The HOTEL team sat down with Shaun Dowling, executive chef at authentic Italian restaurant Bossi, opening its doors within Auckland’s iconic The Pacifica tower in May 2022.
Dowling grew up in a large family where he was always ready to help out in the kitchen. His grandmother was a huge influence, and it was her encouragement all those years ago that helped him decide on a career as a chef.
Though Dowling has many professional highlights to his credit, he feels his biggest achievement is the acknowledgement of the industry outside of New Zealand. Rubbing shoulders with world-renowned chefs such as Felipe Bronze (Oro), André Mifano (Restaurante Donna), Helena Rizzo (Mani Manioca) and Claude Troisgros (O’Lympe) in Brazil.
“My goal is to launch Bossi and grow the restaurant’s reputation to be recognised as one of Auckland’s top restaurants,” said Dowling.
“And a must-visit dining destination for locals and visitors alike.”
Coming home to Aotearoa during COVID-19 after being overseas for 12 years, he was uncertain where his career would lead.
“I heard about the Bossi role and the immersive dining concept. After meeting owner Jenna Carter, who shares the same love of traditional Italian cuisine and culture, my interest piqued.”
The opportunity to helm the kitchen of a flagship Italian restaurant, bar, deli and private dining space within the iconic The Pacifica is a dream role for Dowling.
“Inspiration is everywhere – a plate is a blank canvas to paint with ingredients. My menus are always seasonal, and my thinking is simple: less is more.”
Dowling plans for Bossi to have an inspiring menu of fresh and seasonal dishes that tell a story. From the moment you enter, the customer starts their culinary journey to the heart of Italy through authentic food and warm hospitality.
We asked Dowling what his advice to young chefs would be.
“Travel the world and learn more about other cultures. Love what you do and be passionate about your craft.”
COVID-19 has been challenging for everyone. Trying to stay sane and operate in a restrictive environment called for some out of the box ideas. It challenged Dowling to think about other avenues to make ends meet, which meant an opportunity he hadn’t considered.
“My brainstorm moment during COVID-19 was to offer online cooking classes for corporate companies looking for a team-building activity to keep their staff motivated.”
“I am thrilled to be back in New Zealand and extremely excited to open the doors of Bossi and bring a little bit of Italy to Aotearoa.”