Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Italy
What did you aspire to be when you grew up?
I’m not sure I knew exactly but food was always a big part of my life and I wanted that to continue. My grandmother Luigina was my biggest inspiration and ultimately influenced me to become a sommelier, as she had great wine cellars and a great palate (better than mine!) and it was from her that my knowledge was first crafted.
How did you find your way to wine and spirits?
As I wasborn in Italy, I discovered wine from a very young age. I was lucky enough to do a lot of travelling in my twenties and developed a real passion for food and wine. When it came to choosing my career I knew it had to be something I loved. I started my studies in Colorado in this field and I studied hard but luckily the area has a fantastic wine community and I met some truly amazing people who helped mentor me. It was also the place where I first worked for Wolfgang Puck and it was he who gave me the fantastic opportunity to be a part of the team to open CUT the modern American steak restaurant, his first restaurant and bar in Europe here at 45 Park Lane.
Where do you find inspiration for your drink recipes?
I look at three things; seasonal ingredients, art which has inspired me and what is going on in the world around me. CUT at 45 Park Lane is continually updating the menu with seasonal produce. Currently we are looking at new and exciting salads and fish dishes in time for summer. 45 Park Lane offers a rich and varied art programme with permanent artwork in the restaurant, rooms and corridors as well as a series of intimate and exclusive temporary exhibitions. Past artists have included Julien Marinetti, Robert Indiana and currently Alastair Gibson–a former F1 engineer now progressive carbon artist. The exhibitions are very varied and we like to make drinks in accordance with the theme.
Other than Sake, what other interesting trends/themes are going on in the spirits world? What’s on your radar at the moment?
In the spirit world I am watching the wine coming from the Middle East which is certainly of growing interest within the industry. Outside of spirits I am very interested in the juice trend and the rise of fresh juices on the high street.
What are FOUR spirits/wines that you always keep handy?
I always have Champagne readily available as it is perfect for any occasion.
Do you cook at all? What kinds of things do you like cooking at home on your days off?
My mum is the best cook in the world and I have luckily managed to perfect her porcini risotto which I love to make for friends and family when they visit.
Find out more about theSake Sommelier Flight offering at Dorchester Collection’s 45 Park Lane here |dorchestercollection.com