Pave' | Milan
Three cool dudes with great design sense and sweet talent, the owners and pastry chefs of Pavè bakery in Milan are no ordinary “sugar daddies.”
Long time friends and world travellers, Diego Bamberghi, Giovanni Giberti, and Luca Scanni have created a wonderland of vintage lounge chairs and communal tables that transmit a New York or San Francisco vibe but with pastries that are all Italian.
Meeting Giovanni at the shop, I wore a structured skirt and top by Agatha Ruiz de la Prada with a bold geometric print, and make-up done with subtle gold and green accents. Good structure is the secret to success at Pave' (or anywhere for that matter) from the way the guys work together, to the product packaging, to the traditional and perfectly modern pastries. These are some of the first names you’ll want to know when you looking back someday at who helped modernize Milan’s food scene.
So if you want to know how to work with your friends and look cool doing it, these are the guys to talk to.
CGC: So how did you guys meet?
GIO: There are three partners now but, me (Giovanni Giberti) and Diego have known each other since when we were 8 years old, so a long time. We went to hoteling school together.
CGC: Oh? Where did you go?
GIO: Vespucci in Lambrate. Then we kind of went in different directions. I continued working in the kitchen while Diego went a more commercial route. When we met Luca, who played the drums in our friend’s band, we were around 18 years old and then in 2011, our paths crossed again. Anyway, we see each other all the time
CGC: So who has the best sense of humor between you guys?
GIO: For sure Luca, he’s always got a joke ready.
CGC: Who’s the most dramatic?
GIO: I am definitely the most dramatic, always unsatisfied. I see black.
CGC: A pessimist, then?
GIO: A little…but I changed!
CGC: Who’s the most sensitive?
GIO: In what way?
CGC: ...like who doesn’t like to play or joke around as much…
GIO: beh, Diego
CGC: What makes you guys a winning team?
GIO: Everyone has his own job. The fact that we have separate work stations, helps. In addition to being good friends we are set apart by our different perspectives. Knowing each other for so many years I know if someone is more sensitive, gets mad, or maybe doesn’t follow through (a problem we all have) but there is more friend-like way of bringing up a problem. There is a sensitive way of saying things that isn’t hurtful, and it is the extra attention that has kept us moving forward. We have a friendship to cultivate and maintain, it’s the first time that we opened a place, so I wasn’t sure we could do it, but we’re all learning and our approaches are different.
CGC: You guys have traveled a bit haven’t you?
GIO: I was in San Francisco for about a year-and-a-half, Luca was in Australia for about a year, and Diego, although he hasn’t traveled abroad, has had his experiences. It’s really important that we all know the different realities that exists outside of Milan, and we wanted to bring a small piece of that experience here.
CGC: What did you do in San Francisco?
GIO: I worked with Gary Rulli and it was an amazing experience, considering I had only worked one time in a bakery before as a cook in Italy. It was Pasticceria Besuschio in Abbiate Grasso, a historical bakery, but in a very modern setting. Instead with Gary I learned traditional Italian pastry, and so I got a diverse perspective. There is a ton of influence at Pavè from the places I saw in San Francisco that I never even knew existed and I would’ve never seen had I not gone there. They are very attentive with their coffee, flour, pizza, bread…crazy in America and really exciting.
CGC: Pave' is definitely an Italian bakery but on another level. How did you guys blend your experiences abroad with the Italian culture here?
GIO: Yes…and we wanted more than just a higher level. Milan is a very grey, individualistic
city, there is little variation. Apart from the furniture, we don’t have tables for two. It’s already set up that you’ve got to be next to someone you don’t know that could become an acquaintance after just a cup of coffee, and this is just one aspect that’s different than what exists in Milan. We looked to create a different kind of “welcome,” one that feels like you’re at home, so it’s not high-level in the formal sense, like if you’re going to Bulgari, but an “informal” high-level where you can drink a cup of coffee and have breakfast in 5 minutes or lunch if you want, and this is working.
CGC: So true! And why do you think this is working so well and that you guys are so well known, especially among the fashion crowd?
GIO: One of the many factors is that we opened at the right time, the city was fertile, after we opened, there was a bunch of other places that opened too and not all of them worked. We were good with our digital communication. Luca also takes care of this and he decided to use different forms of communication, from the store windows, to Facebook, to Twitter and our how-to videos on our YouTube channel. I don’t know, they’re all important to show that we’re cool ha ha…no look, we make pastry like they used to back in the day, in a way that is presented differently than what you see around in Milan, and the way the interior is designed, it all helps. But more than anything we make something to eat that is good, hopefully the best.
CGC: What is the hardest thing to do in pastry?
GIO: For sure the panettone. It is the most complicated and it requires three days of work.
CGC: What is the best chocolate, or which one do you use?
GIO: You can’t judge which is the best chocolate, in the sense, each one has its own taste. I use Valhrona, but in the end there is a ton of artisanal chocolate that behaves completely differently and that are really unique.
CGC: What’s the difference between being a pastry chef and a chef?
GIO: Oh well the work itself is really different, both for the type of work and the hours. A cook has to think about a dish that is going to stay perfect for 5 minutes then gets eaten, when you’re in a bakery you’ve got to figure out how to produce a lot more product, and it’s got to stay good for three months, like cookies for example, and a cake that going to spend all day in the pastry case, so it’s a totally different thought process.
CGC: Would you say that fashion and food go together?
GIO: Absolutely yes, like all of our packaging for our products has a very distinct design, we hooked up with a design studio with whom we’ve been working since the beginning, called XXL. They have been developing Pave’s image from the beginning, the colors, the design, they’ve always helped us with all of the graphics, and as a collaboration it’s really been amazing. They dedicated so much to us and we completely trust them. Normally clients want to tell a studio what to do but we gave them free rein and they have indulged us with work that is truly beautiful. From fabric patterns, designing the panettoni, t-shirts, all of the new packaging…
And the aprons? They are so cool, did they design these too?
GIO: Them again, yep. We had them put into production so you can actually buy them online as well.
Skirt & Top: Agatha Ruiz de la Prada
Editor-in-chief: Melissa Lupo
Photography: Simone Martucci
Styling: Michael Peter Dye
Make-up: Linda Cacciavillani
Production Coordinator: Camila Salles