Overall ranking: 73
Chef ranking: 21
Giorgio Locatelli - Snapshot
Giorgio Locatelli is the chef-patron of Locanda Locatelli, the Michelin-starred Italian restaurant in the Hyatt Regency London Hotel - the Churchill. He also oversees the Refettorio restaurant at the Crowne Plaza, City of London hotel, and the Ronda Locatelli at the Atlantis The Palm Dubai hotel.
Giorgio Locatelli - Career guide
Born in 1962 to a family who owned a Michelin-starred restaurant in Corgeno, Italy, Locatelli served apprenticeships in Italy and Switzerland before cutting his teeth under Anton Edelmann at London’s Savoy hotel for four years from 1986.
A stint in Paris followed, after which Locatelli returned to London to head up Olivo restaurant for three years, where he specialised in Italian peasant cooking. He worked as a consultant for the Red Pepper Italian restaurant that opened in 1994 before becoming chef-patron of A-Z Restaurant’s Zafferano in Knightsbridge, where he garnered critical success and earned a Michelin star in 1999.
Further expansion with A-Z followed, including the more-informal Spighetta and Spiga pizza and pasta restaurants in 1997 and 1998. He then acted as a consultant for Park Plaza Restaurant Group’s Cecconi’s restaurant, which opened in early 2001 – the same year he made an acrimonious departure from A-Z.
The chef returned to the London restaurant scene in 2002 with his first independent venture, Locanda Locatelli, which gained a Michelin star in 2003. He followed this up with Refettorio in the Crowne Plaza near Blackfriars Bridge in early 2004 and Ronda Locatelli at Atlantis, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai in 2008.
Giorgio Locatelli - What we think
With his accessible and refined pan-Italian cooking, Locatelli helped build a solid set of foundations for fine-dining Italian restaurants to flourish in London. While his influence may have waned since his heyday in the early noughties, the raft of chefs – many of them British – who came out of the Zafferano kitchen during Locatelli’s tenure means his effect on the capital’s dining scene extends beyond his two sites.
Once described by Anton Edelmann as “probably the best Italian chef in London” – an appraisal vindicated by the 20 or so awards and accolades Locatelli has collected in the past decade – Locatelli has been involved with eight London restaurants in total. It was Zafferano and then Locanda, however, that made his name. When the latter opened in 2002, after he had parted ways with A-Z, his Michelin-rated modern Italian cuisine could soon count the likes of Bill Clinton and Brad Pitt among its many fans.
The early noughties also saw him achieve celebrity status when he worked with Fish! founder Tony Allan on the TV series Tony and Giorgio and co-authored the accompanying book. The pair set up Loco Restaurants to roll out a chain of four or five pizza restaurants, but it became the vehicle for Allan to buy back seven of his Fish! restaurants from receivership. Locatelli resigned his directorship in 2002. In 2006 he published his own cookbook, Made in Italy.
More recently, plans to extend his domestic empire were in place before the recession took hold, with a restaurant in north London’s York & Albany pub – a site eventually acquired by Gordon Ramsay Holdings – stalling in 2006. Instead, he opted to launch a 210-seat restaurant in the newly opened 1,570-bedroom Atlantis The Palm hotel in Dubai in 2008, serving the type of rustic pizza and pasta dishes that he used to serve when executive chef at Spiga.
Giorgio Locatelli – Further information
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