Massimo Tebaldi has been executive chef for Renaissance Pubs for 10 years. Having once worked with John Torode and Canadian singer Bryan Adams, he is now working to transform The White Hart into a fish and chips gastropub called The Tommyfield.
I’ve literally grown up with Renaissance. I’ve dedicated a lot of time and work with them to achieve what I have today. We’re a great team. I think this is the secret of why we work so well.
It’s important to serve food people want to eat. If you serve them dishes they recognise you’ll make them very happy. That’s why we’ve done market streetfood like fish and chips and pies at The Tommyfield.
As I have an Italian background my food is not fussy. I try to use ingredients as they are without mixing too much. Simple food sourced well is my way.
I don’t like to copy other chefs. I’m a fan of Mark Hix – he’s the best British chef in my opinion.
Mark Hix is the best British chef. His approach to using traditional ingredients inspires me in my menus, but I would never copy another chef.
Bryan Adams asked me to cook for him for about 20 days over Christmas once. It was strange cooking for just one person but I wanted to experience something different. We aren’t in contact now. He never called me back. He has a private chef who lives with him now so he didn’t need me anymore.
Working with John Torode was an amazing experience. He was more like a friend than a scary boss. He taught me a lot about working with different cuts of meat.
The goal is to make all my customers happy. If people see what I’m doing and either recommend us or come back themselves, that’s the goal.
To operate properly you can’t have a massive menu, but I find it difficult to put all my dish ideas into just one. That’s the best thing about working across a group instead of just one site – you get to spread your ideas over five menus.
I would like to be able to generate menu ideas with all my head chefs in one big kitchen, but it’s impossible.
Renaissance has no competitors, there are only other people fighting to make their business work. ETM group has a similar offering to us, and I respect them, but they are certainly not our competitor.
It’s important to get the work family life balance just right. I spend time with my kids as much as I can and take my holidays away from London. When you come back you’re full of energy and life, it’s great for creativity.