Spasso is all about 'Only Good Food'
I met with the new owner of Spasso, Chef Gaetano Ascione, who has taken over the Calamari space at 3540 Main Highway. He is back in town after spending five years in Chicago at Gioco Restaurant, which he turned into a Michelin rated hot spot from its former self. He is familiar here in Coconut Grove for being associated with La Bottega in the Grove and in Coral Gables where he had his Gaetano Ristorante in the Hotel St. Michel in 2008.
|Chef Gaetano Ascione|
The dining room is basically the same, too, they plan on painting and doing a few things here and there, but there is no major reconstruction. It's all about the food at Spasso.
Gaetano would not be specific about the menu, he wants to keep that under wraps until opening (maybe in a week, maybe more), but he says it will all be authentic Italian food, all from the original source and the original recipe. When I asked him what type of food he would be serving exactly, he said, "Only good food!"
If you order spaghetti with marinara sauce, the sauce is not some new fangled sauce, it is the sauce created 300 years ago! Most of the food is gluten free as there is a lot of meat - all from Chicago; items like veal, dry aged beef and lamb.
Gaetano, who has a wife named Lia, and three children, is a native of Naples, Italy, he began his culinary career in 1970 with a degree in Hotel Training from State Professional Hotel Management Institute in Salerno, Italy. He immediately started working as a Chef de Partie in Italy and continued onto Germany, England and the Bahamas. He served two presidents - Carter and Reagan. This citizen of the world speaks five languages - Italian, English, Spanish, German and French. He has a Master's Degree in Hotel Training.
In 2001, he was a finalist for "The Chef Of the Year" for The World Gourmet Summit in
Singapore and he served as a Consultant to Taj- Mahal Group of Hotel in India, Hilton Seoul in South Korea, Marchese Piero Antinori of Antinori Winery in Florence, Italy.
One of his prized possessions, he told me, is an autographed photo of himself with Nelson Mandela, he cooked for Mr. Mandela, too.
We're looking forward to trying Gaetano's food. We'll keep you posted on when the opening day will be.
Spasso is an Italian word that means enjoyment, entertainment, amusement.
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