CHEF-PROPRIETOR Giorgio Nava is highly respected for his uncompromising quality and Milanese flair presented at his restaurants in Cape Town. His unflinching faithfulness to traditional north Italian cuisine using South African field-to-table provenance is legendary among the city’s restaurant-going fraternity; 2023 marks 20 years that Giorgio has shared his Italian culinary passion with Capetonians and the many visitors to the city over the years.
Launched in 2003, Giorgio’s first restaurant in Cape Town, the signature 95 Keerom, is set to reopen in October of this year. More to follow about this exciting and welcome news closer to the time.
Well known for his work ethic, and unerring commitment to quality ingredients to which the string of awards for best Italian restaurant garnered over the past two decades can attest, Giorgio is one of South Africa’s most successful chefs and restaurateurs. He has cooked alongside some of the finest chefs in the world at international food conferences and expos, such as Identita Golose and Expo Milano in Italy, Flemish Primitive in Belgium, and Seoul Gourmet in South Korea, and counts numerous Michelin chefs as his friends. In 2013 he triumphed on the international culinary stage as the winner of the World Pasta Championship of the Academia Barilla in Parma, and continues to be an ambassador of the academy. Giorgio also works as a consultant in various African countries, China, Japan and Dubai, as well as the USA with links to two impressive restaurant franchises in New York and Miami.
Taking his lead from classic Milanese cuisine, he has wowed Cape Town palates with authentic Italian cuisine since 2003. Giorgio was one of the first to introduce to South Africans a wide selection of fish and beef carpaccio, delicate handcrafted pastas as well as the decadent chocolate fondant. With the opening of Carné on Keerom in 2008, Giorgio pioneered a new approach to enjoying diverse prime cuts, allowing the meat to do the talking in the true Italian minimalist tradition. Carné on Keerom was a natural extension of his passion for Romagnola beef, Dorper lamb and venison sourced from the Karoo.
Giorgio’s South Africa story began in 1999, when he decided to make Cape Town his home with the idea of producing mozzarella. Despite creating a top quality product with the guidance of two cheese makers from Italy, the venture turned out to be ahead of its time. With a non-existing fresh cheese culture in South Africa, it was simply too early for mozzarella. Not one to be defeated, Giorgio soon came to realise that there was a real opportunity to establish a high quality Italian restaurant in Cape Town – and the rest is history.
Born in Milan in 1964, Giorgio’s passion for cooking began early and by his early 20s was working the kitchen coalface as a trainee alongside some of the finest Italian chefs. He completed his training as a Certified Master Chef of Italian Cuisine.
Currently, Giorgio is carefully reigniting his restaurant portfolio post the global pandemic by reopening 95 at Parks in Constantia, Carné on Keeroom (above) and Carné on Kloof, both in the city. Giorgio’s Caffé Milano Pasticceria & Bar has also found a new address at LOCAL on Heritage Square, making for an ideal city pitstop for a beautiful pastry and a great coffee.