Nicola Scaramuzzino: WINE AND ADVENTURES
Nicola Scaramuzzino, the F&B Director of Gran Melia Jakarta, is all about being brave and open-minded, being adventurous with life. It’s the same approach he suggests people take with wine.
BORN AND RAISED in the wine region of Chianti in central Tuscany, Italy, Nicola got introduced to wine at a very young age.
“We have a tradition of giving babies a spoon of wine when they are 6-month-old. Birthday toddlers will also get wine diluted with water as part of the celebration. Older kids will get sparkling wine. Wine is part of our culture, we drink lunch and dinner,” Nicola said eyes lit up.
One of his fondest memory was “stealing” wine during dinner time.
“In my kampung, we had a neighbor who was a Chianti producer. He gave our family a 25-liter wine in a container, which we kept in our basement. To serve the wine for dinner, kids would be told to transfer some wine to a carafe.”
“The way to take some of the wine is by siphoning them with a tube, the way you would siphon gasoline. But while sucking up the wine, we would have some very good gulps. You’re drunk on your way to the dinner table!” Nicola said with a laugh.
When asked what his favorite wine was, the lively and talkative Nicola took a pause.
“Ah, it’s a big question. It depends on the mood, the day, the time of having the wine. I love Amarone; I like of course Brunello di Montalcino; everyone love Sassicaia and Champagne.”
“I got to know new world wine very recently, but I still prefer wine from Europe because I grew up with those,” he said.
Nicola goes wherever his interest and challenges call upon him. Upon obtaining in computer programming, which made him a part of the first generation of computer programmers out of Italian schools, Nicola went to study natural science at university.
But then he found himself in hospitality business, which then saw him stationed in Bali, Indonesia, to handle Italian customers. During his time in the industry, he helped develop a lot tourism destinations in Indonesia, opening new areas to Italian tourisst in Java and Lombok Islands.
He has been in trips all over the archipelago—a feat not even many Indonesians can boast— in some of which he helped produce a number of documentaries about Indonesia for Italian TV. Prior to joining Gran Melia Jakarta in October 2015, he successfully managed the famous Mozaic restaurant in Ubud for six years.
“Gran Melia pose a big challenge. My vision here is to bring back the hotel to what it used to be in F&B scene, improving the overall quality and experience and bring something new in Jakarta,” he said.
Among the effort was boosting a gastronomical series event at RedLevel, Gran Melia’s boutique hotel within a hotel. “I want to highlight as many good local chef as possible in dinner events for 20-25 people. These are intimate events where people can interact with each other and with the chef,” he explained.
“People go out not for the food but also for the other people, the music, the atmosphere. A dinner is an experience.” Couldn’t agree more.