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Meet The Team Behind Il Cudega
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Meet The Team Behind Il Cudega

Picture of Ellie Griffiths
Updated: 30 November 2016
Do you want to enjoy Italian dishes in glorious Hackney? The recent opening of il Cudega has seen a fresh perspective of Italian cuisine brought to London Fields, direct from Italy’s most northern point, Lombardy. Italian-born Giovanni Brighi and Luca Gaggioli, teamed up with head chef Paolo Elesbani, to create an experience you will never forget. We caught up with them to give you an insight into the Lombardy-spirited team.

TCT: What is the most unusual request you’ve had for a dish?

Giovanni: Paolo used to run a snake breeding company (mainly pythons and boas that could reach up to 3 metres in length and 10 kilograms in weight). Many people, once they knew that Paolo was a chef, would ask if it was possible to have the serpents cooked (especially the most colourful ones). Of course it never happened, as Paolo loves animals.

TCT: What advice would you give to someone who was trying to break into the business?

Giovanni: Considering what has happened to us so far, we would say: ‘expect both the worst and the best of times.’

TCT: What’s next for the team and/or restaurant?

Giovanni: Our aim is to establish a new standard in Italian gastronomy in London (and soon maybe abroad too), delivering with immense passion the real experience you can usually only get in Italy from your mother or grandmother’s home cooking.

TCT: What would your last meal on earth be?

Giovanni: Focaccia con cipolla (onion focaccia) dipped in caffelatte (coffee with milk).

Paolo: Manzo all’ olio (beef cooked in oil) cooked in the style of my grandmother.

Luca: Risotto alle rane (risotto with frogs) cooked in the style of my grandmother.

TCT: If you opened up a fortune cookie what would it say?

Luca: ‘You will make someone very happy today.’

TCT: How would you describe il Cudega in 80 characters?

Giovanni: il Cudega is first of all a thought in the head of a few people passionate about the good food and wine of the Italian land of Lombardy. These people are committed to research, choose and promote the local produce, recipes and dishes. Through the expert use of the raw materials and the timeless recipes and techniques, they are able to select, transform and offer to the world what comes from the land of Lombardy.

Vacation in Hawaii or Alaska? Hawaii.

Facebook or Twitter? Instagram.

Disney or Brothers Grimm? Brothers Grimm.

The Starry Night or Guernica? The Starry Night.

Pasta or pizza? Pasta.

Red or white wine? Red wine (from Lombardy of course).

il Cudega, Railway Arch, 358 Westgate St, London, UK