10 » OpenRoad Driver DRIVERS Against the Grain WITH UMBERTO MENGHI Interview by Christian Chia Photos by Todd Duncan » A true maestro in the Canadian culinary scene, Umberto Menghi arrived in Vancouver in 1969 and noted the absence of authentic Italian cooking in the city. He was determined to introduce Vancouverites to the great recipes of his Italian homeland, leading the way for fine Italian cuisine, and mentoring many of today’s local luminaries. Today Menghi operates his new ode to Tuscany, Giardino Restaurant, just steps from the little yellow house where it all started in downtown Vancouver. He also owns Trattoria di Umberto, offering the rustic elegance of a Tuscan experience in Whistler Village. Menghi is the author of five best-selling cookbooks and the former host of “The Elegant Appetite,” a television cooking show with 254 episodes broadcast internationally between 1986 and 1994. Instantly recognized by first name alone, Umberto has made an indelible and unforgettable imprint on Vancouver’s food scene. The good news is, he’s nowhere near done.