Inside Look with Baker Kamel Saci from NYC’s IL Buco

As you enter the doors of Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria, the scent of fresh bread and house made salumi welcomes you. The warmth of dough being baked fills the atmosphere, awakening your senses, making you long for a bite. The Italian restaurant is exquisite, decorated with handcrafted pottery and lively paintings, it is an artist’s dream. Boasting a brick wall covered in Europe’s finest wines, and adorned with fresh garden flowers, the interior decor of Il Buco on Great Jones Street makes it clear as to why it has become the most beloved bakery within NoHo’s artistic community.Upstairs, in a room lined with rustic tables and hardwood floors, Chef Kamel Saci speaks to an enthusiastic female audience, narrating his famous ciabatta recipe in his suave French accent. Patiently, he explains the process behind his flavorful bread, at the same time mixing the cool dough with his hands over a gleaming silver bowl. A few minutes later, he gathers the new chefs and tells them the history of sourdough, explaining its Egyptian descent while taking out the large container of sourdough mix that he was passed on by his mentor. “This sourdough” he explains, “is centuries old, yet it’s flavor only gets better.” He goes over the process of feeding the sourdough, demonstrating the evolution through photographs on his phone and speaking of his time in Bordeaux, France. When he is finished, he leads the students to the downstairs kitchen, placing the dough inside the three large ovens that will soon turn it golden. A few blocks away,  in the restaurant’s local shop, Il Buco Vita, lies a collection of home furnishings and antique pieces made my artisan craftsmen and inspired by Mediterranean and Italian culture. Inside this refurbished shop, decorated in chic urban design is a long wooden table adorned with sunflowers and handmade ceramic plates splattered with colorful paint. On the walls hang different-sized canvases portraying Italian-inspired scenes of garden views and fruit arrangements. On the corner of the room stands a small table holding endless glasses of cold prosecco and another, displaying trays upon trays of salumi and small plates of olive oil. Chef Saci enters the room, carrying about twenty paper bags which hold the freshly baked ciabattas. Each person takes their bread and rips of a piece, dipping it in the olio d’oliva and savoring the richness. A few glasses of prosecco later, Chef Saci talks to Haute Living about his days as a professional fighter, and how that passion and drive which led him to World Cup glory, has translated into his baking. In Kamel’s own words: “in the end it is all about loving what you do and working for what you want. Sometimes I have twenty-hour work days, some days are good and some days aren’t that great, but I never stop working, and that is what has led me to success.”

Watch our inside look into Chef Saci’s exclusive baking class, by videographer Rodrigo Tasca, and visit Il Buco for a little slice of heaven.