OK I don’t know why it took me so long but I interviewed Gianpaolo Grazioli, founder and head chef of Giapo Ice Cream and Research Kitchen. I have mentioned Giapo in so many things I do not in the least my Auckland Food Heroes on www.viewauckland.co.nz and right here on the website. Their ice cream is simply amazing, nothing more nothing less, it’s not an ice cream it’s an experience and this was so far my most enjoyable interview, the passion and care for the product is very obvious. Enjoy!
Can we get a brief description of your business and what you produce?
Hi Kevin, thank you for considering us with your great blog. Giapo is a platform to express my soul and the soul of the people that work with me. Giapo transcends the mere business of making money and just like many starred restaurants, Giapo does not make a profit. Giapo serves me to express what I want to be remembered about, the day that I die. Therefore we don’t produce anything because we are not a factory but we are working to create a new language that connects Ice cream and art, something that can potentially be used and remembered once I am gone.
That is exactly why your one of my favourite Producer to Plates.
What motivated you or what reasons were behind you starting this business?
It was not my intention to become a chef nor to dedicate myself to creativity the way I do it today in the kitchen, and that’s why I see every single day as a gift. I do not see Giapo as a business anymore, it is a personal challenge to change the way people see, eat and enjoy ice cream, that motivates me a lot.
What inspires you to continue doing what you do?
I am inspired by the hope to give pleasure and meaning to people through the medium of ice cream. There is lots of hope in ice cream for what it is and what it represents for us all.
In your own kitchen what 5 ingredients can you not do without?
Vanilla, Eggs, Milk, Cream and Dark Chocolate. With these 5 ingredients we can create 200 plus recipes.
What would be your death row meal?
A meal shared with my family, food would not matter anymore. Emotions come first, and having my family close would give me more emotions than anything else.
Great, I totally agree.
Your ice creams aren’t just a scoop it’s like a dessert how do you come up with the
Thank you for this question Kevin. Our creativity is inspired by strong emotions. I look for strong emotions, emotions that leave you breathless, a couple of times in my career I have felt I was very close to that, and of course this is very personal and it was about my feelings. Every time I do a new flavour, or a new decoration I try to look for that feeling.
Is it important to use as much product from NZ as possible?
Yes. It is a way to pay tribute to our little country, to our little economy and to respect and bless the fact that we have some amazing produce. At Giapo we import as little as possible, if fact just the cocoa and some other spices not grown here. I meet with my farmers regularly and Giapo has a cooperative in place where customers bring in the fruit from their own back yard; it doesn’t get more local than that.
What is your favourite flavour/ what do you eat on a regular day?
I don’t have a favouriteflavour. I live in search of delicious.
I knew you'd say that
Waffle cone, plain cone or cup?
Cup, so no other flavours mix with the purity of the ice cream and what the chef wanted to express, unless the cone is flavour paired with the ice cream, and we are working on it.
Sounds intriging can't wait for that
What’s new and what’s coming next for Giapo?
I have been working on the pairing of music, smell and food. I hope that sometime soon, I will be able to launch it at Giapo. We see the human body as a field, where the right interactions of various operators (smell, sound, flavours) can potentially create super harmonies triggering emotions that are stronger than ever.
Sounds like you have employed Heston Blumenthal!!
Has there ever been a temptation to expand into yoghurts and milkshakes?
When we first opened, we started with yoghurts and Milk Shakes, it was almost 6 years ago, then we decided to try to be the best in the world in only one thing.
...and you're doing a great job
What would you say are the most important points in making quality ice cream/gelato?
Fresh Produce and a spotless clean kitchen.
My wife wants to know 1) how come all the Giapo workers aren’t fat and 2) can she have the
recipe for Kiss Kiss?
LOL, they do have lots of ice cream everyday, I don't know how they do it… yes she can have the recipe for “Kiss Kiss”. She can actually come down one day and we can do it together.
She would love that but be warned you will need to be with her every step of the way.
How do the celebrity flavours come about are they regular customers? They are friends and it is a way to show them how much I love them and also how much they love me, it works both ways.
Does Tip Top inspire you?
Yes, for what it is it does inspire me.