This week we caught up with Italian-born Lello Favuzzi, head chef at Mortimer House Kitchen in Fitzrovia, London. In this exclusive Q&A with Gaby Mayall, founder of The Pass, Lello talks about one of the most exciting cities for hospitality right now and the one dish we should absolutely try out off his menu.

When did you realise you wanted to work in hospitality?
I used to cook with my mum and grandmother in Sardina so I loved cooking from an early age, but I decided I wanted to do it as a career when I was in secondary school and the local catering college came to do a presentation. I was instantly inspired – it’s one of those single moments I remember that clearly changed my life.

Sum up your current work life in one sentence.
Busy and chaotic but very happy.

What would be the one dish we should absolutely try out off your menu at Mortimer House?
My tortelli with smoked burrata – it’s my signature dish and it changes with the seasons. In the summer it was a herb tortelli and now we’re coming into autumn it’s a bright red beetroot version.

Who has been really influential on your career and why?
My teacher Franco Alba from catering school – he was my teacher at catering college. At the end of term he gave me an opportunity in his restaurant in Sardinia – it opened up the whole world of catering for me and made me realise this was what I really wanted to do.

How do you keep up to date with the latest food trends?
I travel and visit a lot of restaurants, and we try and stay in line with food trends and the shifts in people’s eating habits at Mortimer House Kitchen. For example, we now have more vegetarian and vegan dishes on the menu than ever before.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in the industry?
Humility. Work hard and start from the bottom so you really understand the bigger picture.

Photo by Steven Joyce

Which single item of kitchen equipment could you not live without?
Knives. A good, sharp knife is the most important tool – its like and extension of your hand for a chef the way the pen is for a journalist.

What are you most excited about right now in the food scene?
The explosion of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food in this country – it’s enormous.

Are there any openings you are looking forward to?
They’re both open already but Flor and Arros are places I still really want to try.

Where is the most exciting city for hospitality (aside from London)?
I think Tel Aviv is really exciting. I went there for a research trip last year and loved it. I’m going back there and to Jerusalem to cook with Moshiko
Gamlieli at Mona Restaurant as something I’m doing with London Restaurant Festival – I can’t wait.

Photo by Steven Joyce

Where would you take your out of town guests for a memorable meal?
Coal Office in Coal Drops Yard – I love it. It’s beautiful, the food is fantastic and the head chef Nitai Shevach is a great friend of mine – I always have the best time there

Fill in the blank: If I weren’t a chef I’d be…
A military parachutist!

What does the future hold for Lello Favuzzi?
I hope to stay with Mortimer House and help them grow – they have interesting plans for the future and I’m excited to be part of them.