This was quite amusing

11/23/2012 - 16:21

Italymag's latest post has just amused us here, about the Italian Chef Aldo Zilli, as being one of the first to introduce "proper" Italian food into London.There were many restaurants in London, in the 70's prior to him arriving.One, San Frediano, where Niki Lauda and the Ferrari team, celebrated their F1 win. Wife tells me that they had to take the good wines off the table, as the Italian mechanics could not stop going mad on them!!!


Shows what rubbish some of these reporters come up with, but then it has promoted his business!! Just saw this review from the Guardian ....... agrees with you totally. This was interesting as well, as he sold the London restaurants earlier this year.

It makes me red with rage when I see these so called celebrity chefs charging the earth for a plate of shyte  just 'cus their name is "attached" to one of the many churn out the crap style restaurants - I mean, it aint like the celebrity chef is gonna actually personally cook your plate of pre packed boil in the bag homogenised spag bol is it? He aint even on the premises! Tis all very, very Zilli if ya ask me!

Well, he (Zilli) obviously knows how to promote his business, which does not necessarily mean that his cooking is any good. But then, some people like to go to "fashionable" restaurants, even if what they serve is not particularly memorable. I notice that Zilli has not been awarded any Michelin star. On the other hand, Locatelli has.

Like all these so called 'Celebrity Chef' franchises, all are only as good as the Chefs on site. Yes they choose the menu, source suppliers, choose decor etc, but that's where it stops, even in the better quality Chefs rarely make an appearance at their own Restaurants; why toil in a hot kitchen when you can get 10k for sitting in a chat show. The more profuse chains like Zillis, Jamie's Italian, Carluccios etc you are lucky to get something edible rather than exquisite. The only one I had a good experience at was Jamies in Shoreditch, when I happened to dine when Gennaro Contaldo was there training up some new chefs and he was personally supervising, it was good then. Must say I've had a lot better and more consistent food here in small family run Trattorias here in Tuscany.

It is impossible  to compare the local trattoria, which can still produce some excellent dishes to a 3 star Michelin restaurant, although even them may have started as a more humble venue. The top Michelin chefs are like orchestra conductors who direct and inspire a team of professionals Their kitchens look more like a lab than a kitchen, as they experiment and also teach their team. Many of these people will, in turn, become the top chefs of the future. They will not boil the pasta, but his or her team will do it according to the standards set by the master. Nd t will be cooked to perfection. Certainly, a "degustation" menu (the cheapest option) in these places may cost between 150 and 200 €, but it is a memorable experience, a feast for all the senses. In Tuscany, the only restaurant that has reached this coveted level is located in Florence. You will get the full list of restaurants round the world  through Google.

But we aint talking about 3 star Michelin restaurants though are we? We are talking about celebrity chef "Frontmen" (like Zilli) who serve up shyte and then have the audacity to claim to be the first to introduce "proper" Italian food into London. These types of celebrity restaurants and the experience within are nothing more than very well promoted hype and pre prepared junk at sky high prices - and even a Michelin star or two is no guarantee that the food will be consistantly excellent.

The only consistency with a Michelin Stared Restaurant,is the Price; but like everything it's a matter of taste and value. If you think that paying €200 a head for a meal is worth it then all I can say is personally, I think you have more Money than sense, no matter how 'spectacular' one might think it is to spend that amount on a single meal when you could happily feed a family for a week on that is ridiculous in this day and age. But snob value has a price and that is what these establishments survive on (and a lot of people with money to burn), the fact that the food, and don't get me wrong is good (I have had the fortune to dine at two 3 star,and four 2 stared restaurants in my time; never paying of course) it is never worth the prices they charge. This equates to the same logic in expensive wines why do people spend hundreds of euro on a wine when an excellent bottle can be bought for €30-40. If you can afford it then bully for you, knock your self out, but I am always pleased, impressed and satisfied with the  several small family run restaurants in LU province we visit that never fail to put beautiful well presented food on my plate each time we visit.

I think that the Michelin stars confirm that the chef is a true creative professional. As for "celebrity" chefs... it is all marketing.  But some people like to be "seen" at those places... Italy has 7 restaurants .with a 3 star rating and several 2_and 1 stars, which confirms that there are some excellent, creative chefs in the country.

It's all relative.  If you have enough to enjoy eating the food created by the best chefs the world has to offer, then what's wrong with that?  To some, spending a large amount of cash on a very enjoyable meal is just a drop in the ocean. To others it's an unaffordable luxury.  There are many here who have 2 houses.  I wouldn't say that those people had more money than sense.  If they can afford it, good for them.  Others have nice cars no doubt - which devalue more quickly than someone could spend in cash on Michelin starred meals.  What does "in this day and age" actually mean to people?

In reply to by Esme

  "I've dined with Kings - and been presented with absolute slop at their table! Proof there is no accounting for taste I swear this is true."   Is this a comment about the slop they serve or the company they choose to dine with? I've dined with Queens. Far more entertaining. I swear this is truewink Pilch

Well, it does not have to mean anything to people. everyone is entitled to do whatever they want with their own money. But this is not the topic we are discussing.  It is a fact that some chefs are promoted as "gurus" of a particular cuisine simply because they know how to market their establishments. The real star chefs do not need promotion . The waitlists that they have mean that people acknowledge them as the best in the profession. And also, these star chefs do something important for their profession by training students and sharing their knowledge.

AndyT - spot on - you nailed it. I dont know why people get so steamed up about it. If you have a good meal, great. If you have a bad meal, hey ho, get over it. I absolutely love our local trattoria but I'd hate to think I would have to eat there all the time. TK

I agree, variety is the best thing and you can find great restaurants at all levels and anywhere in the world. The best Italian meal I ever had was in New York at an Italian restaurant called "Peasant". They are Italians and they cook authentic food. Highly recommended.

Half of the enjoyment in eating a meal, especially in Italy is sharing it with friends, and with that in mind one of the best restaurants we have been to locally is in Ascoli Piceno, a place called Il Desco, highly recommend and a beautiful city to visit. With regard to paying huge amounts of money for food and wine, a) we could not afford it and b) to me it seems somewhat immoral....its that puritan ethic again.

Yeah right - of course he does - but that's only if he happens to be in Seymour Street at the exact same time I'm ordering my Spag Bol and if he isn't "directing" at Refettorio half an hour away down in the city!

Can never see why people go so mad on pasta, it is tasteless without a sauce and even then it is a normally mediocre tasting dish, just meant to fill you up. Suppose thats why they serve it first, so you don't complain about getting less meat!!!

My favourite Italian dishes do not contain any pasta. There, I would agree with Badger. I absolutely love "saltimbocca alla romana" and "vitello tonnato". I also adore the "torta pasqualina" and a good "cacciuco". And I would go insane over scrambled eggs and truffles or funghi porcini. 

Esme, spag bol at Locatelli's?  I think you were in the Stock Pot by mistake.   Obviously when he sees you coming he makes a run for it! 

Ram, of course Locatelli makes a run for it when he sees me coming - straight into my arms and he then plants a kiss on both cheeks! My days of muching a la Locatelli go way back to the Blandford Street stomping grounds of the 90's and I always thought the Slop Pot was on the Kings Road.  smiley

Expecting a top chef to cook the pasta is as naive as expecting a top designer to make the clothes that carry his name. And Cartier never made a watch in his life. Essentially, everything is easy if you're shown how to do it properly. The top names in any profession will always attract the best talent to work with them and reputations are generally hard-earned, not least in the restaurant business.

This recipe is one I tried recently and came out very well. It is Cantonese, so not as spicy as most.,1939,153189-225198,00.html I now have the spring roll wrappers as well from the Chinese shop, so next week is making the Thai style ones. This was the nearest that I could find to the recipe that I have here, just miss the prawns/pork out for a veggie version.

No Colonel Mustard. I did look it all up, but it seemed pretty time consuming, so easier to get the frozen ones!! Thanks Angie, know where you mean, so will get there in the near future. It's not just veggie food though I hope.