Travel & Gourmet

Family affair: interview with Riccardo Gaspari and Ludovica Rubbini

What is it like to change your life completely? Make choices? “Reinvent” yourself and day by day improve something which you’ve never done? Push yourself to the limits and bear with fears and difficulties? Riccardo Gaspari and Ludovica Rubbini - husband and wife, chef and director of San Brite restaurant share their own story.
Reading time 5 minutes
Photo Credit: Stefania Giorgi

Radically changing your life (Ludovica moved from Bologna to Cortina d’Ampezzo for Riccardo, a former ski instructor, who became a cook) to then open a restaurant, San Brite, was it planned or spontaneous for you?

Ludovica: It all happened by chance. We started with helping Riccardo's parents in their restaurant and then we said to ourselves why not to open the dairy too? So we did the specialized courses, I also became a dairy woman.

Riccardo: I would also add that everything was possible because we have always believed so much. And, in addition, we have always worked hard.

At first, I guess, did faith in oneself help you so much?

Riccardo: The nice thing, in my opinion, is that we did everything we liked. Our goal from the beginning was to make people happy and so from that we have always moved forward. People must feel good when they come here.

Ludovica: I'll tell you the truth: I think that many people, arriving at a certain point, want even more and are not happy with themselves. We are those people. One says: look back, what you have already done but we are always looking for improvement. We are not satisfied with ourselves yet.


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Photo Credit: Stefania Giorgi

Were there any fears when you started?

Riccardo: We were very young at the time, you know...

Ludovica: Exactly, that's why we have more fears now. Normally when you are about to do something you imagine it but only when you do it you understand that it may be different from the expectation you had. Now we have a great fear of not moving forward, of disappointing ourselves, of not reaching what we have set for ourselves.

Are you afraid of disappointing one another, even at work?

Ludovica: I’m very much, honestly. Because we are very different and we know that each of us has his own expectations, even if in the end of the day we are very complementary both in personal and professional lives.

Riccardo: Me too, I confess. I'm also afraid of disappointing my parents. They are people of another age, they see the restaurant a little differently, so it is not easy to make certain decisions, you have to deal with people who see it in their own way. And then, if you make a choice you also have to prove that it is the right one, so the expectations are very high: you can't go wrong.


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Photo Credit: Stefania Giorgi

For your daughters, do you want them to continue what you do?

Riccardo: We are quite free in thought in this subject. You do something well only if you like it, if you don't love it it’s better if you don't even start it.

Ludovica: It shouldn't be forced. We do what we do because we love it. If they in their 30ies, for instance, will say that they don't want to do it - we will find the solution.

What qualities of character do you appreciate and love most in each other?

Riccardo: She is a merry side of mine, which cheers me up. And the one who manages to bring out the best in me, even at work without her I wouldn't do it. Her judgment to me is the most important of all.

Ludovica: I really love his discipline. When he throws himself on doing something, he tries to make his best. When he has a goal he always tries to reach it. But he is also a good father. When he's not by me - I feel strange, as if I miss the part of me.

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Photo Credit: Stefania Giorgi

In your opinion, thanks to what you were able to get to the point where you are today?

Riccardo: In my opinion, perseverance and commitment.

Ludovica: And also having given importance to the value of his parents' work (they work in El Brite de Larieto restaurant and also deal with animal husbandry), because they work hard and Riccardo felt the need to value what they do. In addition, the desire to do something different here in Cortina: it is a unique valley and we wanted to invest here, for Riccardo it was also important to work in his homeland. We hope this will lead us to be recognized for what we do. For us, the greatest satisfaction is the people who make a trip just to be able to eat in our restaurant. We hope that San Brite will become a landmark, a point of reference.


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Photo Credit: Lenny Pellico

Instead, if you have to wish something one to another, what would it be?

Ludovica: The only flaw that Riccardo has is that he takes everything personally, he is a bit introspective. He keeps everything inside, you obviously don't see what he thinks and feels. For that, I wish him to experience, to “live” this a little "better" and more “lightly”.

Riccardo: I wish you to find people who can make you work less (laughs).



The author Aline Borghese is an international journalist and critic of haute cuisine.

She is a graduate of the culinary schools of the Ritz Escoffier, Ecole de cuisine Alain Ducasse, La Cucina Italiana. Champagne and wine sommelier, cocktail enthusiast, gastronomic consultant and simply Bohémienne Affamée.

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