Bros’ in Lecce, Puglia was named ‘The Best Contemporary Restaurant in Italy’ at the Love Italian Life 2019 Awards at a ceremony in Dublin, Ireland.
At just 29 and 24 years of age, Floriano Pellegrino and Isabella Potì are the Chef Co-Owners of Bros'. Floriano’s culinary experience includes stints at Noma in Copenhagen and Claude Bosi in London. Isabella developed her sous chef and pastry skill experiences with chef Claude Bosi in London as well as with Basque chefs Martín Berasategui and Paco Torreblancas. In 2017 they were both included in the Forbes list of the top 100 talents under 30 in Europe.
What does it mean to you to know that you have just won The Best Contemporary Restaurant in Italy 2019 category?
It means having the awareness of working hard every day as we have taken a long ride but in a short time. It means putting this work above everything and making the effort. We’ve never felt that there should be any differences between men and women, between who’s stronger and who’s not. We always struggle for our goals so it is incredibly gratifying to know that, in some part, we already achieved them.
What are the ingredients that make a restaurant truly contemporary in Italy today?
It is all about knowing exactly what you’ve got to do. Having a strong aptitude and a big self-denial inclination is also very important. Italy is full of everything and the gourmet world sometimes is overestimated. We did not start Bros’ to make a difference from the other restaurants. We did it to represent exactly what we are: young, strong outside the box thinkers.
What exactly inspired Floriano Pellegrino and Isabella Potì to be passionate about food and become chefs?
We had been walking on two different paths, crossing each other eventually and meeting at the same point. I was born in a family tied to food, hospitality and dining. I didn’t know any other way to live apart from cooking and creating in my own unique style. Isabella strengthened her awareness through her studies. We both worked in the best Michelin starred restaurants around the world. Since that moment, we both knew exactly what we wanted to do.
How would you describe ‘Pugliese’ cuisine to a person visiting your region for the first time?
We deal with Salento and Lecce. By staying in our territory it means experiencing a slow life made of genuine and tasty food. We are surrounded by a magical sea and embrace the amazing countryside which provides us with wonderful ingredients. People here are always friendly and welcoming – they are funny and always ready to tell their stories.
How would you sum up the dining experience at Bros’?
That’s Hard! Bros’ always aims to put your taste buds through the wringer. We are also very aware that our cuisine is not for everyone and is why we create a fine crack between lovers and haters. To us, it is a victory in each case because creating debates has always been natural as well as a bit funny!
The Love Italian Life Awards are held annually to recognise the best Italian restaurants in Italy and in Europe. See the full list of winners below.
Best Contemporary Restaurant in Italy: Bros’
Italian Lifetime Achievement: Francesco Mazzei
Best Female Italian Chef in Europe: Chiara Pavan
Best Male Italian Chef in Europe: Davide Oldani
Best Authentic Italian Restaurant in London : Sartoria
Best Authentic Italian Restaurant in Dublin: I Monelli
Best Contemporary Restaurant in Abruzzo: Magione Papale
Best Contemporary Restaurant in Aosta Valley: Vecchio Ristoro
Best Contemporary Restaurant in Calabria: Qafiz
Best Contemporary Restaurant in Campania: President
Best Contemporary Restaurant in Emilia-Romagna: Inkiostro
Best Contemporary Restaurant in Friuli-Venezia Giulia: Osteria Altran
Best Contemporary Restaurant in Lazio: La Pergola
Best Contemporary Restaurant in Liguria: Claudio
Best Contemporary Restaurant in Lombardy: Berton
Best Contemporary Restaurant in Piedmont: Christian e Manuel
Best Contemporary Restaurant in Sardinia: ConFusion
Best Contemporary Restaurant in Sicily: Bye Bye Blues
Best Contemporary Restaurant in Marche: Andreina
Best Contemporary Restaurant in Trentino-Alto Adige: Locanda Margon
Best Contemporary Restaurant in Tuscany: Borgo San Jacopo
Best Contemporary Restaurant in Umbria: Vespasia
Best Contemporary Restaurant in Veneto: Venissa