It’s almost undeniable learning how to cook is in the Italian blood, and Luca Ciano is no exception to that.
Born and raised in Milan, Italy, Ciano started cooking with his mum and nonna at the age of eight. This triggered the start of Ciano’s years of hard work in highly regarded kitchens including two Michelin star restaurant Il Luogo di Aimo e Nadia in Milan, London’s Millennium Gloucester Hotel, and Relais & Chateaux in Bermuda.
“The whole family is really into food so it was natural for me to have fallen in love with it,” he said.
Ciano moved to Australia during 2000 after meeting his wife. “It’s a bit of that same old love story; we went back and forth around the world for a while and then eventually Australia is home. We have a beautiful two-and-a-half-year-old daughter so we’re not going here anywhere anytime.”
Meanwhile, in the last eight years he was the executive chef for Barilla Pasta in Australia and Asia, but for Ciano, he wanted more, and decided to launch his own range of pasta sauces.
“It has been a long time wish. Growing up as a chef you always want a restaurant. I was very close in opening my own restaurant the last few years in making the mad move but that’s why I didn’t, it’s just too hard these days.
“But since because I had so many good relationships [from Barilla Pasta], I thought it was a bit of a no brainer,” he said, noting he made easy connections with retailers and distributors.
Ciano claims all of the sauces – caramelised onions and thyme; pumpkin and amaretti; fresh rocket, chilli, and celery sugo; and fresh basil sugo – are preservative and additive-free, and 100 percent natural, and unique in flavour, with the exception of fresh basil sugo. “Clearly that’s not unique,” he laughed.
He pointed out that he doesn’t compromise in the quality of his sauces, and produces only small batches – 160 kilogram to be exact. “In manufacturing terms that is nothing. Nothing is bypassed, the rocket and celery are all hand chopped, believe me nobody does that.”
“I have a manufacturer that does it for me, they charge me a good amount and that’s why it explains our prices, it’s a premium product, it’s done with a lot of authenticity.”
But when he’s not busy cooking up patches of sauces, Ciano is running his own consultancy business for international Italian food brands in Australia and Asia, which takes him to different parts of the world including China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.