As we emerge, albeit cautiously, from the Covid19 pandemic, what has impressed upon us most is how interconnected we all are. Being Italian, the importance of community is ingrained in who we are and, as we watched the situation unfold in Italy, our heartbreak was doubled. We witnessed the suffering there and then here were directly impacted by the sudden stop of our entire industry. So, that concept of community – that interconnectedness – hit home hard. It transcends local. It transcends national. We’re now irrevocably aware of our connectedness on a global scale.
The pandemic has been like the proverbial rock thrown in water that created a major disruption followed by ripples of aftermath that have begun to cripple our food system. Small business farmers and producers, in the U.S. and our native Italy, were struggling prior to the pandemic. Now their outlook for survival is bleak and we can’t ignore this. They are part of the complex and global ecosystem that exists for Toscana Divino Hospitality Group and links clients, team members and distributors and suppliers from around the world. Our choices fuel that ecosystem.
While our Executive Chef Andrea Marchesin has long been a proponent of farm-to-table and sustainable food, we’re now consciously with intention escalating that commitment. This provides a lifeline for agriculture that, in turn, guarantees the food we serve is not just delicious, but contributes to our clients overall health. The Mediterranean Cuisine is already among the world’s healthiest; we’ve just taken it up a notch.
Chef Andrea penned this letter explaining his philosophy and our renewed commitment to sustainability.
Dear Team, Clients and Partners,
I’ve been reading a lot, listening to mentors and studying and researching and now I’m ready to evolve. I’d like to explain how the Covid-19 pandemic has led Toscana Divino Hospitality Group to transform our landmark Miami restaurant for the better.
Tommaso Morelato, founder and the soul of our restaurant group, and I have been intensively brainstorming and discussing different viewpoints in order to devise a decisive strategy for our future that hinges on our awareness of the human impact of our business practices. A decision taken today can define our path and the wellness of our community tomorrow.
The situation we’ve been through and in which we are still immersed has deeply touched all of us, even if in different manners. The lucky ones used this time to relax and enjoy the break from an intense routine that was becoming sometimes unbearable. Many others, however, experienced serious difficulties, such as financial issues, health conditions and family problems.
We have all faced adversities. We know the feeling. Now, we all need to aspire toward a new beginning.
I come from Italy, a wonderful country that — from the cold Alps to the warm Mediterranean Sea – is full of natural and diverse beauty, art and history. At Toscana Divino Hospitality Group, we are proud of our connection to one of the most beautiful territories in the world.
We have been through wars, natural disasters, earthquakes, tornados and floods. Yet we always found the way to start over. Together. And we will find it this time, too. We will find the strength to emerge from this situation better than before.
Tuscany, the land from which we took inspiration, is an admired region of artisans. It is from there we learned how to work with our hands and create unique crafts. Tuscany is the territory in which a simple piece of leather can become a handcrafted pair of shoes, where fabric can be tailored into a suit for the most important day of your life, where a cut of beef, like La Fiorentina, can become the flagship dish of a city, from where the most humble vegetable, like the Tuscan black kale, can be used and appreciated around the world.
There are plenty of small realities that are producing excellence in Italy and also in this incredible territory that is South Florida. Toscana Divino wants to represent them at their best in a fine dining interpretation.
I believe that we have to begin caring more about the people we love, the environment we live in, the water we consume without consideration and the hunger around us and in the world. In other words, we need to take responsibility for the world we leave future generations.
I personally think chefs, restaurateurs and all those working in hospitality need to lead the change with full determination. We believe that change is possible and we want to be on the frontlines. At Toscana Divino we choose to share our desire and determination to change because sharing is an act of love. We share because we care and because we love what we do.
We want to share our way of thinking and collective and cumulative experience in our field to positively influence the community, our hardworking staff and our beloved customers, so that everyone benefits and has a truly memorable experience.
We have always served the highest quality of food, locally sourced and organic when possible, but now we commit even more deeply to sourcing more consciously and ethically with keen attention to reduce waste and recycle as much as we can. We choose to use the best ingredients because they are the foundation of our Italian gastronomical heritage. Simplicity at its best.
It’s now the moment to reconsider, with this in mind, the fine dining experience, like the classic dishes of our regional Italian cuisine. Toscana Divino always based its innovation on the pillars of tradition: our Tiramisù, the Carbonara di Mare, our Vitello Tonnato, and many other examples have become staples of our restaurant.
I think that now more than ever, fine dining will rediscover the pleasure of humble local ingredients from the soil of our farms, the waters of our coasts and lakes, the natural and humanely raised animals. We will commit further to sourcing from our imperiled smaller specialized and family farms.
We intend to use more seasonal ingredients to address the difficulties that our farmers face during summer and we can help them only if we use their products during the good season. Local sourcing is something that can have an enormous impact on the quality of our lives: less transportation for a fresher product, better air quality and less packaging, which means that we can use recycled or organic containers that produce less waste. How much we all have to gain…
We will further reduce waste with creative dishes that use all the parts of the animals. We’ll continue to serve the favored filet mignon, but why should we not also serve different cuts of beef, less commercial and surprisingly tasteful? We consciously acknowledge that this is also an act of respect to the animal. Imagine buying different parts of a cow from a small local producer, which has been raised in free pasture, grass fed and with nothing that pushes her life cycle. It will taste better. It will positively impact your health and the health of your guests.
The dining room will play a leading role in that and will be guided by a truly Tuscan professional, Francesco Giovannelli, our restaurant manager. Our warm and professional wait staff will meet all the expectations of making the experience unique and we fear no rivals in it.
To conclude my thoughts, I’m ready and enthusiastic to provide a memorable new experience at Toscana Divino. We will take good care of you by sharing our passion through food, wine and heritage.
Food is the foundation of life. In the end, we are what we eat.
I’ll see you soon, Andrea Marchesin