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Q & A with Aldo Zilli

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Fumo aims to bring an authentic Italian experience to diners with the culinary focus being on small plates using the freshest seasonal ingredients. In the kitchen will be a brigade of 15 chefs from all over Italy as well as Chef Consigliere Aldo Zilli. We managed to catch up with Aldo and spoke cooking disasters and his five-year plan.

Have you always wanted to be a chef?
I wanted to be a musician but my Dad wouldn’t allow me to have a drum kit, and then I wanted to be an actor, which was also vetoed by my Dad. My Mum wanted me to be a priest like my brother!

How did you become involved with Fumo?
My friend Carlo Distefano, who has the San Carlo Group of family owned Italian restaurants, owns the restaurant. I have been working as Chef Consigliere to the group for a number of years now and I love it!

The restaurant aims to provide an authentic Italian experience and you also specialise in Italian cuisine. Why do you think Italian food is so spectacular?
Italian food is so rich in flavour in a way that isn’t replicated anywhere else in the world.

What can we expect from Fumo?
Not only is Fumo probably the best- looking restaurant in London (it had a £2million refurbishment) but also it serves some of the best Cicchetti and Italian cocktails in town. It is open all day so is ideal for popping in for an espresso first thing, a quick lunch or long relaxed dinner or just a cocktail and a sharing plate at the bar.

Have you had any cooking disasters?
Yes, doesn’t every chef? Although not every chef has such a public disaster as I did when I was on the TV Show, “Who’s doing the dishes!” and cooked lobster spaghetti for the celebrity guests and they spat it out!

What is your food hell?
Oysters – I’m just not a fan of them.

What is your food heaven?
I love, love, love lobster, I just cannot get enough of it!

Who is the most famous person you’ve cooked for?
There have been a few – Freddie Mercury, Andrea Bocelli, Madonna, Mary J Blige and Rihanna.

Do you do the cooking at home?
Yes, I love to cook for my family. I have two small children so I often get them to help.

What advice would you give to someone who dreams of becoming a chef?
Be realistic, it is very hard work – you must be prepared to put 100% in and sacrifice a lot!

Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
Doing what I am doing now, but spending more time in Italy and with my family.

For more info about The San Carlo Group visit <a href="http://www.sancarlo.co.uk">www.sancarlo.co.uk</a>