Flash-grilled: Giovann Attard

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Flash-grilled: Giovann Attard newly-promoted head chef at Norma in London's Fitzrovia

Related tags: Chef, Fine dining, Restaurant, London, Italian cuisine, Norma

The newly-promoted executive head chef at Norma in London's Fitzrovia on his love of gardening, early food memories with his grandparents, and the challenge of working in restaurants

What was your first job? 
My first ever job was working as a Waiter at a restaurant called Pebbles in Gozo, Malta as a summer job when I was 16 years old. 

Why did you want to work in restaurants? 
I was always attracted to cooking and being in the kitchen from a very young age. I started working in hotels and then I moved to restaurants - I think restaurants are a bigger challenge and I am always up for a challenge! 

If you weren’t in the industry, what would you do? 
Oh, good one! I love gardening so I would probably be a gardener or a landscaper. Over lockdown I turned my balcony into a little forest – it’s my pride and joy!

What industry figure do you most admire, and why? 
Angela Hartnett. I love how she comes across – she has a great energy about her, and you can sense how professional she is.

Pet hate in the dining room? 
Leaving empty plates in front of me when I’ve finished dining.

What’s your best tip for keeping calm under pressure during a busy service? 
Take three deep breaths

What’s the oddest thing a customer has said to you? 
There are many! A few being - 'the fish is too fishy', or 'the ice cream is too cold'. These are my top two for sure.

What’s the best meal you’ve ever eaten in a restaurant? 
Recently I went to Hide Above and I had the eight-course menu. It was absolutely divine. Well done Martin Carabott!

Most overrated food?   

What’s your favourite comfort food, post shift? 
Pinsa from Papa Benito’, hands down. Amazing pizza!

MasterChef or Great British Menu? 

If you could cook dinner for anyone, who would it be and why? 
Adele – there’s something about her! I definitely have a bit of a crush.

What’s your earliest food memory? 
My earliest food memory is with my grandparents. I remember my grandpa used to take me out in his garden in the summer and he used to have his mid-morning snack which used to consist of fresh sourdough bread, fresh garlic and homemade shaved sheep’s cheese, while my grandma used to be baking these sweet sesame seed biscuits which I still adore till this day! 

Where do you go when you want to let your hair down? 
My ideal place is a cocktail bar, or a lovely terrace drinking negronis or an Aperol Spritz.

Tipple of choice? 
Negroni – always.

What’s your favourite dish to cook at home? 
It has to be torta salata, because it is one of those dishes that you can use up all of your leftover food that is sitting in your fridge waiting to be eaten. It’s always so delicious too.

What advice would you give someone starting out in the industry? 
I do what I do because I love what I do and I think this is vital when working in this industry. Do it with love!

Related topics: People, Profiles, Chef

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