What was it like to work at The Savoy Hotel?
I came from a village with not many people and I worked in restaurants around the area, so the maximum size of the brigade would be 12 maybe 14, so when I came to a kitchen with around 90 in the kitchen, that was incredible for me. Suddenly it wasn’t my family but it was a department. My grandma would take care of the laundry, my grandad took care of reception, my father did the technology, my uncle was in the kitchen, so it was a big shock. But one thing I always found was the general idea of inclusion. It didn’t matter where you came from, if you were worth it you got the job and that was it. It felt very fair. It was based on your capacity not who you were or where you came from and so that was incredible.
Which is your favourite restaurant in London?
I don’t really eat out in restaurants. After spending all day in the kitchen, all I want to do is go home and cook something in my kitchen.
Why is Italian food so special and well loved?
Italian restaurants have come a really long way. When I came to The Savoy, you couldn’t really be a chef unless you were trained in classical French food. This has changed completely now. You can be a Michelin-starred chef just by cooking Italian food. This wasn’t in the paper at all, so this is not my merit but merits of the great value that the whole country has. We’re talking about a country that has a history, incredible produce, it has a micro-climate, you have a range of ingredients. We see it more as an expression, a pleasure to share with people. It’s art.
What can we expect from your new cookbook?
Cooking at home and sharing the food with people is something that I enjoy a lot. If I see somebody, I invite them for dinner. The idea of ‘home’ was very inspirational for me because I cook in many homes; my home in Italy where I was born and raised, my home in London with the kids where they grew up, then there is the cooking I do in the restaurant for the staff. We don’t have meetings, we sit down together with lunch. If there’s a problem, we’ll discuss it there instead of an office. The idea is cooking for these different people. When we cook at home, it’s easy in London because we go to the fridge and we get everything, but when we arrive in Italy, you have to start from zero. For me, in the book I put in things that I cook for the people I spend time with, so my staff and also the people who come and have dinner in my house. It makes a big difference because the recipes are shorter. I don’t believe that when you invite somebody for dinner that you should spend all your time in the kitchen. They’ve come to see you as well, so you have to be part of that. When you come and sit down and eat it all together, I think that is the greatest thing. The book has all different recipes and there are also bits from when I was young living in this village and there was nothing. There is also a lot of gluten-free. My daughter is gluten-free and has a lot of allergies, so there’s a lot of that. All of the ingredients are easily found in the British market.
Beer or wine?
Meat or fish?
Oh that depends, I can go for a week just eating meat or just eating fish – I can’t choose.
Sweet or savoury?
Pizza or pasta?
I definitely couldn’t choose! I’d travel hours in Italy for a good pizza, but I couldn’t live without pasta.
Fine dining or home cooking?
Home cooking, but let’s call it house cooking.
Galvin Green Man
in Great Waltham is host to an array of world-renowed chefs at their extremely popular monthly Food Book Club event. With the likes of Giorgio Locatelli, Sabrina Ghayour and José Pizarro as previous attendees, this event is a unique chance to experience brand new recipes from famous chefs’ cookbooks. Prior to a two-course lunch of food taken from the book, guests will hear form the chef themselves as they answer questions from Chris or Jeff Galvin, with the chance to answer questions directly to the chef themselves. This event is always a sell-out, so make sure to book in advance to avoid
disappointment. The next food book club will be hosting the impressive Mark Hix in November, so make sure to grab a table!
T: 01245808136, galvinrestaurants.com