Gio Osso of Virtù on His Favorite Local Restaurants and What Kind of Chef He Might Be
Buchanan Gio Osso at Virtù
Virtù Honest Craft
3701 North Marshall Way, Scottsdale
This is part one of my interview with Gio Osso, chef-owner of the brand new Virtù Honest Craft in Scottsdale. Come back tomorrow when Osso dishes about Fred and Jennifer Unger, Beau Mac, and the notion of farm-to-table.
It's opening day at Virtù Honest Craft, and Gio Osso is feeling pretty good, despite what he describes as the previous evening's "cluster" for Friends and Family night. According to Osso, nearly everything that could go wrong did, but then, that's the point of F&F anyway, getting at least one or two of the kinks worked out before officially opening the doors.
Buchanan Osso and Spotleson looking remarkably relaxed
You'd think the guy would be in a mild panic, but he's relaxed -- even expansive -- as he tells me stories about his Italian family, his intimate relationship with food, and his career, which has taken enough twists and turns to put a weaker man in an endless downward spiral. But all the disappointments and dreams deferred have led to this -- Gio Osso's very own food in his very own place. He describes the ease with which he found the restaurant and a generous partner to back him as "a gift," and his wonder and gratitude about his good fortune are written right there on his face. It's Osso's time to shine, and he knows it, embraces it and comes at it like the hard-charger he naturally is, ready to work and play with equal fervor.
When I ask him where he grew up, he tells me "in that part of Italy that's called New Jersey," adding that his mother ("probably the best cook ever") didn't earn her citizenship until Osso was 8 or 9 years old. Italian was his first language, and as a child, he spent nearly every summer in Italy with his grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins on a farm on the southwest coast of Calabria. As early as he can remember, he liked to cook, and he spent many a summer day preparing lunches with his aunts in the kitchen.