Flash-grilled: Elia Sebregondi

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Elia Sebregondi head chef and co-owner at Italian restaurant and pasta workshop Officina 00

Related tags: Elia Sebregondi, Officina 00, Pasta, Italian food

The head chef and co-owner at Italian restaurant and pasta workshop Officina 00 on giving respect to kitchen porters, his love of simplicity and a bitter first food memory.

What was your first industry job?
I started as a kitchen porter when I was 18 as Saturday night job in a Spanish restaurant in my home town, Napoli.

If you weren’t in kitchens, what would you do?
I love to create things from scratch, like furniture with steel or wood.

What industry figure do you most admire, and why?
Rene Redzepi from Noma for the amazing work about fermentation. His book is life changing for a chef.

What’s your pet hate in the kitchen?
When people just dump all the dirty things in the washing with no regard or respect for the kitchen porters who have the worst job and lowest pay.

What’s the oddest thing a customer has said to you?
I cannot tell you!

Sum up your cooking style in a single sentence…
Traditional fusion. I like to change ingredients while following traditional cooking methods.

What’s the worst review you’ve ever had?
It was insulting to a member of the staff, which was very poor.

What advice would you give someone starting out in the industry?
Please forget about MasterChef!

Which single item of kitchen equipment could you not live without?
A very sharp knife makes the difference, but nothing beats the hands. They are the most versatile tool we have in the kitchen.

What would you choose to eat for your last meal?
Bread still hot from baking with fresh unfiltered extra virgin olive oil. A happy memory from my childhood in the country that makes me smile every time I think about.

À la carte or tasting menu?
Tasting menu. You just go to eat and enjoy without the headache of having to make choices.

What’s the best meal you’ve ever had in a restaurant?
I like simplicity, so the ingredients are what wowed me in a fish trattoria in Portofino (Italy). Seabass carpaccio and raw red prawns were like the butter of the sea, spaghetti with clams and risotto alla pescatora. With a nice dry white wine.

What’s your favourite fast food joint?
Fried chicken from Motherclucker. There’s a super small choice but everything they do is just perfectly balanced.

What’s your earliest food memory?
Bitter lemons, I will always remember that first bite.

Twitter or Instagram?

What do you consider your signature dish?
Occhi, beef brisket Genovese, sour parsley, Provolone picante.

Related topics: Profiles, Chef

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