Hospitality Business Magazine

Auckland’s Alla Prossima restaurant welcomes exceptional Italian chef Marangoni

Much-admired Italian chef, Gabriele Marangoni, is taking on the role of Executive Chef at Alla Prossima, a new restaurant specialising in Emiliano-Romagnola cuisine.

The restaurant sits inside Nigel McKenna’s Abstract Hotel in Upper Queen Street and will serve hotel guests as well as those who enjoy fresh and authentic hand-crafted Italian pasta and other dishes from the region surrounding Bologna.

Known as the beating heart of Italian cuisine, the Emilia-Romagna region is the home of Parmigiano Reggiano, sparkling Lambrusco wine, Modena balsamic vinegar and Prosciutto di Parma. It’s also where Gabriele was born and raised and where, working from a young age in his family’s restaurant in Bologna, he acquired a deep passion for the best and most authentic Italian cuisine.

He refined his culinary skills in Italian restaurants across Europe – in Vienna, Rotterdam and Strasbourg – then returned to Bologna to work in traditional Italian restaurants like Ciacco and Antica Trattoria dell Gigina before moving to New Zealand in 2016.

Known as the beating heart of Italian cuisine, the Emilia-Romagna region is the home of Parmigiano Reggiano, sparkling Lambrusco wine, Modena balsamic vinegar and Prosciutto di Parma, and, where Chef Gabriele Marangoni was born.

Marangoni is well known to Auckland’s diners as the culinary force behind Mt Eden’s Pasta & Cuore, where over eight years he developed a reputation for delivering simple, authentic Italian cuisine made with quality ingredients, passion and great artisanal skill. Now he’s bringing his passion and expertise to Upper Queen Street.

Says Gabriele: “Simplicity is a choice, but authenticity and integrity aren’t negotiable: discerning customers love to know the story behind what they are eating and where it comes from. Most of our products – the Prosciutto di Parma, Mortadella, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and balsamic vinegar, as well as the pasta we serve – are sourced from the Emilia-Romagna region, known as the land of slow-food and fast cars because the products have a very long aging time, thanks to a perfect microclimate which is difficult to reproduce anywhere else in the world.

“Our passion is to combine these products with fresh ingredients sourced from local suppliers, selecting the best of what New Zealand producers have to offer by way of vegetables and premium meats. Then, using techniques passed down through generations we prepare these with traditional flavours to create exceptionally delicious hand-crafted pasta dishes which celebrate the rich tradition of Italian cuisine.”

Nigel McKenna, Founder and Director of Templeton Group* and owner of Abstract Hotel, says Gabriele has seized the opportunity to express his own culinary vision at Alla Prossima: “This is not a hotel restaurant. It’s an amazing Italian restaurant with an exceptional chef. It just happens to be in a hotel, and we’re proud to be hosting it at Abstract.”

Nigel anticipates Marangoni’s reputation will help make Alla Prossima a dining destination, attracting customers from afar with outstanding food and rapidly becoming a cherished dining spot. “Gabriele has a large and loyal following who delight in the simplicity, freshness and authenticity of his cuisine. We’re confident that not only will they seek him out, but when they’ve enjoyed his new menu, they’ll continue to come back again and again. Hence the name: Alla Prossima – until next time.”

Gabriele’s exceptional cuisine has not only delighted customers, it has also consistently impressed judges and critics as is shown in the many awards he has achieved:

  • Gambero Rosso International Top Italian Restaurants “Two forks rating” 2022, 2023.
  • Metro Top 50 Best Restaurants 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021, 2022.
  • Metro Best dishes Winner 2021, 2023.
  • Slow Food Auckland Snail of Approval 2019.
  • Cuisine New Zealand Good Food Awards “One hat rating” 2017 & 2018.

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*Led by Nigel McKenna, Templeton is New Zealand’s leading private, non-listed property developer, with a multi-billion-dollar portfolio under development throughout New Zealand.