Our food philosophy

Published: February 6, 2017

villa-lena, tuscany, italy, countryside, chef, chef-in-residence, vegetables, fresh, organic

In the words of Virginia Woolf, “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” We at Villa Lena seek to bring holistic health to our restaurants tables.

Despite the many diet fads circulating one commonality exists that is proven to be beneficial to health. Minimally processed foods, predominately plants are decisively associated with physical well being and lower risks of disease.

Villa Lena is inspired by Tuscany’s own tradition in which whole grains, beans, olive oil, nuts, and fruits and vegetables are at the heart of a rich peasant food tradition.

We make food that comes direct from nature, whether its our own gardens, our wine and olive oil, or the many neighboring farms in the area. We try to move away from farmed meat and use game meat where possible. We emphasize seasonality so that we are cooking with and eating ingredients at their peak of flavor and nutrition.

Health is not the only objective at the heart of our food ethos – sustainability is another. By pairing the tastiest produce available at that moment with care, creativity, and technical proficiency, we attempt to build a model for a responsible and delicious future, where product is not wasted and enjoyed at its seasonal time.

We offer a set menu which changes daily, which we serve sometimes “family style” on top of our long, shared tables, with a hope that good food and good conversations will bring some memorable dinners.

Chef kitchen Villa Lena

Villa Lena organic Butternut garden

Villa Lena soup organic garden


Published: January 26, 2017

Chocolate Villa Lena kids Tuscany, workshop,

May 2016

Drawing inspiration from the edible herbs and flowers that can be found around the Villa Lena grounds, chef in residence Jill Donenfeld and designer Emma Montague led a children’s workshop that paired chocolate with everything from rosemary to lavender.  First finding the flavours on a foraging walk through the grounds and later combining these with sticky bowls of melted dark chocolate.

The children’s activities were run as part of the artist residency program set up on the grounds, and were perfect for families to enjoy. The foraging and cooking experience were part of the slow food, organic ethos of Villa Lena in the context of imaginative and creative play.

Chocolate Workshop Villa Lena Tuscany


Published: January 2, 2017

Brief guide to homemade granola with Villa Lena chef in residence Alexis Delaney from New York.
Directed, shot and edited by Niklas Adrian Vindelev.
Homemade granola by Alexis Delaney:

250g coarsely chopped walnuts
100g sunflower seeds
100g ground coconut
100g oat flakes
50g sesame seeds
100g millet
100g flax seeds
100g extra vidrgin olive oil
100g vegetable oil
275g honey
275g sugar
2 tsp salt

Mix well and place in a tray in the oven for 45 min, temperature 150C
Serves plenty!

More about our Farm to Table restaurant in our Dine section