How long have you been at the restaurant?
I opened Luca along with Johnny, Isaac and Daniel in November 2016. I spent the 6 months prior to that working at The Clove Club as part of the kitchen brigade, working service and developing the menu for Luca.
Which was the first restaurant you worked in?
Locanda Locatelli with the great Giorgio Locatelli. Always an inspiration to me.
What was the last London restaurant you went to, apart from your own?
Padella in Borough Market and I can’t wait to go back.
What or who has been the biggest influence on the way you cook and why?
Being around my Nonna at home inspired me greatly. She was a great cook and there was always activity in the kitchen. Hilariously, she always overcooked pasta so my toothless grandad could eat it – I didn’t like it though so from an early age I had to learn how to cook it al dente, as it should be!
What is your personal signature dish?
A new antipasti dish we’ve been serving here at Luca, which is Chargrilled English Asparagus, Toasted Quinoa, Black Olive Crumb and Lardo di Colonnata. Guests love it!
Which other chefs do you most admire?
Wow, there are so many. Two that immediately come to mind are Massimo Bottura and Alain Ducasse. As passionate and pioneering outside the kitchen as they are inside it.
What’s the best part of your job?
Nurturing and teaching my kitchen team gives me great pleasure.
And the worst?
Recruiting good people for the team who are hungry to learn and committed is an ongoing challenge, one that myself and industry peers are finding harder and harder.
What would your last meal be?
I have 2:
In summer – the ripest Italian tomatoes, straight from the vine, the best Buffalo Mozzarella, basil and extra virgin oil.
As for winter – a Sunday roast with aged British beef and all the trimmings.
Both with a great bottle, of course.
Do you have a chef’s shortcut that you can share with us?
Good preparation. If you’re on the bus to work, get off Facebook, get on your prep list and plan your day — it gives you a big advantage.