Gabriele Riva entered the world of pastry as an adolescent assisting in his father’s pastry shop. He was exposed to the fundamentals of traditional Italian pastries. Coinciding with the time spent working for his father, Gabriele began studying Kung Fu, a Chinese martial art, which influenced his approach to pastry. He found a parallel connection between the two disciplines; as a martial artist, he brought precision and discipline to his craft. After learning the classic techniques implemented in his father’s shop, Gabriele sought professional training at C.A.S.T. Alimenti Pastry School in Brescia, Italy. Here, he was exposed to the contemporary techniques of pastry preparations and production.
Upon the completion of his studies in Brescia, his professional employment commenced at Pasticceria Piave. The pastry chef and owner, Silvano Lullini was recognized as one of the best traditionally trained pastry chefs within the city of Milan. Under Chef Silvano’s mentorship, Gabriele developed skills in orchestrating large-scale production and gained insight into the coordination and tasks of the various departments.
Though trained in the art of traditional pastry, Gabriele was a decided modernist. Gabriele then went to work at Le Corti, a large pastry shop and tearoom in Milan. He took the job as head pastry chef and was given complete freedom to put all of his ideas into action. This was his first opportunity to test all of his modern concepts.
Curious by nature, Gabriele sought cultural exposure outside of Italy. His first opportunity to explore was at Patisserie Valerie located in the SoHo area of London, England. Here he found London’s clientele to be very receptive to his novel flavor combinations. After one year, he was named head pastry chef. Following this, an opening became available to him at Nobu Park Lane. Gabriele was enthusiastic about the incorporation of Japanese ingredients into his repertoire.
During this fertile period, he began to intersect these unique flavors with his creations. Soon after, Gabriele was offered the opportunity to build the pastry department for the opening of Nobu Fifty Seven, in New York City. While managing the pastry department of Nobu, he was also presented the challenge of designing the pastry program for both the Gramercy Park Hotel and its restaurant Wakiya.
In addition, Gabriele trains pastry cooks and consults for various Nobu restaurants worldwide. Currently, Gabriele heads the pastry program for the three Nobu restaurants in New York City (Nobu Fifty Seven, Nobu New York, and Nobu Next Door) and the Nobu Los Angeles.