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Felix Lo Basso: Rediscovering Lost Flavours

A Master Chef's Elegant Ode to Beauty, Tradition, Kilometro Italia, and finding forgotten flavours.


By GIOVANNA G. BONOMO

June, 2024



Felix Lo Basso at his Restaurant in Milan

Taste has power. A salient power that evokes our past, maps our path, and connects us to who we are at our core. In fact, it was Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Carl Jung who said, “In the realm of the senses, smell and taste are the silent workers of our memory and emotion, shaping our experiences and connecting us to the deepest recesses of our being.”


The story of Felice Lo Basso, one of the world’s top 100 chefs,  celebrated for his sensitivity,  culinary prowess, and artistic flair has captivated the hearts, minds, and palates of connoisseurs and true gourmets in search of meaning and tradition. In 2020, when the hospitality industry was on its knees,  Lo Basso felt it was time to  reshape the concept of hospitality with the launch of Felix Lo Basso Home & Restaurant in Milan—not like his other typical Michelin Star dining establishments, but a home where guests are welcomed into the heart of the culinary experience.


In Lo Basso’s world, taste is king, the kitchen is a theatre, and you are not just a guest but a vital part of the dynamic scene unfolding. But first, let’s look to the gorilla...


Felix Lo Basso preparing a gourmet dish

Born in the coastal town of Molfetta in Puglia, Felice Lo Basso embarked on his culinary odyssey by honing his skills in renowned gourmet restaurants both in Italy and abroad. His dedication and talent were recognized in 2011 when he was awarded his first coveted Michelin star.


With a refined style that effortlessly balances creativity and exploration, Felice Lo Basso places quality and respect for ingredients at the core of his philosophy. His culinary influences shaped by both mountains and sea inspire his cuisine, driven by a passion for sourcing top-quality ingredients, experimenting with flavours, and playing with forms and colours.


Despite his experiences throughout Europe, Asia, and North America, Felice Lo Basso has always kept the essence of Puglia alive in every dish he creates. In 2016, he unveiled Felix Lo Basso Restaurant in Piazza Duomo, Milan, followed by the evocative Memorie di Felix Lo Basso Restaurant in Trani in 2018, both swiftly earning the prestigious Michelin star.


In 2020, when the hospitality industry was at its lowest point, Lo Basso reshaped the concept of hospitality with the launch of Felix Lo Basso Home & Restaurant in Milan—not just a dining establishment, but a home where guests are welcomed into the heart of the culinary experience. Upon entering, visitors traverse through the living room to reach the grand kitchen, where Chef Lo Basso has reinvented the art of hospitality, fostering dialogue and creating a more profound experience for each guest.


beautiful colourful  Michelin star dish
Alici in Carpione

Lo Basso's refreshing concept breaks down barriers between guests and Chef, encouraging conversation while his culinary artistry unfolds in the preparation and presentation of an ever-evolving tasting menu.



 

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Seating is available for 12 guests at the counter, arranged around Chef Lo Basso’s workspace, transforming his realm into a captivating stage. It’s an invitation for guests to become active participants in the culinary performance, where each creation delights the eye and tantalizes the senses.


Felix Lo Basso preparing a beautiful dish

GIOVANNA: Everything you make is a work of art. Who are your artistic inspirations?


F.L: I don’t have any major inspirations in the sense that I have never had any ideals, or have mainly worked with great masters. However, I have always had this photographic vision of comparing myself with the greats of the kitchen, such as Gualtiero Marchesi and Alain Ducasse. In fact, I also did an internship at Bouchon Lyonnais because I liked his style. I define myself more as an esteta than an artist. I have always been passionate about motorbikes, yachts, luxury hotels since I was a child. I am a person who loves to travel a lot, especially in Asia and America. Honestly, it’s my childhood character that has given me the opportunity, or continues to give me the opportunity, to create something similar in the kitchen. So, I put all my love, all my desire for life, everything that is beautiful, into my dishes. This is a bit of a description of who I am.





What is your highest philosophy and how do you apply it in the kitchen ?


F.L: Ritrovare il gusto dimenticatoRediscovering forgotten flavours is at the heart of my philosophy. By paying homage to traditional recipes and techniques while infusing them with my own creative flair, I invite diners on a journey of taste and discovery that transcends borders and time. Passion, valuing raw materials, respecting seasonality, and undoubtedly taste creates cuisine that is simple but at the same time innovative.


Everyone talks about kilometro zero, but you are a proponent of kilometro italia, what does this mean?


F.L: That there are certain regions in Italy that do not have the opportunity to have zero-kilometre products, so I prefer "Kilometro Italia" because each Italian region has its own quality products.


Michelin Star gourmet dish
Cappuccio di Asparagi, Arachidi, e Liquirizia

You exude perfection in every dish. Can you share a specific failure that resulted in

a breakthrough idea?


F.L: Once, during an important dinner, one of my staff accidentally switched a sweet cream with a salty cream in an appetizer, and surprisingly, everyone complimented the beautiful pairing.


In a world where food trends are constantly evolving, how do you stay true to your roots?


F.L: By sometimes taking a step back and revisiting traditional dishes, simplifying their flavours and techniques, without neglecting their origins.

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