Growing up in a small town in Southern Italy, Mauro developed a taste for trying new things – and with a desire to pursue the creative industries, a move to Milan led him to the kitchen… Now, with 15 years’ experience as a chef, Mauro is Head Chef at Bellanger, where he’s looking forward to developing our menu offering.
Tell us a little about yourself – did you always know you wanted to be a chef?
Where I’m from in Italy, I grew up surrounded by the sea… so we spent most of our time going to the beach and eating at restaurants. I always knew I wanted to do something creative and originally I trained in sound in Milan, and while I was studying I worked in restaurants which is where I found a passion for being in the kitchen – I was inspired by the great chefs I met.
Then I moved over to London in 2008 for Marco Pierre White restaurants, then I moved to Australia to work over there for a year… and when I moved back to London in 2013, I joined Colbert, which is when my journey with the group began!
Talk us through your approach to menu design – what do you think makes for a good menu?
I’m really interested in food provenance and using simple ingredients in different ways. For me, the research aspect is crucial and I actually love to do this, as I think it helps make the food we create better. I’m looking forward to bringing this experience to Bellanger and helping to evolve our offering.
Do you have a favourite dish from the Bellanger menu to prepare and eat?
I would have to say the snails… My Mum used to cook me snails when I was a child, so it always reminds me of family and being at home, sitting around a table and sharing a simple meal together.
You’ve worked for the company for 8 years now – what have been your highlights so far?
It’s hard to pick out one thing, but I’ve met some beautiful people who I’ve learnt a lot from. I’ve also had lots of opportunities for training and development, and when I was at The Delaunay there was always such a sense of achievement after finishing a huge service.
What advice would you give to anyone who wants to work in the kitchen?
If you want to be a chef, then you need to be committed and have lots of passion for food, otherwise you will not enjoy being in the kitchen!
And finally, when you’re not at Bellanger where can we find you?
Discovering new restaurants and trying new dishes… my favourite is pasta, so I’m always looking for the best places to enjoy.