Flash-grilled: Carlo Scotto

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Flash-grilled with Xier chef owner Carlo Scotto

Related tags: Chef, Restaurant, Fine dining

Carlo Scotto is the chef owner of 'double-billed fine and casual dining' Modern European restaurant Xier in London's Marylebone.

What was your first industry job?
Chef apprentice.

If you weren’t in kitchens, what would you do?
I would definitely be a Mixed Martial Arts fighter. I love the training and getting involved with competitions. The mental strength and focus required helps me to unwind after a busy shift in the kitchen. 

What industry figure do you most admire, and why?
The Galvin Brothers, but in particular Jeff Galvin. Working with him closely made me realise that no matter what stage you are in your life, you should always be the first in and the last out at work. This made me learn that hard work and dedication are paramount to success, no matter how big you become. Seeing Jeff Galvin in the kitchen every day, and seeing his dedication, is something that will stay with me forever. 

Pet hate in the kitchen?
I hate it when a chef tastes something and then they don’t place the spoon in water to wash it, and they keep tasting with same spoon. There’s nothing more horrible.

What’s the oddest thing a customer has said to you?
Once a customer and her daughter asked me back to their hotel, even after I said I was married!

Sum up your cooking style in a single sentence…
My cooking style is precise and elegant with a hint of madness.

Which single item of kitchen equipment could you not live without?
A blender.

Guilty food pleasure?
To tell the truth, I absolutely love baguettes and they’re one of my favourite things to make. I like to play around with different flavours and fillings from all around the world – there’s so much potential to what you can create. One of my favourites fillings is onion and pepper stew with beef fillet and some lettuce for garnish, but the possibilities are endless.

What would you choose to eat for your last meal?
The biggest beef and pepper baguette.

What’s the best meal you’ve ever had in a restaurant?
The best meal I’ve ever had has to be at Gastrologik in Sweden. The flavours, freshness, service and whole atmosphere is something I will never forget. They served a menu of 20 courses, each one flowing perfectly to the next. It was a truly inspiring experience.

Restaurant dictator for a day – what would you ban?
I would ban anyone cooking insects! Nowadays more and more chefs are incorporating insects into their menus but I’m just not on board with it.

Where do you go when you want to let your hair down?
Mixed Martial Arts Training.

Tipple of choice?
I love red wine, particularly Masseto Toscana 1998.

What do you consider your signature dish?
Undoubtedly, it is ‘salmon and foie gras’. Everyone who has tried this dish at Xier were skeptical at first and, having tasted it, they couldn’t believe the combined flavours worked so well! 

What advice would you give someone starting out in the industry?
Don’t rush, learn your craft for as long as you can and make sure you put your career in the hands of a mentor that will help you to grow.

Related topics: People, Restaurant, Profiles, Chef

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