When and why did you realise you wanted to be a chef?
My whole family have been a big influence – my grandmother especially.
Annual reunions have always been [and still are] a big thing, so I have always been surrounded by family and a strong Italian heritage – and food has always been an important part of that.
Why did you decide to enter the pub trade?
It brings back memories of my parents' place 'Bistro Quartier'; it was a family-run place with a friendly atmosphere that you could enjoy a drink, coffee & croissant or a three-course meal. The relaxed atmosphere made it accessible and welcoming to all. That, to me, is what a pub is and should be.
How would you describe your personal cooking style? What ingredients, flavours and techniques particularly excite you?
I am classically trained and have a modern interpretation on techniques, produce and dishes.
Once it's opened, where would you like to see the Swan Inn five years down the line?
A great local pub, fantastic reputation, and most importantly a staple haunt for a good 'regular' trade.
Why do you think so many high-profile restaurant chefs are choosing to open pubs?
It is a more simplistic approach. A way to get 'back to basics' – a chance to develop in a different way.
Who are your biggest inspirations in the chef world?
Alain Passard for his vision of food and simplicity. Alain Ducasse for seasonality; also for his operational and management skills.
What are your essential pieces of kitchen equipment/gadgets? Why?
My centrifuge for clarification. It extracts the liquid and keeps 100% of the flavour.
What do you think are the biggest crimes a chef can commit against pub food?
Being too fussy; forgetting they are providing food for a pub not a restaurant; and, overall, trying too hard to be what it is not.
What would your Desert Island pub dish be?
Fish and Chips.
Who would you most like to cook for (living or dead) and what would you cook them? Why?
My grandmother who passed away before I had the chance to invite her to my own restaurant. I would cook her anything she wanted.