It was 1998 when Luca Tortora sold his first case of Italian olive oil to a high-profile Sydney chef, a sale that sent him on a quest to source the finest ingredients for Australian kitchens – both commercial and domestic.
Fifteen years later, the passionate Italian and founder of Brisbane-based Visco Selected Fine Foods remains the go-to guy for many of Australia’s top chefs, restaurants and gourmet grocers when it comes to sourcing quality ingredients and products from all over the world.
Having grown up in the small fishing village of Monte Argentario in Tuscany, Luca’s appreciation of good food started at a young age, learning at the knee of two grandfathers – one a farmer, the other a fisherman.
“Our school offered food education, teaching us what to eat, but I probably learnt more at home. We had fresh vegetables all the time from one grandfather, and fish fresh off the boat from my other grandfather,” says Luca.
“I can still remember the smell of those vegetables, warmed by the sunshine. The aroma was beautiful. I have always been a big eater, since I was a little boy. Seafood is probably by biggest weakness.”
At Visco, Luca manages an ever-growing operation that remains focused on manufacturing, importing and delivering sublime-tasting solutions for customers – in short time frames.
“We are all about quality – quality food, and quality service,” says Luca.
Favourite ingredients? “Extra virgin olive oil – it finishes and adds that special fragrance to most foods. And I couldn’t live without tomatoes or salt.”