doing a TV show and it’s been 14 or 15 years doing TV shows in Italy. Then I opened up various restaurants, catering companies, pasta stores, and so on and so on.
LATP: What are some of the creative ways you create Italian shared plates?
Chef Borghese: From South Italy to Rome where I used to live we would sit down on the table everyone would bring an item potluck style and we would have conversion. Little bit of this, little bit of that. It gives us a chance to talk about the food and enjoy. Even historically leftover food served and still serves as a shared Italian plate the next day. I went around and saw people sitting at a table looking at their own dish. This is not food to share. This is me eating my dish, and I said, OK, I need to give this a twist. Food is an act of love you are giving yourself to somebody. It’s an experience. My philosophy of my company is the luxury of simplicity.
LATP: Was there particular cultural differences with respect to the dynamics of how chefs work in the kitchen?
Chef Borghese: Italy is very individualist big egos (Chefs usually have big egos) in America I learned “us”. You reach things working in a group. The very important Italian based chefs I’ve worked with were amazing. My mentors taught me discipline and how to use colors, shapes, and visualization to deliver beautiful meals. I’ve had many many Italian based mentors.
LATP: Mozzarella Di Fula is one of your favorite ingredients. Why is that?
Chef Borghese: Italy has more cheese than france, the most famous being mozzarella and parmigiana. My father who came from Naples is the first person who taught me how to cook. I would wake up Sundays with my father telling me “Alejandro Ragu has to think.” He would take mozzarella out of lukewarm water (it isn’t supposed to be in the fridge) and would serve it on the table. It basically comes from a kid’s memory from his father.
Obicà Mozzarella Bar is a casual Italian restaurant concept based on best Mozzarella di Bufala Campana, together with traditional Italian recipes and high-quality Italian handmade products, prepared “in sight” and served by drawing inspiration from traditional sushi bars.
The first OBICÀ Mozzarella Bar was opened May 2004 where Silvio Ursini, President of the Group, launched it. The New York Times even said that Obicà is “Rome’s and probably history’s first Mozzarella Bar”. Obicà focuses on: serving good, clean, and fair food. Aside from sourcing authentic ingredients from Italy Obicà also is committed to local & fresh ingredients.
Obicà was also awarded two out of three stars by the Green Restaurant Association for their commitment to non-toxic cleaning products, efficient use of energy, and water conservation. Obicà’s contemporary style, commitment to tradition, and Mozzarella di Bufala Campana DOP (the best Mozzarella money can buy) are some reasons Obicà is so successful. The Mozzarella di Bufala is made from water buffalo milk and is made only by certain certified dairies located between the Greco Roman city of Paestum, South East of Naples, and Agro Pontino, an area of former marshland in the Lazio region.
Obicà Mozzarella Bar is found in 3 locations in the Los Angeles area: The Sunset Blvd. location, Century City and Santa Monica.
View Obica’s menu HERE