Grace Paterno-Shaw – founder of LuxItalian
We had a pleasure of meeting Grace Paterno-Shaw through our good friend from Crudo Bar, Paolo Viola. Grace collaborated with Paolo and together they have created one of a kind cocktail masterclass in Milan. Grace's love for Italy led her to start a tour agency, LuxItalian, together with her mother, Cristina. The agency provides personalised luxury tours, holiday planning services and private tour guides to help you discover Italy's hidden gems and main attractions.
The Grace Paterno-Shaw Interview
[BestBars.in] - Tell us who is Grace Paterno-Shaw
[Grace] - My name is Grace Paterno-Shaw and I am a Londoner with a genuine passion for travel. I am a big foodie and culture vulture so throughout my travels I go out of my way to try new things and immerse myself in other cultures to have authentic and enriching adventures.
[BestBars.in] - How did you come into travel industry?
[Grace] - My Italian heritage has allowed me to travel to Italy extensively for the last 15 years and I have a profound passion for going off the beaten track and searching for unique experiences that make a holiday more personal and special. I wanted to share my knowledge and insight to give people an authentic and exciting perspective of Italy. Italy is a country that tourists visit a lot so I really wanted to redefine luxury travel in Italy offering something very niche and unique.
[BestBars.in] - Why do you focus on Italian venues?
[Grace] - Italy is a very rich country both culturally and culinary. The regional variation in cuisine and produce allows for an array of flavour combinations, recipes and landscapes making its cuisine one of the most diverse in the world. We focus on finding less commercial and touristic venues and instead creating a personal relationship with up and coming, independent or family-run businesses that offer exceptional service, amazing cocktail and food menus and most importantly share our philosophy of creating an exclusive and special experience for clients.
[BestBars.in] - Where do you get your inspiration from?
[Grace] - My inspiration comes from all my travels in Italy and around the world. When I am in Italy I sometimes stumble across a bar or restaurant and I go in and try as much as I can on their menu I chat to all the staff to get feel for the place and the people who work there and more often than not if I’m excited about a venue I go behind the bar and in the kitchen and start sharing creative ideas and get hands-on to see what products they use and what methods they adopt. The personal connection for me is very important, I like to offer my clients a personalised service and I also like to have a personal relationship with all the venues I work with on the ground because it helps create a more profound and authentic experience for travellers.
[BestBars.in] - What can people expect from LuxItalian?
[Grace] - A unique experience. Travelling is all about creating amazing memories that last a lifetime, our job is giving you a stress-free holiday that takes you off the beaten track, that is tailored to you. LuxItalian focuses on the conscious traveller that likes to know that their spending is going to the local economy. We value working with less main-stream and commercial venues in Italy instead we work with independent often family run business that hires staff from the local community. We go out of our way to create unique, bespoke itineraries for clients so they can create special memories.
[BestBars.in] - What makes LuxItalian cocktail masterclass different?
[Grace] - The mixology masterclass is something that myself and Paolo Viola have been working on for a long time. When you visit a venue and have a masterclass you usually get to try a few classic cocktails and learn how to make some drinks of your own. Our masterclass goes one step further, we focus on showcasing top Italian liquors and explaining how these liquors are made and the territory they originate from and how they can be incorporated into classic cocktails. Our clients will get a chance to taste and learn how to make Paolo Viola’s signature cocktails and some cocktails that he has created exclusively for the LuxItalian masterclass. The cocktail experience is not complete without a food pairing, clients will be able to sample some dishes particularly created to accompany specific cocktails. This masterclass will give clients a taste of the Crudo craze, which is the Italian equivalent of Sashimi. I strongly believe cocktails aren’t just for an aperitif or to have on a night out but a well-balanced and creatively made cocktail can replace your glass of wine or champagne during a meal so we also offer a three-course meal in the masterclass package. This masterclass will give you an in-depth understanding of the world of mixology and a highly unique culinary experience in the stylish city of Milan.