We Are Ona is a food collective of young chefs on a mission to transform the way we eat. The burgeoning group is hosting a debut happening at Milan Design Week 2022

We Are Ona

The food collective was founded in 2019 by Luca Pronzato, a sommelier and restaurateur who previously worked at Noma Copenhagen. ‘Ona’ means ‘wave’ in Catalan, and Pronzato’s mission when he launched the project was to offer a new platform to young players in the industry and facilitate the next generation of revolutionary chefs. 

Images of chef Sayaka Sawaguchi’s dishes, part of the menu at We Are Ona Milano at Milan Design Week 2022. Photography by Ilya Kagan.
Images of chef Sayaka Sawaguchi’s dishes, part of the menu at We Are Ona Milano. Photography by Ilya Kagan.

Since then, the initial idea has blossomed into a creative agency for gastronomic events, with clients that include Ganni, Gucci, Humanrace, and Chloé; as well as a private chef service that makes it possible for culinary talents to cook at private homes for events or dinner parties. 

But it’s We Are Ona’s ongoing pop-up series that really makes this a movement of note. Every few months, the group sets up a temporary restaurant, in various cities, with each space operating for one week to three months. The last pop-up took place in Venice during the biennale, when the collective hosted a Fellini-esque dining experience in a baroque palazzo. Guests sat around tables with brocade tablecloths and Saint-Louis crystal as they ate an eight-course menu of Italian classics with a contemporary twist.

We Are One at Milan Design Week 2022

For the latest edition of the project, the food collective is setting up shop as part of Milan Design Week 2022. From 4 – 12 June, We Are Ona is operating a pop-up restaurant and café as part of the exhibition ‘See the Stars Again’, hosted by Flos at Fabbrica Orobia. 

Image from the Flos exhibition at Fabbrica Orobia, Milan Design Week 2022. Photography by Carlo Banfi C41. 
Image from the Flos exhibition at Fabbrica Orobia. Photography by Carlo Banfi C41. 

Visitors to the sprawling warehouse space will be able to enjoy a multi-course meal by Japanese chef Sayaka Sawaguchi, head chef at the Green Michelin Star restaurant Le Garde Champêtre in the Champagne region of France, where she serves up a rotating menu of seasonal dishes such as gnocchi with wild garlic, white butter and lime; and line-caught tuna in dashi broth. 

Images of chef Sayaka Sawaguchi’s dishes, part of the menu at Milan Design Week 2022. Photography by Ilya Kagan.
Images of chef Sayaka Sawaguchi’s dishes, part of the menu at We Are Ona Milano. Photography by Ilya Kagan.

For her Milanese residency, Sawaguchi will be reimagining Italian classics with dishes cooked over an open fire. Out of the overwhelming roster of events going on in Milan this coming week, We Are Ona Milano is, for foodies at least, definitely worth making time for.

The next event in the food collective’s schedule will take place during Les Rencontres de la Photographie in Arles, France, at a former stables, with a kitchen in an empty swimming pool. §

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