Chef Name: Edoardo Pellicano
Title: Executive Chef
Awards: 1 Michelin Star, 2020 – current.
How old were you when you started cooking professionally?
The first kitchen I worked in professionally was at age 21, at Locanda Locatelli in London. This is where I found my love of fresh produce and learnt key staples such as mastering the art of making fresh pasta. I believe the first restaurant a young chef works at is very important as it gives them the building blocks and paves the way for their career.
What’s your earliest and fondest first memory of food?
I have fond memories of cooking with my father at home – we would be in the kitchen for hours on end, cooking traditional Italian dishes such as ragu, ossobuco and melanzane for the family. In true Italian form, he always had a lit cigarette in hand.
Which chefs inspire you most and why?
I would say my father, even though he is not a professional chef, but he is an incredible cook and was the one that taught me how to use a knife properly.
What are your two favourite cookbooks and why?
One of my favourites, and amongst most chefs, is the classic White Heat by Marco Pierre White.
Another one, although not technically a cookbook is The Travels of Marco Polo. It’s about a journey of a merchant man travelling from Europe to China. During his journey through the silk roads he discovered noodles, which he brought back to Italy and then pasta was created. This story resonates with me as it represents the discovery and merging of cultures. For me, this is what food is all about and where we take inspiration from. One of our dishes at Mãos is a pasta noodle dish called ‘Marco Polo’.
Which two ingredients could you not live without?
I couldn’t live without garlic and rice… It must be my Italian-Chinese heritage.
What is your favourite comfort food to cook at home?
My favourite is carbonara. It’s a simple dish but every step needs to be done carefully. I only use the egg yolks (instead of the entire egg) to make it richer.
If you could eat at any Michelin star restaurant in the world today, where would it be and why?
I would love to eat at JL Studio in Taiwan, as I believe what Chef Jimmy Lim is creating is unique, yet it touches on a lot of Singaporean cuisine that is nostalgic to me.
And who would you take as your guest?
My mum, of course!
What do you look for in a good chef?
I look for someone with a good attitude, who is respectful and hard working. All the other things can be taught.
What advice would you give to chefs starting their career paths now?
Be prepared to put in the hard work, and find a chef that inspires you and will take you under their wing.
How has the pandemic affected your restaurant? And how did you adapt and evolve throughout?
The pandemic affected our restaurant in many ways, from loss of revenue due to being closed, but also trying to maintain that level of motivation and creativity during isolation. The most challenging part was not knowing when we were able to re-open as it is difficult to plan a menu when you do not know what season you will be in.
We adapted by changing the concept of the restaurant twice within the year, and one of the main changes was removing the communal table, which had always been the heart of the experience.
Can you share any wisdom from the experience so far with others? Have you changed? Has your cooking changed?
During the pandemic there was a lot of uncertainty, especially for the hospitality industry. We found that remaining positive and ensuring that we work together as a team was the driving force to keep us afloat and able to re-open.
At Mãos, we have always had a unique and intimate dining experience, where diners are able to immerse themselves by entering the kitchen and interacting with the chefs throughout service. Although this format has not changed, we have found that diners are more engaged as this gives a level of intimacy between chef and diner, which during isolation is missing.
Chef Edoardo Pellicano is Executive Chef of Restaurant Mãos
Address: 41 Redchurch St, London
Telephone: +44 20 7739 9733