Umberto Bombana interviewed by Jean Charles Viens
Umberto Bombana tells JC Viens of his lockdown travels with stops in Zurich, London and Hong Kong. The two also discuss Bombana’s culinary mentoring alongside his son, and of course they get into wine tasting. Both based in Hong Kong, JC and Umberto have some perspective to share on quarantine lockdown measures. They have some experience with best practices at the airport, in public places, and also in restaurants. Umberto shares his optimism for the recovery of the restaurant industry and changes to life in Europe.
Umberto Bombana has created a highly personal project in 8 ½ Otto e Mezzo BOMBANA, a restaurant that reflects his philosophy, love for Italian cuisine, and search for precious ingredients from all over the world. With the help of his general manager, Danilo Nicoletti, Umberto dedicates himself completely to the goal of creating a welcoming and unique space that represents and enhances his cuisine. His restaurant received two Michelin stars shortly after opening and, in December 2011, a third star made 8 ½ Otto e Mezzo BOMBANA the first and only Italian restaurant abroad with three Michelin stars. The chef launched 8 ½ Eight and a Half BOMBANA, Shanghai in 2012 and Opera Bombana, Beijing in 2013. The two new restaurants reflect the identity of the Bergamasco chef who, for years, has been committed to promoting great Italian cuisine in Asia. In June 2015, Umberto opened 8 ½ Otto e Mezzo BOMBANA at the Galaxy, Macao.
JC Viens is a Vinitaly International Academy (VIA) Italian Wine Ambassador and self-declared “Gourmand and Storyteller.” J.C. is genuinely passionate about the human stories behind each label. Based in Hong Kong for the past 25 years, he has experienced the fascinating growth the region has sustained, first as an entrepreneur in the export sector and now as an expert in wine communications, Asian ambassador, and contributor to Spirito di Vino Italia. He focuses his activities on market strategy and public relations campaigns for Italian wines in Hong Kong and China. He is also the Greater China Franciacorta Ambassador. J.C. was recently awarded the title of “Cavaliere della Stella d’Italia” for all the work he has done on behalf of Italian wines in Hong Kong over the past ten years.