On the heels of their uber-popular Southern comfort spot Se7en Bites, Va and Trina Gregory-Propst bring comfort Italian style to Ivanhoe Village with Sette – a restaurant that they say draws inspiration from Italy's food culture.
Cultural appropriation has become an increasingly sensitive topic in the world of food. What are your thoughts on food identity and food ownership, especially considering neither of you are of Italian descent yet are running an Italian restaurant?
In this giant melting-pot world we live in, we believe that food and its history and origins create inspiration. All food has a history that surpasses our own beginnings as individuals, as a family, and even more so as a country that, itself, was created from other cultures. Sette is inspired by the food culture of Italy and its history, and while neither of us are of Italian descent, we don’t feel that the time, energy, passion and appreciation we have for the foundations of Italian cookery make us any less qualified to produce thoughtful and creative Italian "inspired" dishes. We are not trying to be something we aren't. What we are is passionate about our food quality, diversity, our staff family, our community, our Orlando food scene and our own creative needs that are expressed through both of our restaurants.
How are you reducing food waste? What are you doing to make the restaurant more sustainable?
This is a practice for us that's been in place from the beginning of Se7en Bites. We extensively plan all menu options and focus on how we can make the most of every morsel. We really drive this process home by producing small-batch items so that we use everything we make. Beyond food sustainability, we've also focused on reducing our footprint on physical waste especially after moving Se7en Bites into our new space. We worked with the city to learn more about recycling and managed to reduce our actual non-recyclable waste to less than 10 percent and moved in and adopted recycling 90 percent of what comes into and out of our kitchen. We put effort and thought into every choice we make about both Se7en Bites and Sette and the impact they have on our city and our neighbors.
What was your very first food addiction?
Va is now, and has always been, addicted to Slurpees, but the smile on her face after tasting a new pasta recipe that she’s been perfecting is what makes me smile the most. She truly is humble about her talent, but I'm so proud of the grasp she has on understanding flour and water and how it makes amazing pasta. She's addicted to making perfect pasta, while I continue my quest to find the perfect potato chip. (setteitalian.com)▲