Fashion and tableware visionary Rosita Missoni shares her favorite Italian family recipes with the chefs at the new Hotel Missonis—and with you.

By Jen Murphy
Updated March 31, 2015

Even more than five decades after she and her husband debuted their provocative knitwear, with its bold stripes, geometrics and abstract floral patterns, Rosita Missoni is still one of Italy’s most forward-thinking designers. But when it comes to food, she’s a traditionalist who enjoys repeating the advice she used to get from her mother: “The most important man in your life, after your husband, is your butcher.” She shares her style and her Italian family recipes at her latest project, Hotel Missoni Edinburgh, which opened in June.

Courtesy of Missoni

The first of 30 Hotel Missoni outposts expected to open around the world over the next decade, the Edinburgh property shows Rosita’s stamp in every aspect of its look. The black-and-white palette sets off Rosita’s creations for Missoni Home—psychedelic floral plates, multicolor-striped towels. Rosita has filled the hotel with furniture by designers she admires, like Arne Jacobsen and Marcel Wanders, and pieces she herself owns, like Hans Wegner’s Wishbone chair.

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For Cucina Missoni, the hotel restaurant, Rosita sifted through her recipe box and selected her 20 family favorites. Then Giorgio Locatelli, the Michelin-starred chef behind London’s Locanda Locatelli restaurant and the hotels’ consulting chef, worked with her to update them. Both Rosita and Locatelli are from Northern Italy’s Lombardy region and grew up eating versions of the classic dishes now on Cucina Missoni’s menu: pan-fried scamorza (a provolone-like cheese) served with two pestos, for instance, and grilled eggplant involtini (rolls) topped with goat cheese vinaigrette.

Courtesy of Hotel Missoni

“The kitchen is the heart of the house in Italy, so I wanted the restaurant to be the heart of the hotel,” Rosita says. “I needed a chef who could understand that.” It was Locatelli’s excellent michetta, a typical Milanese bread in the shape of a rose, that convinced Rosita he was the right chef for Cucina Missoni.

Rosita has tried to pass on her culinary skills to the younger generation of Missoni women now helping to run the company. Her daughter Angela, who has overseen the clothing line since 1997, is an excellent cook, but her granddaughter Margherita, the model for Missoni’s perfume ads, is still learning. “Margherita is a fantastic guest,” Rosita jokes. “A few years ago, she went to live alone in New York City, and she called her mother and said, ‘Mama, please, very clearly, tell me how do you cook pasta.’ ” Even Margherita has now mastered Rosita’s no-fuss spaghetti tossed with fresh tomatoes, basil, olives and capers, a dish at Cucina Missoni.

Courtesy of Hotel Missoni

Working with the Rezidor Hotel Group, which manages the properties, Rosita is currently launching a Hotel Missoni location in Kuwait City, with plans to open in Cape Town and Oman next. But whether the hotel is in South Africa or on the coast of the Arabian Sea, Rosita hopes her family recipes will give guests a sense of Italian tradition. And, if necessary, she will even tell them the name of her butcher.