Gianfranco and Anna Chiarini are both professional chefs who found their forever home in the village of Devino, located near Targovishte in the northeast of Bulgaria. Their long and lustrous career as chefs allowed them to travel the world before bringing their expertise to Bulgaria. Gianfranco has over 35 years of experience ranging from celebrity chef, restaurateur, and consultant. While Anna has had more of a focus on healthy food and nutrition with several Master’s Degrees under her belt.
Gianfranco remembers his first visit to Bulgaria back in 2015. He was invited to Bansko to take part in a food festival organised by the 5-star “Premier Luxury Mountain Resort” hotel. Every year this popular winter resort in Bulgaria becomes the center stage for contemporary cuisine and gourmet recipes from around the world. Anna would soon join her husband and the couple would settle in Bansko for a while. This allowed them time for their property search while also exploring more of Bulgaria.
Eventually, the couple found an older traditional house in the Bulgarian countryside. The former school building in Devino offered them the space and location they were after to set the foundation of their fine-dining business in Bulgaria. According to Gianfranco, it was a love of first sight with their future house. They had the vision to turn the property into a Grand Villa already beautifully positioned on a hill and only meters away from a forest. The ground floor is designated to the restaurant where they welcome their guests, while the first floor is the couple’s living headquarters.
Many people doubted their choice of location away from the busy streets of the big cities. However, as Gianfranco points out, there are always a few stand-out Chefs who would pick more remote locations for their restaurants in order to create a special and memorable experience for their guests.
Dieci (ten in Italian), is a reservation-only restaurant. It has a maximum capacity of 10 guests. Their creative 10-course tasting menu offers the best of Italo-Bulgarian cuisine. The couple is using the freshest of ingredients sourced locally and responsibly from the village. Their menu is a delightful blend of vibrant colours and captivating flavours.
The welcome bite is a combination of homemade bread and homemade butter. Second is one of their signature dishes Gornooryahovski Sudzhuk and Potato Cappuccino. Next, are the cold and warm appetizers, followed by an inspirational dish, pasta course, and cold and warm fish course. The menu continues with a wild meat course, farmed meat course, as well as two types of desserts. The couple also offers wine pairing with each course from a selection of Bulgarian wines supplied by their partner Villa Melnik.
What’s next for the couple and their restaurant
Dieci Boutique Restaurant is on track to become the first Michelin-star restaurant in Bulgaria. Gianfranco knows how to be successful on this journey. The secret is the consistency of the offering, always maintaining a high standard of dining experience. It is also about the music in the restaurant, the lighting, the cutlery, the wine list, and everything else. The positive feedback from their happy guests is quick to follow. The restaurant has 5 out of 5 stars reviews on TripAdvisor.