It’s a cliché as every Italian says this but I grew up watching my Sicilian mum and grandmother cooking in the kitchen. The passion they had for it pulled me into cooking. When I went to catering school my teacher/mentor did the rest to convince me.
Tell us something you wish you had been told at the start of your career?
That it would be a tough and long journey… but I am completely enjoying myself so it’s all worth it.
What do you do in your spare time?
I enjoy working out and cycling around the city, and of course I like going out and exploring new restaurants in London.
What’s your favourite restaurant or group of restaurants (besides your current one)?
Brat on Redchurch Street and the José Pizarro group
What would you be doing if you weren’t in restaurants?
I would be a personal trainer or have a career in the military, maybe a pilot.
What motivates you?
My team, family, friends and my guests of course.
Where was your last holiday?
Tel Aviv. I went on a holiday/business trip with Guy Ivesha, founder of Maslow’s Mortimer House, to discover the gastronomic world of the city.
Which colleague, mentor or employer has had the biggest influence on your approach to the restaurant business?
Franco Alba, my first teacher and chef. He introduced me to a world that was very new and unknown to me at the time. I will be forever thankful for everything he taught me.
What keeps you up at night?
Being a chef, you never get bored because every day is a challenge and when you care about something and put your heart 100% int to it, you naturally worry all the time.
Worst business decision?
Touch wood I haven't made a big business mistake yet...I'll keep you posted!
What are you reading at the moment?
HEAT by Bill Buford
What piece of advice would you give those looking to climb the rungs in the business?
Humility. It is the most important part of the job, learn how to cook from scratch and then develop your style. These days it is very easy for a young person to lose the journey because we are intoxicated by social media and the problems it causes. I believe in training and rules and I think the younger generation are so exposed to social media and instant gratification, which gives the wrong impact to this job at a very early age. I love this and am a part of it but it's important to stay humble and gain as much experience as possible.
If you could change one thing about the restaurant industry today, what would it be?
To regulate the working hours for all restaurant staff, from back of house to front of house. I think many restaurants abuse that without the correct retribution.
CV to date
Born Sardinia in 1981
Studied catering/kitchen at IPSAR Costa Smeralda and graduated in 2000 after five years
2006-07 sous chef, Franco's
2007-08 senior sous chef, St Alban
2008-13 senior sous chef, L'Anima
2013-15 head chef, L'Anima
2015-18 executive chef L'Anima
2019 head chef at Mortimer House Kitchen