With a sommelier father and a mother who loved cooking, Luca Pronzato was immersed in oenology and gastronomy as a child. His parents owned an Italian delicatessen in Paris and educated Luca in the art of good food. A few years of wine training later, a world wine tour and an experience at Noma, voted best restaurant in the world six times, Luca started his own business: We are ONA.
The concept behind this chef’s collective? To create ephemeral restaurants around the world, in hidden or unique places. The menus, each more succulent and innovative than the last, are created by young chefs and inspired by the culture of the country. Always fond of adventure, the restaurateur and culinary designer launched with his partner, whom he likes to describe as his « wine muse », a brand of canned wine called Canetta. A refreshing encounter.
Your first culinary memory?
« My mother’s homemade vegetarian lasagna. »
How did you start in the sommelier and restaurant business?
« I was immersed in the world of food and wine at a very early age. My parents owned a small Italian grocery store called Le Mille Patte in the first arrondissement of Paris. It was there, with my mother in the kitchen and my father specialized in wine, that I started to get interested in the sommelier profession.
When I was 18, I started my first experience in a restaurant-bar in Richelieu, Chez Alfred, which is now called Verjus. I learned a lot from his sommelier at the time. Then, I had the chance to work with Anselme and Guillaume Selosse of the Jacques Selosse champagne house.
Then I went on a world wine tour with the International Wine Organization with which I visited 30 countries in 11 months. Then I landed at Noma in Denmark, where I learned about customer relations and experience by working in service. »
Your beginnings in the ephemeral restoration?
« Well, it started at Noma. When I arrived, the restaurant was closing and another one was soon to open in Copenhagen. In the meantime, we set up an ephemeral restaurant in the jungle of Tulum in Mexico. It was a very inspiring experience for me. »
What made you decide to launch Ona?
« I really wanted to find another way to express myself creatively in the restaurant business. The classic model of a fixed restaurant was not challenging me enough, even though I love it. I found that traveling through different cultures and tastes was a really great concept. »
« Community, the community of our guests, and creating unique experiences. »
Why this name?
« It means wave in Catalan. It symbolizes the renewal of places and young talents in gastronomy. »
The city where you put your suitcases?
« Mexico City, in the Condesa hotel, where we launched a pop-up for three months. »
Your new project Canetta in a few words?
« It is a brand of natural wine vinified by young winemakers and put in cans that I created with my partner. The idea came to me to find a practical and friendly container for small consumption, especially to avoid waste. »
The inspirations behind Canetta?
« Italy of the seventies, the dolce vita, the south of France, the Riviera…
We were inspired by this shape of the Italian beach umbrella for the universe of this brand and the illustration of the cans. »
A cultural address to discover?
« Le Creux de L’Enfer. It’s a former prison transformed into an art center. »