Davide Oldani

Davide Oldani
a close-up of Davide Oldani

Davide Oldani

Known as the Cucina POP concept creator (which merges high quality and accessibility in the haute cuisine), Davide Oldani opened restaurant D'O, in 2003, in the province of Cornaredo (where he was born in 1967), Milan, which placed him in a select group of the greatest chefs of contemporary food scene. His deeply attention to every detail in a meal, from the cooking itself to affordability, made him one of the most creative and acclaimed Italian chefs and one of the most fascinating thinkers in the Italian food nowadays. He goes further in creating a culinary experience that includes designing objects which makes guest’s stay even more pleasant.

In his restaurant, he cooks his signature recipes including a caramelised onion with 20-months aged Grana Padano and his iconic lettuce ice-cream dessert, served with cocoa crumble and lemon meringue, working with affordable ingredients and refined kitchen techniques.

Before opening his own restaurant, the former soccer player worked with many acclaimed chefs such as Gualtiero Marchesi, Alain Ducasse, and Pierre Hermé. To carry out his work of popularizing gastronomy, he ventured as a designer to develop tables, chairs, dishes, tableware (like a “fork-spoon”, a mix of the two cutlery) and glassware inspired by the POP cuisine philosophy: simple, functional, elegant and from his keen observation of his guests and their habits. His design pieces are also sustainable, he made tables out of elm wood which is locally available, for example.

In 2013 he was invited to Harvard Business School to share his experience as an entrepreneur following the case history of D'O, which was then published in the Harvard Business School Review. The restaurant was also recognized with a Michelin star, one year after opened. The Italian chef is a self-taught, successful businessman. His entrepreneurial spirit led him to become his own manager and build a personal brand in the gastronomy scene. His accolades derive not only from his system's effectiveness, one that lists all the cooking ingredients and their percentage of waste, but the quality of the work being done in his kitchen.

Oldani's success recipe is to build human relations with customers, suppliers and staff, add value and passion to the work inside the restaurant - from the kitchen to the room. Although at first sight the main ingredient appears to be merely “cutting down costs”, preventing staff turnover and waste of ingredients, picking a lower-cost location, setting and decor, it goes hand in hand with many other aspects such as better paid and flexible staff, long holidays, fidelity of suppliers, in-season ingredients, more resistant glasses and flatware, and obviously affordable prices on the menu to attract customers to a Michelin-starred venue.

Following its concept of making gastronomy more accessible, in 2014 he opened Davide Oldani Cafè in the new luxury Piazza at Malpensa Airport, Milan. The following year, he was appointed the Ambassador of Expo 2015, which took place in Milan, and which focused on solutions to nourish people and sustain the planet.

In 2016 he inaugurated FOO'D restaurant in Manila and a new branch of the same concept in Singapore one year later - his first ventures outside of Italy. Oldani was also host on the show The Chef, and collaborates with magazines and newspapers in Italy.