“Head down, work hard, travel as much as you can, always compare yourself, be humble and love food.”
The Wordrobe meets Francesco Mazzei, the Italian-born chef with a trio of London restaurants under his belt
What inspired you to become a chef?
I never wanted to be a chef when I was younger, but I fell into the right place, at the right time at the age of 11.
Where did you train? Tell us more about your culinary background…
My uncle had an ice cream parlour and patisserie where I helped out from a very young age and began learning. Following this I went to culinary college for five years, then the Grand Hotel in Rome for five years.
I then moved to London, starting at The Dorchester, followed by Santini in both London and Edinburgh. I returned to Italy and worked at La Terrazza in the Eden Hotel in Rome, then spent 5 years consulting for Hakkasan worldwide.
Following this I was part of the opening team for the Hambro family when they launched Franco’s, I did a stint with Corbin & King, then Fallabella in Bangkok for the Royal Family. I returned to London and opened Princi, followed by L’Anima in 2008.
I joined D&D London in 2015, and we relaunched the beautiful Sartoria on Savile Row. In 2017 we launched my Islington trattoria, Radici, and later that year, Fiume, overlooking the Thames at Battersea Power Station.
What’s your favourite autumn ingredient?
It has to be white truffle
Do you have any role models?
Describe your cooking style in three words.
Rustic, Refined and Real.
Name three of your top restaurants.
Other than the obvious… Sartoria, Radici and Fiume! I like Hakkasan, Little Sardegna on Blackstock Road, and Kiln.
What advice would you offer to aspiring chefs?
Head down, work hard, travel as much as you can, always compare yourself, be humble and love food
What’s next on the cards?
Hopefully a holiday…!