Chef Gianmarco Roselli and his wife, Avery, travel to and from Royal Oak every day to operate their vegan-Italian food stall, Osteria Vegana, in the newly opened Lansing Shuffle. They’re hoping to become permanent Lansing residents, but the housing market remains ever-volatile.
Roselli, though, is used to traveling. Born in Rome, he grew up between there and Detroit and has long been working toward opening his own restaurant.
“I worked every job in the service industry — scrubbing toilets and floors, as a dishwasher, server, barista, porter, prep chef, barback. I did private chef catering and worked in restaurants in New York, Rome and Paris,” he said. “Finally, I’m an executive chef, and now also an owner, here at Osteria Vegana.”
Roselli’s osteria, which he says means small, family-owned eatery, was, in its original conception, meant to be called Osteria Crema, until he attended a meditation retreat that ended with him and 300 or so other attendees swearing off animal products.
Thus, Osteria Vegana was born, placing it amongst a very small number of traditional Italian restaurants serving an all-vegan menu. Offerings include pesto that’s made fresh daily, risotto, pasta (including gluten-free options), fresh salads, polenta and more, all made with a focus on a deliciousness that comes from the healthfulness of the ingredients, not in spite of it. You won’t find cheese or meat substitutes here — just flavors built with extensive knowledge, skill and care.
“Our food is an experience second to nobody because we offer gourmet food that vegans can have and that will be delicious to all patrons who care about health and quality,” Roselli said.
Along with his wife and six employees, Roselli is excited to be in Lansing to share this unique blend of food with the community. He feels strongly about the dialogue that exists between a chef and the people who eat his food, and Osteria’s setup in Lansing Shuffle puts him face-to-face with his customers.
“We appreciate spreading our message through the quality of our products and through reliably good food made with intentionality and plated fresh to order,” he said.
Reflecting on his past jobs in the industry, Roselli said, “Those experiences were all a school in themselves. I’ve also cooked with my grandparents since I was a little boy, and with my mamma, who is still an advisor of sorts.”
If, like me, you’ve ever felt full of longing after watching Anthony Bourdain sit at a table across from an Italian grandmother who just served him some lovingly prepared, unreal-looking food, Osteria Vegana might be the closest you’re going to get — if not better.
As for his food lacking the meat that was undoubtedly in Bourdain’s bowl, Roselli is confident you won’t miss it.
“We’ll make your nonna change her mind,” he said.
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here