Architecture, Food, and Hanging Ten in the Eternal City

By , Contributor

Duke's in Rome

Rome - the eternal city, and a city with never-ending trends that fascinate the world. Rome is famous for beautiful architecture that makes people gaze in awe at magnificent works like the Coliseum and the Vatican. Rome is also famous for food that will have you in awe as well. But what better way to evoke a hot trend than combining these two elements  - food and architecture - to provide an enveloping sensory experience?

I have been consulting with Italian architects to bring this Roman trend to my own restaurant in New York City. All attest to the fact that the point of combining food and architecture is to not only satisfy your appetite when you eat in a restaurant, but to involve all of your five senses. Not only do the materials used in the design of the restaurant contribute to the experience but the food is coordinated as well to create a complete dining experience.

One of the first restaurants in Rome to employ this concept is a restaurant that is located in the Parioli section of Rome (Viale Parioli), Duke's. Oddly enough, it is named after a legendary surfing champion, Duke Kahanamoku.

Duke's inside.jpgDuke's restaurant concept is to evoke the feeling of being on the beach in California as you are eating. So the restaurant is constructed with all natural elements - wood, glass, iron, nautical materials.

The food also plays an important part in this total experience and transmits the philosophy used in the design: a feeling of freshness (la freschezza), all natural, healthy, creative, with a sense of adventure - all the feelings that may be evoked on a California beach. The food served is, of course, seasonal (to continue the natural theme of the restaurant). All foods are prepared on site - breads, pastries, pasta - and are made from the freshest ingredients.

All foods are cooked in the most natural way possible, so that patrons can experience the quality and the freshness of all the ingredients used. The menu is organized according to the category "emotivo-gustativo" -- lightly translated, "emotion-taste" -- so that you wiDuke's Rome.jpgll be able to find a dish that will be in harmony with your feelings at that moment, all the more to continue making this an experience and an adventure.

People want more than just to eat at their local eatery: they want an experience, they want to be entertained. In this concept the food and the design provide the entertainment - a natural form of entertainment. You are entertained without realizing it. You become involved in an experience with your food.

What a small world we live in. We will be bringing this restaurant concept to New York using the elements, aromas, flavors, tastes, and sounds of Italy as our theme; and in Rome you can find a restaurant based on the experience of being on the beach in California (named after a Hawaiian surfer)!

Does anyone know how to say "hang ten" in Italian?

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Celebrity chef and award-winning author Maria Liberati is considered one of the foremost experts on Italian cuisine and culture in the United States. Winner of the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards for her best-selling recipe novel series The Basic Art of Italian Cooking and her blog. Maria divides her…

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