Having just opened his new restaurant Amethyst on Mayfair’s Sackville Street, The Wordrobe meets chef Carlo Scotto to talk dreams, drive and of course, dynamic meets dynamite dishes
Previously head chef at Xier in Marylebone, Carlo Scotto’s new Mayfair restaurant is so sparklingly new you could probably eat off the floor. The charismatic Neapolitan, who earned rave reviews for his creative and hyper-original tasting menus is picking up where he left off pre-2020 with the opening of Amethyst and his crystal clear vision for the new site.
Spread over two floors, and at just 36-covers, Amethyst offers an intimate gastronomic experience with elegant pared-back interiors incorporating raw materials, concrete and wood creating a neutral canvas where the food is the star. Sophie Ritchie sat down with Scotto to find out more about the restaurant, along with his culinary career so far…
What inspired you to become a chef?
I’m Italian and in every Italian home food is at the heart of the family. I found my love for cooking at a young age cooking in the kitchen with my grandmother. But my real inspiration grew the moment I stepped into a professional kitchen – I was only 13 when I got my first position!
Working under the guidance of some amazing chefs, I would end up staying in the kitchen late into the night to learn as much as possible. I knew from a very young age this is what I wanted to do.
Where did you train? Tell us more about your culinary background…
My first venture into the culinary world was in my native home of Naples, working as an apprentice at the Michelin-starred restaurant, Don Salvatore. Since then, I have travelled around the world, including Japan, France and Sweden, honing my craft in some of the world’s most renowned kitchens. This eventually led to London, where I trained at Gordon Ramsay Holdings, and went onto to work with Angela Hartnett at Murano and Galvin at La Chapelle, to name a few.
What motivated you to open your own restaurant?
This restaurant has been two years in the making. It has been a dream of mine to open an intimate fine dining restaurant in Mayfair and I am so excited to have achieved this post-pandemic. Amethyst is an expression of my personality on a plate and a chance for me to experiment with flavours once again.
I enjoy being creative with my dishes and wanted to launch a dining experience which showcases some of the wonderful ingredients from across the world.
What’s your favourite summer dish?
My go-to summer dish would be a rice salad, mixed with homemade olive oil, lemon, herb and garlic dressing. Simply delicious!
What can guests expect from a meal at Amethyst?
A hyper-original and creative menu where the food is the star. I hope to provide guests with a unique dining experience from the moment they enter. The statement piece is the amethyst Chef’s Table, located right by the pass, so I can interact directly with diners.
While the menu will change regularly, all the dishes will be inspired by culinary techniques I’ve learnt throughout the years, with influences from Nordic, European, Japanese and Arabic cuisine. I’m also working with an amazing team, including sommelier Filippo Carnevale, who will be providing some excellent wine pairings for the tasting menus.
Do you have a favourite dish from the new menu?
This is a difficult question! Can I say the entire menu? For my favourite, it would be the Salmon and Foie Gras – the salmon is cured with rose water and paired with a marinated foie gras and yuzu jelly. I’d say it’s my signature dish – that or the Black Cod with caramelised miso.
What does hospitality mean to you?
Hospitality has been a big part of my life, it’s where I have personally grown and thrived. For me, it means bringing people together. A restaurant is a place to make memories with friends, family and loved ones – good food, wine and service create a memorable experience. It is also an industry which celebrates and brings together all cultures and my food crosses many. We want our diners to feel part of our Amethyst family and take great pride in looking after our guests so they feel totally at ease and at home.
Name your three favourite restaurants.
It would have to be The Alchemist and Geranium, both in Copenhagen, and Frantzén in Stockholm. The food and service are unforgettable.
What advice would you offer to aspiring chefs?
Stay focused and work hard. And, don’t be afraid to experiment with different techniques and be creative – that’s where the fun is.
What do you think will be 2022’s biggest food trend?
As we all know, there is a huge movement towards plant-based alternatives – both for diets and also for sustainability – and there is no sign of this slowly down. As chefs, we need to make sure our vegetables are more than just an afterthought.
Finally, what’s your favourite midnight snack
Ice cream is my guilty pleasure – I cannot say no!