A histrionic showman, always ready with a joke or a bandana on his head, Cristiano Tomei (Viareggio, 3 September 1974) is an unconventional chef, starting from his education. No hospitality management schools or stages at Michelin-star restaurants for him.
He becomes a self-taught cook after graduating in 1995 from the State-owned "Artiglio" nautical school in Viareggio and after travelling across the world with his surfing friends. While his family gives him the basic notions of Italian cooking, his travels allow him to explore new markets and try restaurants where he discovers the multitudinous variety of raw materials at his disposal.
In 2002 he opens the first version of the “L’Imbuto” in a shed set in a pine tree forest directly on the beach of Viareggio, and one year later he moves it to the downtown area of this Tuscan city. In 2012 he moves the restaurant to Lucca, in Palazzo Boccella, setting it in the Lu.C.C.A. Contemporary Art Museum. In 2014 he obtains his first Michelin star; in 2019, a new change of location: the restaurant moves to the rooms of the historical Palazzo Pfanner, once again in downtown Lucca.
Cristiano Tomei is a true master of cooking techniques.
He loves to present his dishes to the L’Imbuto guests in person. Flavours, consistencies, pairings, drinking vessels and conversation merge into one, stimulating curiosity and generating entertainment for both those sitting at the table and those standing up to serve them. He loves to make complicated things look simple, and to dress up the simplest of emotions in a highly elaborate fashion.